Einojuhani Rautavaara is one of Finland's most popular living composers.
Although he has experimented with twelve-tone techniques, his music remains
emotionally rooted in the tradition of the Romantic symphonists. His 'Third
Symphony', written between 1959 and 1960, utilises a twelve tone row, however
it is unashamedly tonal and its monumental architecture is at times reminiscent
Rautavaara's first piano concerto (1969) is another highly emotive work,
which sounds like Rachmaninov with palm clusters. This is a work that could
be a popular concert work, and should be programmed more frequently.
I feel that the Cantus Arcticus (Concerto for birds and orchestra, 1972)
is probably the least successful of the works on the disc. It combines taped
bird song from the Arctic Circle with a live orchestra. The orchestral writing
is effective, but I felt that the tape was an unnecessary intrusion.
The performances are good, as is the recording quality. This is an enjoyable
recording from a substantial but accessible contemporary composer.
See also earlier review by David Wright