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Rautavaara Works for Violin and Piano / Summer Thoughts

Audio Samples

>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Lost Landscapes, for violin & piano
>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Summer Thoughts, for violin & piano
>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : April Lines, for violin & piano
>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Nocturne and Dance, for violin & piano
>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Variétude, for solo violin
>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Dithyrambos, for violin & strings (or violin & piano)
>Traditional, Finnish : Närböläisten braa speli
>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Pelimannit (The Fiddlers), for piano
>Traditional, Finnish : Kopsin Jonas
>Traditional, Finnish : Jacob Könni
>Traditional, Finnish : Klockar Samuel Dikström
>Traditional, Finnish : Pirun polska
>Traditional, Finnish : Hypyt

Album Summary

>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Lost Landscapes, for violin & piano
>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Summer Thoughts, for violin & piano
>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : April Lines, for violin & piano
>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Nocturne and Dance, for violin & piano
>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Variétude, for solo violin
>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Dithyrambos, for violin & strings (or violin & piano)
>Traditional, Finnish : Närböläisten braa speli
>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Pelimannit (The Fiddlers), for piano
>Traditional, Finnish : Kopsin Jonas
>Traditional, Finnish : Jacob Könni
>Traditional, Finnish : Klockar Samuel Dikström
>Traditional, Finnish : Pirun polska
>Traditional, Finnish : Hypyt
Performers Composers

Notes & Reviews:

This new recording features the complete works for violin and piano by iconic Finnish composers Einojuhani Rautaavara (b. 1928), including many world premières. The performers are two of the most fascinating talents from Finland who are known for a fresh approach: violinist Pekka Kuusisto ("the very embodiment of joyful music-making" - The Toronto Star) and pianist Paavali Jumppanen ("immense power and an extraordinary range of colours" - The New York Times), who is known for his acclaimed recordings of Pierre Boulez's complete Piano Sonatas for Deutsche Grammophon.

Gramophone
Kuusisto and Jumppanen are persuasive executants - Rautavaara's challenging technical demands are thrown off with élan... Top-notch sound.

The WholeNote
... Kuusisto hit on the idea of playing the actual fiddle tunes before the relevant piano sections. It works wonderfully - and there's some tremendous fiddle playing!

MusicWeb International
Ondine has confirmed its superior position by issuing boxed collections of Rautavaara's symphonies and concertos. Everything is well documented, nicely honed and polished yet fresh and well connected to folk dance.

American Record Guide
This wonderful release will be of interest both to violinists and everyone on the lookout for winning chamber music.

ClassicsToday.com
Kuusisto... plays very well, with plenty of color in his tone; ... Jumppanen also does an excellent job... The sonics are generally excellent, well balanced... Ondine's Rautavaara recordings really are major additions to the contemporary music scene. This one is no exception.

Infodad.com
The music of Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara (born 1928) is in general less familiar to audiences, and a new recording of some of his pieces for violin and piano, although very well played, is unlikely to change that. Rautavaara's larger-scale works (symphonies, concertos, operas) are somewhat more impressive than the miniatures offered here, resulting in a (+++) rating for the CD. Four of the seven pieces heard on this disc are world premiFre recordings: Lost Landscapes (2005), Summer Thoughts(1972/2008), April Lines (1970/2006), and Dithyrambos (1970). All are nicely constructed in a modern compositional idiom that lies more easily on the ear than is often the case with the music of 20th- and 21st-century composers. Also on the CD are Notturno e danza (1993), whose two movements are effectively contrasted, and VariTtude (1974), a cleverly titled work for solo violin that nicely displays the performer's technique.

The final work on the disc is especially interesting: Pelimannit (The Fiddlers),a suite for piano that dates back all the way to 1952. It is written entirely for piano but based entirely on traditional Finnish fiddle tunes - and in this recording, Pekka Kuusisto plays each of those tunes before Paavali Jumppanen performs each of the movements of the suite. The result is an intriguing opportunity to hear a composer's sources of inspiration - and how he alters them in his chosen instrumental and compositional idiom. Although Rautavaara's music has not caught on internationally to the same extent as that of his countryman Sibelius, it is generally interesting and certainly worth occasional hearings, even if most of the short-form works on this CD are somewhat less engaging than Rautavaara's larger and more ambitious compositions.

