- Nocturne and Dance, for violin & piano - Einojuhani Rautavaara - Reijo Kiilunen - Pekka Kuusisto - Paavali Jumppanen - Armand Alcazar
- Dithyrambos, for violin & strings (or violin & piano) - Einojuhani Rautavaara - Reijo Kiilunen - Pekka Kuusisto - Paavali Jumppanen - Armand Alcazar
- Pelimannit (The Fiddlers), for piano - Einojuhani Rautavaara - Reijo Kiilunen - Paavali Jumppanen - Armand Alcazar
Summer Thoughts: Rautavaara Works for Violin and Pianoby Pekka Kuusisto
This release on Finnish label Ondine offers Einojuhani Rautavaara's complete works for violin and piano. This isn't a large group, and even the composer's chamber works in general are not numerous. Accordingly the collection of music here is something of a miscellany, and the buyer new to Rautavaara will probably find that his genius reveals itself better in larger genres. This said, fans of the composer will find much of interest here. Among the highlights is Rautavaara's very first published work, "Pelimannit (The Fiddlers)," a suite for piano from 1952. The work consists of variations, one each, on six traditional Finnish fiddle tunes, and violinist Pekka Kuusisto here had the inspired idea to pair the variations with the fiddle tunes themselves. For listeners may not have the sound of Finnish folk music in their heads, this brings out the imagination of these little pieces, whose luminous tone took them far beyond the world of Bartók in which they were probably based. "Lost Landscapes," composed in 2005 for violinist Midori, comes from the other end of Rautavaara's career; it fits depictions of four of Rautavaara's temporary homes -- Tanglewood in Massachusetts, Ascona (Switzerland), Vienna, and New York City -- into his winding, contrapuntal style. In between are a variety of short pieces, several of them written for competition settings; they boil Rautavaara's spacious style down to the simple dimensions of the violin-and-piano duet. Kuusisto's playing is a major attraction here; he cultivates a wiry yet attractive tone that seems tailor-made for Rautavaara. Ondine's engineering is at its usual high level.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsPekka Kuusisto Primary Artist
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Many people already know the great Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara for his large scale works; the operas, symphonies and choral works. This wonderful collection of his solo violin work illustrates that his trademark soaring long line melodies and ethereal harmonies that unfold slowly can be found in his intimate work as well. The "familiar" Rautavaara, like in "Angels of Light" for example, can be heard in the beautiful four movement "Lost Landscapes", each movement representing a place with personal meaning both to the composer and also to the violinist, Midori, for whom it was written. Similarly, the flow and beauty of "April Lines" is stunning as is "Dithyrambos" - a work containing reflection and beauty as well as some dynamic motion. These works alone are truly among the best contemporary pieces for violin and piano I have heard. The brief "Summer Thoughts" is a reworking of some early work and makes a nice, albeit "darker" addition to this program. The melodies are lower and the chords a little more modal and minor oriented. Rautavaara's "Nottorno e danza" makes a similar strong impression. Beginning in a characteristically floating and ethereal way, the "dance" half makes for a strong, bouyant conclusion. The inclusion of Rautavaara's 'The Fiddlers' is almost a bonus on this disc. The piano suite "Pelimannit" is based on six different Finnish folk tunes as heard on by country "fiddlers" In this recording, soloist Pekka Kuusisto plays each of the original melodies individually, followed by the piano movement in the suite upon which the tune is based. In a way, this piece seems light and a bit out of character compared to the rest of the music, showing Rautavaara's versatility and talent. This is a terrific recording. Kuusisto and pianist Paavali Jumppanen play with sensitivity and beautiful tone throughout. I truly believe anyone would deeply enjoy this album; certainly violinists and pianist looking for something new and beautiful as well as those already familiar with Rautavaara. For me, I already love Rautavaara's music. This is simply another reason to add to my collection!