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“Anadyomene (1968) suggests a Turner canvas recast in sound. It opens restlessly among undulating pastels, the tone darkens further, there are brief comments from flute and bass clarinet, the brass prompts a swelling climax, then the mood gradually becomes more animated before we're ferried back whence we came. It's 'a homage to Aphrodite, born of the sea foam, the goddess of love', and a very appealing one at that. The colourful Flute Concerto Dances with the Winds is a more extrovert piece with Nielsen as a fairly certain forebear. It shares its material between ordinary flute, bass flute, alto flute and piccolo.
The action-packed opening movement withstands some fairly aggressive interjections from the brass, the brief second movement recalls the shrill sound world of fifes and drums; the elegiac Andante moderato offers plenty of jam for the alto flute, and the finale's striking mood-swings have just a hint of Bernsteinian exuberance.
Rautavaara's prompt for On the Last Frontier (1997) was an early encounter with The Narrativeof Arthur Gordon Pym by Edgar Allan Poe. He calls it 'a seafaring yarn in the typical boys' reading mould' and responds accordingly with a 24-minute slice of descriptive musical reportage, not of Poe's exact 'narra- tive', but of an imagined Last Frontier based on ideas from the story's closing section. It's an eventful, majestic, slow-burning tone-poem, nourished further by some distinctive instrumental solos and with telling use of a fullblown chorus.
No texts are provided, and yet the aura of unexplored maritime depths and a sense of mystery associated with them carry their own wordless narrative. All three works are expertly performed and exceptionally well recorded.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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Rautavaara: Choral Works
Lilli Paasikivi (mezzo-soprano), Topi Lehtipuu (tenor), Jyrki Korhonen (bass), Pia Freund (soprano), Petteri Salomaa (baritone), Satu Klemi (soprano), Heta Kokkomaki (soprano), Kaija Nuoranne (soprano), Tuuli Lindeberg (soprano), Johanna Talasniemi (alto), Annica Sjolund (soprano), Mia Huhta (soprano), Sade Rissanen (alto), Jaakko Kortekangas (baritone)
Finnish Radio Chamber Choir, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Finnish Philharmonic Choir, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Timo Nuoranne, Eric-Olof Soderstrom, Leif Segerstam
After releasing boxes featuring Einojuhani Rautaavara’s eight Symphonies and twelve Concertos, Ondine is pleased to release a four-CD box of his Choral Works.
This box includes both sacred and secular works, and shows the composer’s diversity in style, expression and content.
Rautavaara is perhaps the most well-known and certainly the most recorded living Finnish composer today.
These recordings feature two acclaimed Finnish mixed choirs – the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir and the Finnish Philharmonic Chorus – as well as the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under conductors Timo Nuoranne, Eric-Olof Söderström and Leif Segerstam.
The recordings are taken from existing acclaimed releases on Ondine.
“The performances, mainly by the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir, are consistently very fine and the recorded sound is excellent throughout...a compelling release that continues Ondine’s doughty championship of Finland’s leading living composer.” MusicWeb International, April 2013
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