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Customer Review

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best place to start with Rautavarra, 19 July 2009
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This review is from: Rautavaara: Cantus Arcticus / Piano Concerto 1 / Symphony 3 (Audio CD)
Not wishing to repeat anything from the superb initial review by Bob Zeidler I would simply add the following:

The music of the Cantus Arcticus is simpler in texture than is typical for Rautavaara. It really is as though he is making space for the bird song in the manner of a concerto, rather than as a mere special effect as was done say by Respighi in the Fountains (or was it the Pines?) You are intended to listen to the bird song rather than be simply soothed by the notion of it. The overall effect is to evoke big skies over silver seas, ruffled by fresh and cleansing winds, in landscapes large enough for humans to be refreshingly small in an overcrowded age. I am grateful to the initial reviewer for his recommendation of an alternate version of this work with a better birdsong tape, not that I find the present one in any way unsuccessful.

The first Piano Concerto is clearly a masterpiece showing Rautavarra at his very best in several respects. The work is of a grand Romantic sweep and structure, but with enough modernist inflections to make it clear that you are hearing something by someone really not quite like anybody else, but expressed with pianism of the highest order. I find myself thinking of Rachmaninov, and wondering if he had allowed his modernist impulses a bit more reign, or just been born twenty years later, he would have written piano music somewhat like this. I can also just hear Rachmaninov playing this, he would know how to make the fireworks build, not that this is not itself a fine performance.

The third symphony I am familiar with from elsewhere, Rautavaara: The 8 Symphonies - Limited Edition Box, but it continues to grow with me on each listening, and I would have to confess to finding this the more impressive performance of the two, more tight and intense. Thanks to Naxos as ever. I tend to think of Rautavaara's symphonies, pre No.5 as easily being seen as derivative and part of his quest for his authentic voice. Nonetheless, this performance of No.3 has the hairs on my neck standing up in places.

I am about to surprise my mother with this disc. Her tastes in classical music were formed largely a long while ago, and run narrow but deep. She certainly doesn't have ears for anything overtly modernistic, but I've just got a feeling that she's going to connect with this one. Let's see shall we?
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 25 Oct 2010 14:37:06 BDT
Turbinecol says:
Yes, the better version of the 3, and on Naxos too. Brucknerians rejoice. Superb
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