Gabriel Suovanen in orchestral songs by Einojuhani Rautavaara
Ondine has released the first disc of orchestral songs by Einojuhani Rautavaara, performed by Gabriel Suovanen and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leif Segerstam.
The works on the new disc have been composed over a period spanning a good four decades. The oldest are Fünf Sonette an Orpheus – settings of five sonnets by Rainer Maria Rilke – dating from 1995-56 and the most recent are the Three Songs from the Opera Aleksis Kivi of 1997.
Einojuhani Rautavaara says: “My own background and environment were full of solo singing: my father was a singer, and so was my cousin Aulikki Rautawaara. My interest in literature and lyric poetry, my own literary expression made it natural for me to begin my attempts at composition with solo songs. I wrote dozens of songs while I was still at school, and songs, the motifs they generate, have very often been the seeds of large orchestral works.”
Einojuhani Rautavaara (b. 1928) has in recent years risen to become the Finnish composer best known internationally and still actively creating. In 2004, orchestral works by him were performed at over a hundred concerts worldwide. His extensive, highly distinctive output includes ten operas, eight symphonies, eleven instrumental concertos and a large volume of orchestral, vocal and chamber music.