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Einojuhani Rautavaara: Symphony No. 7, "Angel of Light"
II. Molto allegro
III. Come un sogno
Einojuhani Rautavaara: Annunciations
“The Seventh Symphony's opening Tranquillo evokes a calm though powerful atmosphere, with many Sibelian points of reference, especially in recognisable echoes of the Largo fourth movement from Sibelius's Fourth Symphony, whereas the closing Pesante-cantabile is more in line with the symphonic world of Hovhaness. The Angel idea originates in a series of works (Angels and Visitations and Angel of Dusk, for instance), the reference being to 'an archetype, one of mankind's oldest traditions and perennial companions'. This Jungian axis is reflected in monolithic chords, ethereal harmonic computations (invariably broad and high-reaching) and an unselfconscious mode of musical development. Readers schooled in the more contemplative works of Górecki, Pärt and Tavener will likely respond to this spatially generous essay, though Rautavaara's language is more a celebration of nature than any specific religious ritual. Comparisons with the Annunciations (for organ, brass quintet, wind orchestra and percussion) find the earlier work far harsher in tone, much more demanding technically (it calls for a formidable organ virtuoso) and more radical in its musical language. The style ranges from the primeval drone that opens the work through canon, 'bird forest' activity and the novel effect of having the 'notes of a dense chord weirdly circulating in the room' when the organ motor is switched off. Kari Jussila rises to the various challenges with what sounds like genuine enthusiasm (his fast fingerwork is amazing) while Leif Segerstam and his orchestra exploit the tonal drama of both works. The recordings are warm and spacious.”