Author Topic: Rautavaara's Riverboat  (Read 58943 times)

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SymphonicAddict

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Re: Rautavaara's Riverboat
« Reply #220 on: August 27, 2019, 12:57:26 PM »
I love his chamber music.  There is a disk from ondine that I think has two string quartets and a string quintet that is lovely (going off memory) but features much of what you like in his larger works, just more intimate and more immediate.  I am not so familiar with his operas but am curious about them.  The only opera of his I have is "The Mine" and don't remember it.

I always felt that Rautavaara had similarities with Sibelius but come to think of it, I really can't think of much similarity at all or why I ever thought that.   Maybe in how they merge mystic elements of nature and mythology in their music.

Very good. Thank you!

Online André

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Re: Rautavaara's Riverboat
« Reply #221 on: August 28, 2019, 04:20:19 PM »


I’ve listened (twice) to the disc containing symphonies 7 and 8. That’s the disc layout, so I simply let the thing proceed as the disc producer had planned it: symphony no 7 followed 6 seconds later by symphony no 8. This proved to be an experiment of sorts. The works are 5 years apart and yet, listened to in succession, it was a bit like hearing the same kind of music - but not the exact same - all over again. I found myself in agreement with the comment made by relm about the tempo/dynamics sameness. But didn’t I lay the grounds for this impression by not isolating my listening of the two works ?

It was like listening to symphonies 1 and 2 by Hanson back to back, or Silvestrov 5 and 6, or any two ‘mountain’ symphonies by Hovhanness (he wrote a dozen such, I reckon). It is of course doing the composer a huge disservice, sort of cheating him of his legitimate right to express himself in the same musical idiom. The hurried listener may want variety, while the composer may want to explore something over again, sort of retracing his steps, so to speak. It made me reflect that the listener can manipulate his own opinion by the context he listens to the music. Anyhow, this is just a way to say that I need to listen to those symphonies separately. Fortunately I have the BIS disc of symphony no 8 (with the violin concerto), so I will be able to hear it in a more objective context.


Offline relm1

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Re: Rautavaara's Riverboat
« Reply #222 on: August 29, 2019, 07:10:53 AM »
I found myself in agreement with the comment made by relm about the tempo/dynamics sameness. But didn’t I lay the grounds for this impression by not isolating my listening of the two works ?

It was like listening to symphonies 1 and 2 by Hanson back to back, or Silvestrov 5 and 6, or any two ‘mountain’ symphonies by Hovhanness (he wrote a dozen such, I reckon). It is of course doing the composer a huge disservice, sort of cheating him of his legitimate right to express himself in the same musical idiom. The hurried listener may want variety, while the composer may want to explore something over again, sort of retracing his steps, so to speak. It made me reflect that the listener can manipulate his own opinion by the context he listens to the music. Anyhow, this is just a way to say that I need to listen to those symphonies separately. Fortunately I have the BIS disc of symphony no 8 (with the violin concerto), so I will be able to hear it in a more objective context.


I think that is what separates the great composers from the good ones though.  That sense of never repeating themselves because they are constantly moving on and covering new ground...each work picks up where they left off which you have with Mahler, Sibelius, Beethoven, even Bruckner for example.  I really felt that in early Raatauvara but less so in his later music.  Definitely not in Hovhanness.  This doesn't make them bad composers or not worth hearing, just a little sense of disappointment in my ears of wishing it had gone somewhere else.

SymphonicAddict

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Re: Rautavaara's Riverboat
« Reply #223 on: August 30, 2019, 03:09:15 PM »
I'm listening to 'Book of Visions' right now ('A Tale of Nights' just ended). Very cool thus far, catches the ear easily.

At first I was mildly impressed, but now, having it listened to it, the whole reaction is not necessarily that impressing, but I did enjoy it.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Rautavaara's Riverboat
« Reply #224 on: November 12, 2019, 04:45:59 PM »
Is there any love for Einojuhani Rautavaara's Études for piano? I just picked up the Laura Mikkola Naxos CD for cheap, on the strength of the first étude, entitled Terssit or "Thirds". Damn fine I think. Somewhere between Scriabin and Debussy.

Is there any reason that I never hear about anyone listening to this composer? Is his music underrated? Is it just not that good? All I have heard is the Etudes and a few other piano works. I understand he has written symphonies; are these worth exploring?

Most importantly: who here has been listening to Rautavaara lately?

