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Violin Concerto / Angels & Visitations
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The violin concerto is more overtly dramatic than many of Rautavaara's compositions, but never vulgar, and the solo part is played with beauty and fire by Elmar Oliveira.
"Isle of Bliss" is an orchestral fantasia lasting just a little over 11 minutes. After a strong beginning it goes a bit formless in the middle (somewhat of a weak point with this composer; he tends to sag a bit structurally at times) but masterfully evokes a strong sense of atmosphere throughout. Listening to it, I felt as though I was walking the chilly, rocky coastline of a secluded island, and as it turns out a remote Baltic Sea island was the composer's inspiration for the piece (as he himself explains in the excellent booklet notes).
"Angels and Visitations" is another work in this composer's self-titled "Angel Series," but as usual it's no new-age orchestral puff piece. As he explains in the booklet, it was inspired by a terrible recurring dream he had as a child. It stirs up a strong sense of drama, effectively mixing beauty, terror and awe throughout its nearly 20-minute length.
Not quite an hour of music, excellently recorded as is usually the case with Ondine. Leif Segerstam obviously believes in this music and leads the orchestra through some of the most effective Rautavaara performances on record. I play this one often and would recommend it to anyone interested in Rautavaara or in approachable, interesting new music.
The recording of "Angels and Visitations" on this album makes an appearance in the book: "1001 Classical Recordings You Must Hear Before You Die." It is a remarkable piece of music. The Penguin Classical Music Guide gives this CD an outstanding review and awards it one of its coveted rosettes which signifies a special recording.
Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara became popular in 1996 with the release of his Symphony No. 7, subtitled "Angel of Light." Elmar Oliveira is the violinist. It features the Helsinki Philarmonic Orchestra conducted by Leif Segerstam.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Hard to understand why the Violin Concerto is not heard more often, a masterful , original work alone justifying a purchase of the cd.Published 23 months ago by Rugby
Rautavaara has sometimes been accused of writing the same work over and over again. In fact, his style has run through a wide variety of styles from the avant-garde to the... Read morePublished on May 20, 2011 by G.D.
I went through a phase involving repeated, intense listenings of Rautavaara's music. Having now revisited his works some years later while plumbing through my CD collection, I have... Read morePublished on August 22, 2008 by WriteOn