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Rautavaara: Kaivos - The Mine

> Kaivos (The Mine) - Act I: Yksi, kaksi, kolme, nelja (Miners, Marko, Vanha)
> Kaivos (The Mine) - Act I: Kaivos! Yksi on enaa sanottava (Commissar)
> Kaivos (The Mine) - Act I: Kansan isa, kirottu olkoon sinun nimesi (Marko, Miners, Priest)
> Kaivos (The Mine) - Act I: Simon! Simon! Siina meille Gabriel! (Marko, Vanha, Simon)
> Kaivos (The Mine) - Act I: Tulit huonoon aikaan (Preist, Simon, Ira)
> Kaivos (The Mine) - Act I: Kuuletko mita he minulta haluavat (Simon, Ira)
> Kaivos (The Mine) - Act II: Huomio kaksi, taalla viisi (Marko, Women)
> Kaivos (The Mine) - Act II: …ja kuka tarttuu minuun (Ira)
> Kaivos (The Mine) - Act II: Jos liikut, synnytat liikkeen (Commissar, Priest, Ira, Simon)
> Kaivos (The Mine) - Act II: Oletko sina sokea? (Commissar)
> Kaivos (The Mine) - Act II: No niin, koska niin pidat leikeista (Simon, Ira)
> Kaivos (The Mine) - Act II: Mita aiot tehda nyt, Simon? (Priest, Vanha, Simon)
> Kaivos (The Mine) - Act II: Kenties, kenties on tama joukko se siemen (Priest, Simon, Radio, Ira, Women)
> Kaivos (The Mine) - Act III: Neitsyt, neitsyt, neitsyt! (Miners, Women, Priest)
> Kaivos (The Mine) - Act III: Naetko…uneksitko koskaan (Marko, Ira)
> Kaivos (The Mine) - Act III: Han kuolee pian (Ira, Simon, Miners)
> Kaivos (The Mine) - Act III: Luleli laleli lileli (Miner, Men, Marko, Priest, Vanha)
> Kaivos (The Mine) - Act III: Pois ulos kaivos (Women, Men, Simon, Miner, Ira)
> Kaivos (The Mine) - Act III: Minne se johtaa? (Priest)
> Kaivos (The Mine) - Act III: Ira, meidan taytyy menna! (Simon, Echo)
> Kaivos (The Mine) - Act III: Sor amabilissima, Ave! (Soprano voice)

Album Summary

>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Kaivos (The Mine), opera in 3 acts (withdrawn; under revision)
Performers Conductor Ensemble
  • >
Composer

Notes & Reviews:

This new release features the three-act opera Kaivos [The Mine] by Einojuhani Rautavaara (b. 1928). The patriarch of Finnish composers wrote the work in 1957 - 62 and considers it "perhaps the best opera I have ever written, a real thriller whose underlying theme - that a human being defines himself through his choices - is nevertheless universal." + A World Premiere Recording!

Opera News
Hannu Lintu's forces perform with conviction. ... there is notable work from trenchant tenor Mati Turi as Marko, a hotheaded - and later wounded and delirious - young miner, and from fine, elegant-sounding bass-baritone Jaakko Kortekangas as the Priest.

MusicWeb International
Rautavaara's first opera Kaivos is a compact, though powerful work that communicates in the most direct way through its strongly expressive music and tight dramaturgy. Kaivos may well be Rautavaara's finest opera.

Fanfare
The singers have good voices, though Johanna Rusanen-Kartano's has that hard, steely-bright quality indigenous to many Scandinavian sopranos, and some of the men have an incipient wobble. The orchestra and chorus are superb. I think I might have liked the opera a little more if I'd been able to watch the performance rather than just listen to it; the choral passage at the beginning of act III is exquisite, and some of the best music to be heard, but a passionate music drama like this one sometimes needs the visual element. (I would add that the same applies to some Russian operas, even such a venerable one as Mussorgsky's Khovanschina.)

In sum, then, an interesting work to hear once, and for that I recommend it...

American Record Guide
This is obviously hardly great literature, and it makes for a messy libretto. The music is another matter entirely. Rautavaara's score is lyrical, romantic, and lush - thoroughly musical and completely absorbing. The notes rather simplistically bring up Berg as a model, but the music sounds nothing like Berg or anyone else even remotely Viennese. Instead, it sounds like Rautavaara writing a 12-tone piece, and I can't imagine a better compliment. I couldn't help thinking that if Rautavaara had chosen to spend his career writing 12-tone music (and I'm glad he didn't), he might have been the greatest 12-tone composer in history. Be that as it may, this is a fascinating document of Cold War angst, and the comparison between it and a work like Nono's Intolleranza (reviewed above), written at almost the same time, is more than instructive. Finnish-English libretto included. I hear no evidence of an audience. Singing is good, as is orchestral performance.

