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Manhattan Trilogy (2003-2005) was described by The New York Times, following its world première at Carnegie Hall, as “a reminiscence of the hopes and anxieties of his student years… The outer movements, Daydreams and Dawn, are cast in consonant but freely modulating chord progressions, with achingly beautiful solo lines darting through the thick textures. Even the central Nightmares movement, though darker and more freely dissonant, often has a lush quality.”
Einojuhani Rautavaara: Apotheosis
Einojuhani Rautavaara: Manhattan Trilogy
Einojuhani Rautavaara: Symphony No. 8, "The Journey"
I. Adagio assai - Andante assai
IV. Con grandezza - Sciolto - Tempo I
“Rautavaara studied at the Juilliard School in 1955-56 and Manhattan Trilogy (2004) was commissioned to celebrate its centennial. In recalling his youthful sojourn in the Big Apple, the composer deployed the full panoply of his late orchestral manner in a hugely engaging triptych describing his 'hopeful Daydreams', 'sudden Nightmares of doubt' and 'slowly breaking Dawn of the personality'. Where Segerstam's vivid interpretation, allied to Ondine's sumptuous recording, glows through its 20 minutes, Inkinen provides a beautifully focused reading, nearly two min- utes swifter, with every detail brought out to telling effect. Not the most gripping of Rautavaara's recent orchestral essays Manhattan Trilogy is nonetheless accomplished. What connects it to the Third Symphony (1959-61) is the treatment of the past. The symphony – one of the finest of the post-war period, serially organised within a vibrant tonal framework – recreates the idiom of Bruckner from a late-1950s sensibility and, ironically, remains the more progressive. Rautavaara's most recent symphony, the Eighth (1999), was memorably recorded by Segerstam (Ondine). Inkinen once again produces a refined interpretation with crystal-clear detail although Segerstam achieved more grandeur in the peroration. Choice here really will depend on couplings (the Harp Concerto on Ondine). The revision of the Sixth Symphony's finale as a – presumably – stand-alone concert piece shorn of its part for synthesiser works well enough, though it is no substitute for the whole work, for which turn to Max Pommer's bracing account (also with the Helsinki Philharmonic) for Ondine. In context, though, the Naxos programme works most effectively and is a nearperfect introduction to Rautavaara's late manner. Both discs are highly recommendable; at its price, the Naxos is hard to beat but Ondine has the Third. Buy both!”
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