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Rautavaara: Modificata; Incantations; Towards The Horizon / Colin Currie, Truls Mork

> Cello Concerto No. 2, "Towards the Horizon" - I. Theme -
> Cello Concerto No. 2, "Towards the Horizon" - II. Variations of the theme -
> Cello Concerto No. 2, "Towards the Horizon" - III. Finale
> Modificata - I. Praevariata
> Modificata - II. Meditatio
> Modificata - III. Affectio
> Percussion Concerto, "Incantations" - I. Pesante
> Percussion Concerto, "Incantations" - II. Espressivo
> Percussion Concerto, "Incantations" - III. Animato (cadenza by C. Currie)

Album Summary

>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Concerto for Cello no 2 ("Towards the Horizon ")
>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Modificata, for orchestra
>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Percussion Concerto ("Incantations")
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

This new recording couples Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara's latest concerto works with an orchestral piece from his early Modernist period (Modificata; 1957/2003). Rautavaara's Second Cello Concerto Towards the Horizon (2009) was written for cellist Truls M°rk and plays continuously in one 20-minute movement. Reviewing the premiere, the Star Tribune noted that the composer "acknowledges a 'taste for eternity' and a vain of mysticism runs through his work."

Gramophone
Modificata makes an intriguing filler between Rautavaara's latest, possibly last, pair of concertos. Given the valedictory nature of the music, the magical close fading out high into the air like a modern retake on The Lark Ascending, there is a temptation to see in this work the composer's direct contemplation of the infinite - his equivalent perhaps of Shostakovich's late quartets, but decidedly more positive and serene in expression (yet unblinkingly clear)... the beautiful central Espressivo, which affords perfectly judged musical and textural contrast after the vigorous opening Pesante... sets up the dance-like finale superbly. Colin Currie... reprises that scintillating performance in a barnstorming account caught splendidly in Ondine's superlative sound. John Storgsrds and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra give exemplary support in the big-boned textures of both concertos but also shine on their own in Modificata.

The Flip Side
The moody, introspective but vibrant Cello Concerto No. 2 has a perfect advocate in soloist Truls Mork; the propulsive Percussion Concerto, titled Incantations, is played by another Rautavaara advocate, soloist Colin Currie. 1957's Modificata, with an opening movement added in 2003, bridges his early 12-tone work and his later, staunchly post-romantic style. Conductor John Storgards ably leads the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.

BBC Music Magazine
A late and lush harvest of works by octogenarian Einojuhani Rautavaara continues apace. Here we have eagerly awaited documentation of his two latest neo-Romantic concertos, in beautifully recorded and definitive performances by the soloists who are their dedicatees.

MusicWeb International
The main attractions in this release are the two recent concertos i.e. the Second Cello Concerto and the Percussion Concerto which are amongst his finest works while the inclusion of a revised version of an early work Modificata also adds to one's appreciation of the composer's stylistic progress over his long creative life.

MusicWeb International
Ondine's ongoing Rautavaara cycle has surely reached its apogee with this astonishing disc, which includes an unforgettable Modificata and Colin Currie's splendid performance of the Percussion Concerto. As if that weren't enough, the sound on this CD is among the best I've ever heard. Without a doubt, this is my Recording of the Year.



Reviews

Two sides of Rautavaara's genius
As the booklet notes by fellow Finnish musician and critic Kimmo Korhonen point out, Einojuhani Rautavaara's music has evolved quite a bit from its serialist beginnnings some sixty years ago to its ethereal and tonal present rendition. This wonderful new disc from Ondine illustrates the point. Rautavaara's Cello Concerto No. 2, "Toward the Horizon", is an expansive and clearly Romantic work in one movement, but with three distinct and evocative sections. The "horizon" of the title could be the composer's view of a direction in which he sees his music moving; perhaps the evolution of his twelve concerti for a variety of instruments and this being - perhaps - his last. The sound is lush and very picturesque. The middle section being variations of the opening material and the last section being at first agitated, confused, searching for direction. It could also be that the "horizon" is a reference in simile to the final closing, high, soaring cello line - towards a musical horizon toward which the previous material has been pointing. No matter, this is a captivating and beautiful work written in the mysterious, arching manner of Rautavaara's later works. Truls Mork, for whom it was written performs with sensitivity and emotion. For "early" Rautavaara, this disc features Modificata, a work for orchestra written in 1957, revised in 2003. A three movement suite, this is intended to depict in musical terms the philosophical "dilemma of St. Augustine and Calvin". In this case, am essential twelve tone row serves as a motive for the "factor" of religious philosophy and providing the forms through which this factor can be expressed. The three movements (in this 2003 version); "Praevariata", "Meditatio" and "Affectio" are based both in theory as well as stylistically on the music of Alban Berg; who - in turn - was an inspiration source for Rautavaara's teacher, Wladimir Vogel. This is a very interesting piece, to be sure. I am not at all sure that this period for the composer's output would have made me the huge fan I am now; in part because his present voice is so uniquely compelling. It is, however, a very good work and would definitely remind people of works like Berg's Lyric Suite in places. Rautavaara's Incantations is a three movement percussion concerto and very much in line with his current style. Soloist Colin Currie is known for his virtuoso approach to modern music and Incantations shows off his mallet skills in particular. In fact, keyboard percussion is the principal timbre used throughout. The three movement work evokes a variety of moods and, as the composer's intent, sounds like a shamanistic percussion ceremony. Rautavaara, as Korhonen points out, did not want to "oversell" the shamanistic feel implied by the title, so he did not over use the predictable repeated patterns. Rather, the percussion tends to fit into a conversation with the rest of the orchestra in a most appealing way. Colin Currie demonstrates again why he is one of the world's great percussionists with a true sensitivity to modern music. The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor John Storgards performs wonderfully. This for me was a little different view of Rautavaara. Modicata was a wholly new experience while Towards the Horizon was more the composer I knew but the results confirm why I still admire his work greatly.
Submitted on 03/19/12 by Dan Coombs 
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Works Details

>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Concerto for Cello no 2 ("Towards the Horizon ")
  • Performer: Truls Truls Mork (Cello)
  • Conductor: John Storgårds
  • Ensemble: Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Music Centre (08/10/2011-08/12/2011)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 2008-2009

>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Modificata, for orchestra
  • Conductor: John Storgårds
  • Notes: Music Centre (08/10/2011-08/12/2011)
  • Running Time: 9 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1957

>Rautavaara, Einojuhani : Percussion Concerto ("Incantations")
  • Performer: Colin Currie (Percussion)
  • Conductor: John Storgårds
  • Running Time: 23 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 2008