EINOJUHANI RAUTAVAARA (b.1928): Rubáiyát for Baritone and Orchestra (Gerald Finley [baritone]), Into the Heart of Light (Canto V) for String Orchestra, Balada for Tenor, Mixed Choir and Orchestra (Mika Pohjonen [tenor]), 4 Songs from the Opera Rasputin for Mixed Choir and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 05R062
Reference: ODE 1274-2
Description: All these works are very recent, and share Rautavaara's sumptuous neo-romantic idiom into which he has settled in what will likely be the final phase of his career. The harmony is rich and very tonal, the orchestration opulent, and everything seems suffused with a warm, autumnal glow. The choice of texts from Fitzgerald's liberal rendering of the Ruba'iyat of Omar Khayyam is telling, as the composer has constructed a cycle of five poems that describe a distinct narrative arc, from the exultant and optimistic sunrise of the opening through the celebration of earthly and spiritual pleasures to the final exhortation to make the most of life in the face of encroaching mortality, framed in music of the utmost sensitivity to the poems' evolving mood. Into the Heart of Light is a gorgeous, glowing poetic essay enveloped in lush orchestration, seeming to inhabit the same world of fantasy, light and shadow, love and death as the celebration of Lorca's poetry that forms the substantial, dramatic mini-cantata Balada. Dark-hued and dramatic, the songs adapted by the composer from his opera Rasputin achieve a remarkable evocation of Russian atmosphere; were one unaware of the composer's identity one would have no difficulty believing that the very Russian sense of passionate melancholy and the cadences of the soaring yet ominous melodies were the work of a particularly fine neo-romantic Soviet composer. English, Spanish-English and Finnish-English texts. Helsinki Music Center Choir, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra; John Storgårds.