BBC Music Magazine
The Great Jorma Hynninen is in untarnished voice as the dictator figure. The commissar; the bass Hanu Niemelä is a dark Simon (the former partisan, an ambivalent leader of the rebelling miners): and the mezzo-tinted soprano Johanna Rusanen-Kartano a powerful Ira, his compromised lover.

BBC Music Magazine
The Mine of the title is a microcosm of both society and the individual soul - and its inhabitants are cast from strength. The great Jorma Hynninen is in untarnished voice as the dictator figure, The Commissar; the bass Hannu Niemala is a dark Simon...and the mezzo-tinted soprano Johanna Rusanen-Kartano a powerful Ira, his compromised lover.

Gramophone Magazine
Any cast willing to take on this dauntingly unglamorous music, and able to do so with such authority, commands rather more than respect. There is certainly some strain in the singing but also a compelling quota of dramatic truth and passion. Hannu Lintu's belief in the work shines through and he brings the Tampere Philharmonic with him undaunted...The recording fills a major gap in the Ruatavaara discography and fills it with distinction.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Tampere, Finland (09/24/2010).



Reviews

Early opera from Finland's greatest living composer still has impact
The new Ondine recording of "Kaivos" (The Mine) by Einojuhani Rautavaara has a certain relevance over fifty years after its composition. Rautavaara was a young composer, beginning to build what is now an international reputation when he was inspired by the actual events of a 1956 Hungarian miners's uprising. The story, in which an entire group of miners was trapped and left to do by the Communist forces repressing their workers' rebellion. Additionally, Rautavaara had scarcely completed this opera along strikingly similar story lines when the Russian government put substantial pressure on Finland to not allow any civic actions or artistic endeavors that could incite similar unrest in Finland, still a Soviet "puppet state" to large extent. This "Night Frost Crisis" of 1959 actually delayed the premiere of Rautavaara's work until a TV production occurred in 1963, after the composer's final version of "Kaivos", from 1962, heard on this recording. With contemporary world events, such as the Egyptian - and now Libyan - uprisings as one reads this, and regardless of any theories regarding the causes and effects of such revolts, the themes in this opera are eerily relevant. The music itself is early Rautaavara, built on tone rows, in a version of dodecaphony that owes something to Berg, though not purely serialistic. The sound is consequently a bit more angular than what many know as Rautavaara's later style; the exotic harmonies and lush orchestrations of his "Angels of Light" for example. The libretto, to "Kaivos", also by the composer takes place in the 1950s (intended to seem present day to the listener; as still does in my opinion) and the present recording by the Tampere Philharmonic and maestro Hannu Lintu is excellent. The principal roles are sung very well and convincingly. Hannu Niemala as Simon brings a fervor with a touch of naivete to his role as the "former partisan" and seems gullible one moment and cruel the next. Johanna Rusanen-Kartano as his lover, Ira, is equally convincing. Her Act II Sartre like soliloquy - that takes place in a bar including an odd jazz combo and is reminiscent of the tavern scene in "Wozzeck" - is stark, pitiable. Both the Commissar (played by the esteemed Jorma Hynninen) and the Priest, sung by Jaako Kortekangas present two very different views of the miners (and the extended society's) plight: a message of hopelessness with an underlying tinge of hope in the former and its converse, in the latter. Lintu had given "Kaivos" its first fully staged performance just in 2010 and this recording is an outgrowth of that. The recording and package are well up to Ondine's usual high standards. It would be an interesting exercise to compare this work both musically and thematically to Sallinen's "The Red Line". On its own, "Kaivos" is one more example of why, in my view, some of Europe's greatest contemporary music written since 1950 has come from Scandinavia, Finland, in particular, and Einojuhani Rautavaara as the prime moving force. Highly recommended!
Submitted on 02/22/11 by Dan Coombs 
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Works Details

>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Kaivos (The Mine), opera in 3 acts (withdrawn; under revision)
  • Performers: Petri Pussila (Baritone); Hannu Niemelä (Voice); Tuomas Katajala (Tenor); Jaakko Kortekangas (Baritone); Jorma Hynninen (Baritone); Mati Turi (Tenor); Johanna Rusanen-Kartano (Voice)
  • Conductor: Hannu Lintu
  • Running Time: 2 min. 59 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1957-1963