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Rautavaara: Complete Works For String Orchestra / Kangas


Release Date: 07/24/2001 
Label:  Ondine   Catalog #: 983   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Einojuhani Rautavaara
Performer:  Reija Bister
Conductor:  Juha Kangas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 54 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Because of its length, I expected to listen to this new Rautavaara collection in segments. But so involving was the music--and the music making--that I started playing CD 1 and went all the way through to the end of CD 2, scarcely realizing that nearly two hours had passed. Pelimannit ("The Fiddlers") opens the program with the nerve-jangling sound of descending tonal string harmonics corrupted by grindingly dissonant chords (à la Schnittke). But soon the lines smooth themselves out, giving the impression that the music was merely tuning itself up, for rest of the work is filled with wonderfully vibrant, folk-inspired music. The following Divertimento and the Suite for Strings
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The next three compositions form Rautavaara's Hungarian triptych. In Hommage à Liszt, he ingeniously uses the string orchestra to simulate cascading piano runs, while Epitaph for Béla Bartók explores that composer's mysterious side in a shadowy prelude and fugue. The most ambitious of the three pieces, Hommage à Kodály Zoltán, is based on a theme Rautavaara composed to the letters of Kodály's name. It's a brilliantly varied work that effectively and convincingly captures the Hungarian flavor of its subject.

Disc 2 changes the mood dramatically with its exploration of Rautavaara's darker, more serious, and highly personal side. The four Cantos are bracing and sometimes violently dramatic works--Nos. 1 & 2 (1960-61) utilize 12-tone techniques while in No. 3 (1972) Rautavaara begins looking beyond the limits of that method. With No. 4 (1992) the composer had arrived at his late style, a synthesis of all his earlier methods, resulting in a work that, like Cantus Articus and Piano Concerto No. 3, creates an atmosphere of ethereal, transcendent beauty. This is marvelously evoked by the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, whose musicians have become a clear medium for the composer's intentions, whether in the harsher music, the lighthearted works, or the more middle-ground pieces like Ballad for Harp and Strings, A Finnish Myth, or the rousing Ostrobothnian Polka that closes the program. Juha Kangas leads highly accomplished, idiomatic, powerful performances, all captured by Ondine in resplendent sound.

--Victor Carr Jr., ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Fiddlers, Op. 1 by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Juha Kangas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952/1972; Finland 
2.
Divertimento for String Orchestra by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Juha Kangas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953; Finland 
3.
Suite for String Orchestra by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Juha Kangas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952; Finland 
4.
Hommage ŕ Liszt Férenc by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Juha Kangas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1989; Finland 
5.
An Epitaph for Béla Bartók by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Juha Kangas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955/1986; Finland 
6.
Hommage ŕ Kodály Zoltán by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Juha Kangas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1982; Finland 
7.
Canto I by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Juha Kangas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960; Finland 
8.
Canto II by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Juha Kangas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1961; Finland 
9.
Canto III "A Portrait of the Artist at a Certain Moment" by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Juha Kangas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; Finland 
10.
Canto IV by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Juha Kangas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1992; Finland 
11.
Ballad for Harp and Strings by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Performer:  Reija Bister (Harp)
Conductor:  Juha Kangas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1973/1981; Finland 
12.
A Finnish Myth by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Juha Kangas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977; Finland 
13.
Ostrobothnian Polska by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Juha Kangas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1993; Finland 

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