SymphonicAddict

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Re: Rautavaara's Riverboat
« Reply #225 on: November 12, 2019, 05:00:37 PM »
Is there any love for Einojuhani Rautavaara's Études for piano? I just picked up the Laura Mikkola Naxos CD for cheap, on the strength of the first étude, entitled Terssit or "Thirds". Damn fine I think. Somewhere between Scriabin and Debussy.

Is there any reason that I never hear about anyone listening to this composer? Is his music underrated? Is it just not that good? All I have heard is the Etudes and a few other piano works. I understand he has written symphonies; are these worth exploring?

Most importantly: who here has been listening to Rautavaara lately?

I don't consider he's too underrated these days. There is plenty of recordings of most of his works in several record labels.

Don't know those Etudes you mention (which must be interesting). The Piano Concertos have attractive ideas too, and they're certainly original but not too challenging.

Of course his symphonies are worth exploring! I really like Nos. 1, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8. He often conjures up visionary and otherworldly atmospheres which I find fascinating.

Offline relm1

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Re: Rautavaara's Riverboat
« Reply #226 on: November 12, 2019, 05:08:48 PM »
Is there any love for Einojuhani Rautavaara's Études for piano? I just picked up the Laura Mikkola Naxos CD for cheap, on the strength of the first étude, entitled Terssit or "Thirds". Damn fine I think. Somewhere between Scriabin and Debussy.

Is there any reason that I never hear about anyone listening to this composer? Is his music underrated? Is it just not that good? All I have heard is the Etudes and a few other piano works. I understand he has written symphonies; are these worth exploring?

Most importantly: who here has been listening to Rautavaara lately?

I haven't heard anything of Rautavaara's I did not love but am unfamiliar with the etudes, what disc is this from so I can investigate?  There are few composers who have a greater compositional arch and each work makes sense in its place and time so I love exploring his music.  Oh his symphonies are fantastic!  Very much worth exploring.  I personally believe like the finest symphonists, you need to hear them sequentially.  Don't fret over his brief excursions into serialism (like No. 2 which is nothing like No. 1 or 3), they still are fascinating excursions in an adventure and have tastes of great color at atmosphere to come.  Like the great symphonists, when you arrive at the final symphony (No. 8), it feels like an arrival...a culmination.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Rautavaara's Riverboat
« Reply #227 on: November 12, 2019, 05:31:39 PM »
I haven't heard anything of Rautavaara's I did not love but am unfamiliar with the etudes, what disc is this from so I can investigate?  There are few composers who have a greater compositional arch and each work makes sense in its place and time so I love exploring his music.  Oh his symphonies are fantastic!  Very much worth exploring.  I personally believe like the finest symphonists, you need to hear them sequentially.  Don't fret over his brief excursions into serialism (like No. 2 which is nothing like No. 1 or 3), they still are fascinating excursions in an adventure and have tastes of great color at atmosphere to come.  Like the great symphonists, when you arrive at the final symphony (No. 8), it feels like an arrival...a culmination.
Thanks, I will check them out. Is there a good recording to look out for? I am a big fan of much Serialism so I wouldn't fret over it at all if he does something interesting with it.

Here is the disc I have been listening to tonight:



Laura Mikkola on Naxos. Very talented young Finnish pianist. The disc includes the first two piano sonatas (all of them...? I don't know how many he wrote), a suite called Icons, and a set of Preludes in addition to the great Etudes. When I first heard the Thirds etude it was like getting smacked in the face. Damn good music.

Offline pjme

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Re: Rautavaara's Riverboat
« Reply #228 on: November 13, 2019, 12:03:12 AM »
Cantus arcticus (concerto for birds and orchestra), composed in 1972, was the work that put Rautavaara on my musical map. I still love this sweet, neo-impressionistic evocation of nordic marshes and flying swans.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/8X2FU1KU4_U" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/8X2FU1KU4_U</a>

Mikko Franck introduced the 8th symphony in Belgium with the NOB. Another favorite. But then I'm not afraid of "Feroce" or "Con grandezza" material.