Allmusic.com
This release on the Finnish label Ondine offers Einojuhani Rautavaara's complete works for violin and piano. This isn't a large group, and even the composer's chamber works in general are not numerous. Accordingly the collection of music here is something of a miscellany, and the buyer new to Rautavaara will probably find that his genius reveals itself better in larger genres. This said, fans of the composer will find much of interest here.

Among the highlights is Rautavaara's very first published work, Pelimannit (The Fiddlers), a suite for piano from 1952. The work consists of variations, one each, on six traditional Finnish fiddle tunes, and violinist Pekka Kuusisto here had the inspired idea to pair the variations with the fiddle tunes themselves. For listeners may not have the sound of Finnish folk music in their heads, this brings out the imagination of these little pieces, whose luminous tone took them far beyond the world of Bart=k in which they were probably based. Lost Landscapes, composed in for the violinist Midori in 2005, comes from the other end of Rautavaara's career; it fits depictions of four of Rautavaara's temporary homes - Tanglewood in Massachusetts, Ascona (Switzerland), Vienna, and New York City - into his winding contrapuntal style. In between are a variety of short pieces, several of them written for competition settings; they boil Rautavaara's spacious style down to the simple dimensions of the violin-and-piano duet. Kuusisto's playing is a major attraction here; he cultivates a wiry yet attractive tone that seems tailor-made for Rautavaara. Ondine's engineering is at its usual high level.

The Telegraph
Nostalgia envelops "Lost Landscapes" (2005), in which Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara reflects on places of significance to him. Reminiscences of New York trigger hustle and bustle, and listeners accustomed to his mystical vistas will find many other facets to his creative output in this superbly played selection of his violin and piano works.

BBC Music Magazine
That [Dithyrambos] should have such an effect is partly a tribute to the spirited musicianship of Pekka Kuusisto and Paavali Jumppanen. If Kuusisto ultimately emerges as the star, that's partly because the piano writing in the more recent pieces gives him a lot less scope than Dithyrambos or Pelimannit. But in those earlier scores he's splendidly alert and expressive.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Sello Hall, Espoo, Finland (12/28/2010-12/30/2010).



Reviews

Rautavaara's violin music given glowing performances!
Many people already know the great Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara for his large scale works; the operas, symphonies and choral works. This wonderful collection of his solo violin work illustrates that his trademark soaring long line melodies and ethereal harmonies that unfold slowly can be found in his intimate work as well. The "familiar" Rautavaara, like in "Angels of Light" for example, can be heard in the beautiful four movement "Lost Landscapes", each movement representing a place with personal meaning both to the composer and also to the violinist, Midori, for whom it was written. Similarly, the flow and beauty of "April Lines" is stunning as is "Dithyrambos" - a work containing reflection and beauty as well as some dynamic motion. These works alone are truly among the best contemporary pieces for violin and piano I have heard. The brief "Summer Thoughts" is a reworking of some early work and makes a nice, albeit "darker" addition to this program. The melodies are lower and the chords a little more modal and minor oriented. Rautavaara's "Nottorno e danza" makes a similar strong impression. Beginning in a characteristically floating and ethereal way, the "dance" half makes for a strong, bouyant conclusion. The inclusion of Rautavaara's 'The Fiddlers' is almost a bonus on this disc. The piano suite "Pelimannit" is based on six different Finnish folk tunes as heard on by country "fiddlers" In this recording, soloist Pekka Kuusisto plays each of the original melodies individually, followed by the piano movement in the suite upon which the tune is based. In a way, this piece seems light and a bit out of character compared to the rest of the music, showing Rautavaara's versatility and talent. This is a terrific recording. Kuusisto and pianist Paavali Jumppanen play with sensitivity and beautiful tone throughout. I truly believe anyone would deeply enjoy this album; certainly violinists and pianist looking for something new and beautiful as well as those already familiar with Rautavaara. For me, I already love Rautavaara's music. This is simply another reason to add to my collection!
Submitted on 07/11/11 by Dan Coombs 
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Works Details

