One of the paradoxes about the much-missed Einojuhani Rautavaara is that his music should have swung through so many styles early in his career and then settle into so fixed a manner later in life, around the time of his Seventh Symphony, Angel of Light, in 1994. Rautavaara’s late style is a good one: soaring melodic lines over swirling inner parts balanced on nimble bass lines, pulled together in warm modal harmonies.
The four works here present his last thoughts in four genres: the song-cycle Rubáiyát (2014) is his last work for voice and orchestra; Balada (2014, rescuing music from an unfinished opera) his last piece for chorus and orchestra, here with an important tenor solo; Into the Heart of Light (2012) his last score for string orchestra; and the Four Songs from the Opera Rasputin (2001–3, arr. 2012) squeeze some more mileage from his last completed opera.
Gerald Finley (baritone); Mika Pohjonen (tenor); Helsinki Music Centre Choir; Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, cond. John Storgårds
Ondine ODE 1274-2