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  • Rautavaara: Manhattan Trilogy; Symphony No. 3 [Hybrid SACD]
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Rautavaara: Manhattan Trilogy; Symphony No. 3 [Hybrid SACD] Colour, Hybrid SACD, SACD

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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
More of the same...which is fortunate 21 Mar. 2008
By Sir Butternut Longsword - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The last several works issued by Rautavaara have all been excellent compositions. The only drawback would be that they tend to sound very similiar---i.e Autumn Gardens, Piano Concerto 3, Harp Concerto, Symphony 8 and now the Manhattan Trilogy, written as a commition from the Juilliard School of music and as a testament to Rautavaara's student experiences and memories of the Big Apple and more specifically, manhattan. Now, I have to admit that Manhattan was the last place this music made me think of, but, in the liner notes, Rautavaara warned against using the title as a programmtic guide which makes me believe that the titles were mere afterthoughts to relevate the commition.
Now the music itself is, as is all of Rautavaara's post-avant garde works- well crafted, sonorous, hypnotic, and dramatic. One interesting detial that is relatively new to this work is the chamberesque qualities in the form of a solo string instrument and piano(obbligato if you will). These are the best moments of the piece in my opinion and I wish he had focused more on expanding them. The music is at its most beautiful during these moments which enhance the later dramatic turn expounded by accumulating beats on the timpani.
Overall I would say that this is a marvelous piece on its own, tthe only problem is that judging this with the rest of his recent works and you notice a sameness of both sound and texture.
From this new piece, we venture back to his third symphony, a semi-serial piece that doesnt sound like a serial piece--it is most known for being Brucknerian in sound yet serial. This is a pretty good performance, one I prefer to Kommer yet do not enjoy as much as the Naxos version despite the better playing of the Helsinki on this release.
Overall I would highly recommend this to devote Rautavaara fans and also highly recommend it as a introduction to Rautavaara for those seeking out new composers and music to listen to. Rautavaara is the greatest living composer and his body of work is essential listening-though modern it is accessible to those of the modern and romantic tendencies.
Rautavaara masterpieces that you should investigate
On the Last Frontier
Symphony 3,5,7,8
Violin Concerto, Piano Concerto's 1-3
Clarinet Concerto
Harp Concerto
String Quartets 1-4
String Quintet
opera-The House of the Sun(my favourite modern opera)
Alexsis Kivi
Rasputin(my second favourite modern opera)
Isle of Bliss
Angels and Visitations
Song of my heart(vocal work disc)
and on and on and on and on
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Rautavaara's Third is his masterpiece, but the other piece shows how his career has reached staggering amounts of staleness 29 April 2008
By Christopher Culver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara is an all-around minor musician who, after an early period of rigorous work but with only a few pieces really standing out, has spent the last several decades mainly rewriting the same piece over and over again. This 2008 Ondine hybrid SACD/CD disc features two works representative of each strain. Leif Segerstam leads the Helsinki Philharmonic.

The "Symphony No 3." (1959-1960) might ultimately stand as Rautavaara's greatest achievement. Here the composer embraced twelve-tone serialism, but his application of the method, however, is totally unlike the pointillistic music of the Darmstadt group. It's not completely like the atonal expressionism of Berg either. Instead, incredibly enough, it sounds of all things like Bruckner with its titantic spans, Bruckernian orchestration, clear use of themes, and tonal finale. While I prefer more abstract serialism, it's neat to see someone following in Berg's footsteps in turning the dodecaphonic technique to something palatable to more sensitive listeners. Segerstam's reading is as strong as any, and if you have a SACD setup and the cash to spend, this disc is a fine way to hear the piece in awesome surround sound. Listeners with just a stereo setup or a tight budget might instead want to purchase the Naxos CD where Hannu Lintu leads the Royal Scottish Philharmonic Orchestra.

"Manhattan Trilogy" (2004) takes as its programme the composer's formative years studying in New York. The opening movement, "Daydreams" at first surprises one familiar with Rautavaara's late oeuvre, since there's some actual diversity of material here. An aura of sounds opens it and eventually the harp enters in, plucking out the beat while winds and strings constantly alternate. Unfortunately, with the following two movements "Nightmares" and "Dawn", we get generic Rautavaara, long triadic harmonies with no variety or development. I'd challenge any Rautavaara to tell this apart from "Book of Visions", "Isle of Bliss", the Symphony No. 8, "Garden of Spaces", "Adagio Celeste" etc. There's another recent recording of this on another Naxos CD, but this is frankly poor music in any performance.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
beautiful sonoroties 27 July 2011
By pohjola - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is my first exposure to the music of Rautavaara and I have enjoyed what I have heard so far. The music is generally slowly unfolding, and depends on majestic sonorities for its power. I would describe it as impressionistic (the cover art seems to imply so) but the style differs from the impressionism of Debussy, more deliberate and spiritual.

The Manhattan Trilogy portrays three states of mind that the composer relates to his time spent at a student in New York. The Symphony No 3 is (as described by the composer) an attempt to re-imaging the music of Bruckner in a more modern idiom. Both pieces feature long threads of melody, lush orchestration, and harmony seemingly used for color more than anything else. I notice some reviews complaining that this is "more of the same," which I can't evaluate because this is the first I have heard from the composer. But I wouldn't mind hearing more of it.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
modern classical 18 Jun. 2010
By elrond77 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I really like the music on this CD. It is modern symphonic classical: deep, moody, strange, dynamic. If you like the music Bela Bartok I think you will like this music too.
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