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Rautavaara: Clarinet Concerto, Etc / Stoltzman, Et Al


Release Date: 05/24/2005 
Label:  Ondine   Catalog #: 1041   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Einojuhani Rautavaara
Performer:  Richard Stoltzman
Conductor:  Leif Segerstam
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews


This marvelous disc contains what unquestionably is the finest available performance of Cantus Arcticus, Rautavaara's most popular piece and one of the very best marriages of an orchestra and taped sounds. For this recording, the birdsong tape seems to have been cleaned up, giving the timbres additional clarity and purity, and the balance between orchestra and electronics is perfectly judged. The result is simply gorgeous. I was also struck very strongly by the harmonic resemblance between the finale and the opening movement of Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain. Listen for yourself and see if you don't agree!

Garden of Spaces is a sort of sonic sculpture, fully notated but
Read more permitting various sections of the orchestra to time their entrances differently at each performance. Rautavaara has created thematic material, unlike so many such pieces, that seemingly makes sense given these parameters, and so the music comes across as coherent, shapely, and quite haunting.

But the outstanding work here is the new Clarinet Concerto for Richard Stoltzman. Rautavaara seems to have a special feeling for the instrument. In the score of his opera Aleksis Kivi, the composer restricts the woodwind contingent to two clarinets, used to magical effect, and this concerto certainly ranks among the most successful in the modern repertoire. While full of virtuosity and some incredibly difficult-sounding writing in the clarinet's highest register, the most memorable moments occur where Rautavaara exploits the instrument's unparalleled ability to sing in tones of liquid lyricism. The central slow movement in particular must rank as one of the most purely beautiful in Rautavaara's (or anyone else's) entire output.

It goes almost without saying that as the dedicatee Stoltzman plays with total commitment, and as usual in this series the contributions of Leif Segerstam and the Helsinki Philharmonic are ideal. Excellent sonics, warm and well-balanced (in the concerto) round out another magnificent contribution to the Rautavaara discography.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Clarinet by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Performer:  Richard Stoltzman (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Leif Segerstam
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Finland 
2. Garden Of Spaces by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Leif Segerstam
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
3. Cantus Arcticus, Op. 61 "Concerto for Birds and Orchestra" by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Conductor:  Leif Segerstam
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; Finland 

Sound Samples

Garden of Spaces
Clarinet Concerto: I. Drammatico ma flessibile
Clarinet Concerto: II. Adagio assai
Clarinet Concerto: III. Vivace
Cantus arcticus, Op. 61, "Concerto for Birds and Orchestra": I. The Bog
Cantus arcticus, Op. 61, "Concerto for Birds and Orchestra": II. Melancholy
Cantus arcticus, Op. 61, "Concerto for Birds and Orchestra": III. Swans Migrating

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