Einojuhani Rautavaara - Modificata, Towards the Horizon & Incantations - Colin Currie, Truls Mork, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, John Storgards (2012/2016) High-Fidelity DSF Stereo DSD128/5.64MHz
Сomposer: Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928)
Artist: Colin Currie, Truls Mørk, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, John Storgårds
Title: Rautavaara: Modificata, Towards the Horizon & Incantations
Label: © 2xHD/Ondine Oy, Helsinki
Release Date: 2012/2016
Quality: DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz
Recorded: Helsinki, Finlandia Hall, 15.1.2011 (Incantations), Music Centre, 10.–12.8.2011. A 24-bit recording in dXd (digital eXtreme definition)
This new recording couples Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara’s latest concerto works with an orchestral piece from his early Modernist period (Modificata; 1957/2003). The virtuoso Percussion Concerto Incantations (2008) features the Scottish percussion soloist Colin Currie, who is the dedicatee and première performer of this work. Currie wrote himself the virtuoso cadenza to the final movement. Rautavaara’s Second Cello Concerto Towards the Horizon (2009) was written for cellist Truls Mørk 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 mysticsm runs through his work.” Einojuhani Rautavaara is recognized as one of the most notable Finnish composers after Jean Sibelius. His recordings on Ondine have been bestsellers and garnered numerous awards (including a recent GRAMMY nomination for his opera Kaivos). Under their chief conductor John Storgårds, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra builds on long-time pedigrees of performing their compatriot’s music.
Rautavaara’s late works continue to reveal the hand of a master with a completely assured technique and a serenely confident personal style. Towards the Horizon, his Cello Concerto No. 2, is an introspective, poetic work cast in large-scale variation form. Like so many modern concertos, its quiet ending may limit its chances of becoming popular in concert, but the quality of the music is never in doubt and the melodic material is truly memorable. To his credit, Rautavaara apportions the majority of the solo writing to vibraphone and marimba, with contrasting episodes given to untuned percussion. The result, effectively varied timbrally, works very well; even the concluding cadenza fits logically into its place in the finale, and does not outstay its welcome. Time will tell if “the percussion concerto problem,” if you accept that there is one, has been solved definitively. Either way, this is a very enjoyable listen.
Modificata belongs to Rautavaara’s early, twelve-tone period (the late 1950s)…they are as characterful or successful as his later works. …Rautavaara fashions distinctive melodic material for each of the piece’s three movements—the quick finale is particularly exciting and successful. …the performances are excellent…the Helsinki Philharmonic under John Storgards does its usual fine job. So, for that matter, do Ondine’s engineers. Very recommendable. --David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday
The turbulent introduction to the Second Cello Concerto instantly grabs the attention and draws one into its troubled musings. From out of this uncertain universe spins a heart-stopping cello line, whose ethereal beauty is captured in a 24-bit DXD recording of rare subtlety and presence. Balances are just perfect, soloist and orchestra engaged in a yearning dialogue that’s both profoundly beautiful and intensely moving. I played this piece several times, if only to assure myself I’d actually heard such out-of-this-world music and music-making. Yes, this understated concerto really is that magical, and I just know I’ll return to it time and time again.
As for the early Modificata, revised in 2003, dodecaphony has seldom sounded so ravishing. There’s little of the stern pedagogue in this rigorously conceived—and most virtuosic—score; packed with ear-tweaking incident it’s imbued with a gentle grace and serene loveliness that comes perilously close to that most exalted state, the sublime. The quiet, gong-struck epiphanies are especially thrilling, and although the final movement is tough and sinewy it never loses its lyrical impulse. What a find this is; yet another work to add to my ever-lengthening list of Rautavaara favourites. Both Storgårds and his band are supremely assured here, and the top-notch recording adds immensely to one’s enjoyment of this composer’s distinctive sound world.
Aho’s Luosto Symphony is rooted in a dark, distant shamanism, and Incantations—the subtitle of this Percussion Concerto—may suggest an unformed world that’s just as strange and elemental. Those odd timp rolls in the first movement do indeed herald the arrival of something defiantly ‘other’, the vibraphone and marimba augmenting the sense of mysticism and immemoriality. Make no mistake, this couldn’t be further from the filmic hocus-pocus associated with such things; indeed, this shimmering score is simply gorgeous, the sheer fecundity of Rautavaara’s writing matched by Currie’s discreet, unearthly tones. As for the next movement’s sculptures in sound their delicate timbres are reproduced with astonishing fidelity. There’s a robust cadenza in the third, but the deep spell, once cast, remains unbroken to the end.
Occasionally a recording comes so close to the unrepeatable concentration and colour of a live event that one feels compelled to applaud at the close; I daresay you will too, for this really is an extraordinary achievement. --Dan Morgan, MusicWeb International
Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928)
Cello Concerto No. 2, "Towards the Horizon"*
1. I. Theme - 00:04:06
2. II. Variations of the theme - 00:08:38
3. III. Finale 00:08:32
4. I. Praevariata 00:09:00
5. II. Meditatio 00:04:52
6. III. Affectio 00:03:24
Percussion Concerto, "Incantations"**
7. I. Pesante 00:08:09
8. II. Espressivo 00:08:52
9. III. Animato (cadenza by C. Currie) 00:06:43
Colin Currie, percussion**
Truls Mørk, cello*
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
John Storgårds, conductor
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