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  Ondine -
  ODE 1064-5
  Rautavaara: Book of Visions etc. - Franck
  Einojuhani Rautavaara: Book of Visions, Adagio Celeste, Symphony No. 1

Orchestre National de Belgique
Mikko Franck (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Reviews: 3

Site review by Castor November 29, 2005
Performance:   Sonics:  
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Review by willemvoorneveld July 17, 2012 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
The “pièce the resistance” of this disc is the Book of Visions, a piece of 40 minutes completed in 2005, complemented with his earliest Symphony (1955) and the Adagio Celeste for String orchestra completed in 2000. The title of this disc could easily point to the evolution in Rautavaara’s composing style, from strictly individual avant-garde to hyper Romantic (the 90’s) to, finally, mysticism.
It’s enough to listen to two bars of his books of Visions to understand what is meant with mysticism; the constant longing to and exploring of the unknown is very evident. Music is very powerful to convey such a message. But not only Rautavaara’s score point to mysticism. Also his choices of subjects for his vocal works indicate interest in this subject. A good example is his Opera Rasputin (2003) in which he tries to unravel the powers behind this mythical figure. Like in the Book of Visions his music in this Opera is addictive.

Despite 12-tone and avant-garde qualifications, Rautavaara’s music remains easy to listen too. Melody does exist in some form even in his earlier works. Frequent use of percussion helps to provide for structure.

Rautavaara himself promotes Mikko Franck, Conductor, as his main sales force so we have to assume that this recording provide us with an authentic interpretation of the works in question. The national Orchestra of Belgium seconds him with a smooth and full sound with fine and deep percussion at times.

Ondine does not say too much about the recording methods used, but I found this recording very good, with good hall acoustics and detail. The Centre of fine arts in Brussels must be a nice concert facility.


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Review by nickc December 8, 2005 (1 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
The First Symphony has a theme in the first movement eerily reminiscent of one in Dracula (the one with Gary Oldham) - though of course the symphony was written 40 years before the movie! I agree with Castor that it also evokes the first movement of the Shostakovich 6th. - though it is a bit lighter than Dmitri himself.
The Book of Visions is a large (40'16") four movement meditation on what night, fire, love and fate evoke in the composer - it is not really a symphony as such although music from the first movement (the best one in my opinion) comes back in about half-way through the finale. It is vaguely disquieting and quite beautiful in a sinister sort of way. I found it a bit amorphous and meandering, but others of course may feel differently.
The sound is generally excellent, soft-grained to match the music, though it can expand when called upon to.

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Works: 3  

Einojuhani Rautavaara - Adagio Celeste
Einojuhani Rautavaara - Book of Visions
Einojuhani Rautavaara - Symphony No. 1