>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Lost Landscapes, for violin & piano
  • Performers: Paavali Jumppanen (Piano); Pekka Kuusisto (Violin)
  • Notes: Sello Hall, Espoo, Finland (12/28/2010-12/30/2010)
  • Running Time: 20 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 2005

>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Summer Thoughts, for violin & piano
  • Performers: Paavali Jumppanen (Piano); Pekka Kuusisto (Violin)
  • Notes: Sello Hall, Espoo, Finland (12/28/2010-12/30/2010)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1972

>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : April Lines, for violin & piano
  • Performers: Paavali Jumppanen (Piano); Pekka Kuusisto (Violin)
  • Notes: Sello Hall, Espoo, Finland (12/28/2010-12/30/2010)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1970

>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Nocturne and Dance, for violin & piano
  • Performers: Paavali Jumppanen (Piano); Pekka Kuusisto (Violin)
  • Notes: Sello Hall, Espoo, Finland (12/28/2010-12/30/2010)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1993

>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Variétude, for solo violin
  • Performer: Pekka Kuusisto (Violin)
  • Notes: Sello Hall, Espoo, Finland (12/28/2010-12/30/2010)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1974

>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Dithyrambos, for violin & strings (or violin & piano)
  • Performers: Paavali Jumppanen (Piano); Pekka Kuusisto (Violin)
  • Notes: Sello Hall, Espoo, Finland (12/28/2010-12/30/2010)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1970

>Traditional, Finnish : Närböläisten braa speli
  • Performer: Pekka Kuusisto (Violin)
  • Notes: Sello Hall, Espoo, Finland (12/28/2010-12/30/2010)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 50 sec.

>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Pelimannit (The Fiddlers), for piano
  • Performer: Paavali Jumppanen (Piano)
  • Notes: Sello Hall, Espoo, Finland (12/28/2010-12/30/2010)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1952

>Traditional, Finnish : Kopsin Jonas
  • Performer: Pekka Kuusisto (Violin)
  • Notes: Sello Hall, Espoo, Finland (12/28/2010-12/30/2010)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 37 sec.

>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Pelimannit (The Fiddlers), for piano
  • Performer: Paavali Jumppanen (Piano)
  • Notes: Sello Hall, Espoo, Finland (12/28/2010-12/30/2010)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1952

>Traditional, Finnish : Jacob Könni
  • Performer: Pekka Kuusisto (Violin)
  • Notes: Sello Hall, Espoo, Finland (12/28/2010-12/30/2010)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 39 sec.

>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Pelimannit (The Fiddlers), for piano
  • Performer: Paavali Jumppanen (Piano)
  • Notes: Sello Hall, Espoo, Finland (12/28/2010-12/30/2010)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1952

>Traditional, Finnish : Klockar Samuel Dikström
  • Performer: Pekka Kuusisto (Violin)
  • Notes: Sello Hall, Espoo, Finland (12/28/2010-12/30/2010)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 23 sec.

>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Pelimannit (The Fiddlers), for piano
  • Performer: Paavali Jumppanen (Piano)
  • Notes: Sello Hall, Espoo, Finland (12/28/2010-12/30/2010)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1952

>Traditional, Finnish : Pirun polska
  • Performer: Pekka Kuusisto (Violin)
  • Notes: Sello Hall, Espoo, Finland (12/28/2010-12/30/2010)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 11 sec.

>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Pelimannit (The Fiddlers), for piano
  • Performer: Paavali Jumppanen (Piano)
  • Notes: Sello Hall, Espoo, Finland (12/28/2010-12/30/2010)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1952

>Traditional, Finnish : Hypyt
  • Performer: Pekka Kuusisto (Violin)
  • Notes: Sello Hall, Espoo, Finland (12/28/2010-12/30/2010)

>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Pelimannit (The Fiddlers), for piano
  • Performer: Paavali Jumppanen (Piano)
  • Notes: Sello Hall, Espoo, Finland (12/28/2010-12/30/2010)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1952