« Last Edit: November 13, 2019, 12:13:33 AM by pjme »

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Rautavaara's Riverboat
« Reply #229 on: February 24, 2020, 02:41:15 AM »
I'm back on Rautavaara a little bit. I have two Naxos discs of his music. Not sure if I'm ready to make the jump into buying one of the Ondine boxes just yet but the symphonies and concertos boxes both look great, and pretty cheap too. I listened to a handful of his piano works yesterday and I was most impressed with the Piano Concerto No.1, which sounds like a beast to play, but contained some wonderful music. The two piano sonatas are also excellent. I think he is fascinated with stillness, he probably learned much from Debussy's Preludes and Prokofiev's War Sonatas.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Rautavaara's Riverboat
« Reply #230 on: February 24, 2020, 06:23:50 AM »
I'm back on Rautavaara a little bit. I have two Naxos discs of his music. Not sure if I'm ready to make the jump into buying one of the Ondine boxes just yet but the symphonies and concertos boxes both look great, and pretty cheap too. I listened to a handful of his piano works yesterday and I was most impressed with the Piano Concerto No.1, which sounds like a beast to play, but contained some wonderful music. The two piano sonatas are also excellent. I think he is fascinated with stillness, he probably learned much from Debussy's Preludes and Prokofiev's War Sonatas.
I have the Ondine symphonies box which has given me much pleasure as well as multiple recordings of Symphony No.8 'The Journey' and a couple of Symphony No.7 'Angel of Light'.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

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Re: Rautavaara's Riverboat
« Reply #231 on: February 24, 2020, 08:00:06 AM »
Rautavaara is sort of a like a Nordic Impressionist of sorts and I need to get past the fact that I believe his work all has a similar feel to it. This is question for everyone: what two works of his would make for the greatest musical contrast?
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline relm1

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Re: Rautavaara's Riverboat
« Reply #232 on: February 24, 2020, 05:18:19 PM »
Rautavaara is sort of a like a Nordic Impressionist of sorts and I need to get past the fact that I believe his work all has a similar feel to it. This is question for everyone: what two works of his would make for the greatest musical contrast?

He went through many phases.  I think you should check out his first 3 symphonies (yes, yes, I know you said two works but hear me out).  On the Ondine Max Pommer recording of his first three symphonies, you'll get three versions of Rautavaara that are unlike his late style.  His Symphony No. 1 is more in the debt of Shostakovitch.  Dramatic with bold and dark moments.  His Symphony No. 2 is very abstract and serialist, atonal.  His Symphony No. 3 is Germanic romanticism echoing Bruckner and probably his boldest (loudest) symphony.  To me, in this one disc you get three very different versions of the same composer that is nothing like what he is most commonly known for since his later style came in the mid 1970's and all these works predate that.  Like any great composer, their oeuvre is a journey well worth exploring and where they start and where they end is very different and the journey is very enjoyable and worth exploring.  Don't diminish him to his last new age persona.  He is far more than that. 

« Last Edit: February 24, 2020, 05:20:39 PM by relm1 »

Online André

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Re: Rautavaara's Riverboat
« Reply #233 on: February 25, 2020, 08:22:25 AM »
He went through many phases.  I think you should check out his first 3 symphonies (yes, yes, I know you said two works but hear me out).  On the Ondine Max Pommer recording of his first three symphonies, you'll get three versions of Rautavaara that are unlike his late style.  His Symphony No. 1 is more in the debt of Shostakovitch.  Dramatic with bold and dark moments.  His Symphony No. 2 is very abstract and serialist, atonal.  His Symphony No. 3 is Germanic romanticism echoing Bruckner and probably his boldest (loudest) symphony.  To me, in this one disc you get three very different versions of the same composer that is nothing like what he is most commonly known for since his later style came in the mid 1970's and all these works predate that.  Like any great composer, their oeuvre is a journey well worth exploring and where they start and where they end is very different and the journey is very enjoyable and worth exploring.  Don't diminish him to his last new age persona.  He is far more than that. 



+1

What you say about Rautavaara also applies to composers like Kancheli, Silvestrov or Penderecki. They are multi-faceted to a surprising degree. Just like Stravinsky before them.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Rautavaara's Riverboat
« Reply #234 on: February 25, 2020, 10:37:05 PM »
He went through many phases.  I think you should check out his first 3 symphonies (yes, yes, I know you said two works but hear me out).  On the Ondine Max Pommer recording of his first three symphonies, you'll get three versions of Rautavaara that are unlike his late style.  His Symphony No. 1 is more in the debt of Shostakovitch.  Dramatic with bold and dark moments.  His Symphony No. 2 is very abstract and serialist, atonal.  His Symphony No. 3 is Germanic romanticism echoing Bruckner and probably his boldest (loudest) symphony.  To me, in this one disc you get three very different versions of the same composer that is nothing like what he is most commonly known for since his later style came in the mid 1970's and all these works predate that.  Like any great composer, their oeuvre is a journey well worth exploring and where they start and where they end is very different and the journey is very enjoyable and worth exploring.  Don't diminish him to his last new age persona.  He is far more than that. 



Thanks for the feedback, relm1.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy