Magazine article Opera Canada

Rautavaara, Balada, Canto V, Four Songs from Rasputin

Magazine article Opera Canada

Rautavaara, Balada, Canto V, Four Songs from Rasputin

Article excerpt

RAUTAVAARA, BALADA, CANTO V, FOUR SONGS FROM RASPUTIN

Ondine: ODE 1274-2

This CD contains four recent works by Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara.

With his death at 86 in July, they are among his last and are representative of a final stylistic period in which he abandoned earlier experiments in dodecaphony and the use of bird song and such like to return to a romantic style reminiscent at times, inevitably, of Sibelius and even more so, perhaps, of Dvorak (though always, always sounding like Rautavaara).

Rubaiyat is a setting for orchestra and baritone of four excerpts from Edward Fitzgerald's translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. It is gorgeous music, full of melodic invention and colour. It's greatly helped by a very fine performance by Gerald Finley in the solo part and the excellent Helsinki Philharmonic under John Storgards, who feature in all the pieces on the disc. Canto V; Into the Heart of Light is a very densely scored piece for string orchestra. It's intriguing, with the violins carrying most of the line and the lower strings injecting fragments of melody and counterpoint and the cellos providing a a truly elegiac conclusion. …

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