Classical Music mourns the loss of Einojuhani Rautavaara

Einojuhani Rautavaara

 Einojuhani Rautavaara – Finnish Composer  (9 October 1928 – 27 July 2016)


This morning I was at Wikipedia reviewing the events that happened on this date in history. However, before I got a chance to due that, I spotted a name on the list of those who have recently passed away that was interesting. The name was Einojuhani Rautavaara. The name was interesting because a) I was unfamiliar with the name and b) I was intrigued by the foreign nature of the name. Since I am always interested in explorations of people and places beyond my country’s borders, I clicked on the name to find out more about Einojuhani Rautavaara.

I discovered that Rautavaara. was a Finnish composer of classical music considered to be the second most notable Finnish composer behind Jean Sibelius.From Wikipedia.

Rautavaara wrote a great number of works spanning various styles. Having written early works using 12-tone serial techniques, his later music may be described as neo-romantic and mystical. His major works include Cantus Arcticus and Symphony No. 7 “Angel of Light

Rautavaara was born to 1928 in Helsinki. His parents were Eino and his mother Elsa were an opera singer and cantor and doctor respectively. Both of his parents died before he reached the age of 16. After their deaths he live with his his aunt Hilja Teräskeli in a Helsinki suburb

He graduated for the  Sibelius Academy in 1957.. While at the Academy he studied under Aarre Merikanto from 1948 to 1952. In 1954 he received international attention, when he won the Thor Johnson Contest for his composition A Requiem in Our Time, After the win, Jean Sibelius recommended him for a scholarship to study at Julliard inn New York City. While at Julliard, Rautavaara was taught by Vincent Persichetti. He also took lessons from Roger Sessions and Aaron Copland at Tanglewood.

About the Music of Einojuhani Rautavaara

Rautavaara composed music from the 1960s through the 2000s. From Wikipedia

Rautavaara was a prolific composer and wrote in a variety of forms and styles. His opus can be broadly divided into four periods: early “neoclassical” period of the 1950s, exhibiting close ties to tradition; avant-garde and constructivist stage of the 1960s, where he experimented withserial techniques, but abandoned them in the 1960s; “neo-romantic” period of the late 1960s and the 1970s; it gradually blended into an eclectic, “post-modern” compositional style where he blended a wide spectrum of stylistic techniques and genres.[5][6] A recurring label given to his opus is “mysticism”, for his fascination with metaphysical and religious subjects and texts.[5][6][1] (Several of his works have titles which allude to angels.[7])

His compositions include eight symphonies, 14 concertos, choral works (several for unaccompanied choir, including Vigilia (1971–1972)), sonatasfor various instruments, string quartets and other chamber music, and a number of biographical operas including Vincent (1986–1987, based on the life of Vincent van Gogh), Aleksis Kivi (1995–1996) and Rasputin (2001–2003)  Full Biography

What I listened to ………

As I read and did some things around the house this morning I listened to two of Rautavaara’s Symphonies # 3 “Manhattan Trilogy” and #8 “The Journey:”. I enjoyed them both and I am looking forward to exploring more of his symphonies. I am listening to a violin concerto.

Here is a movement from both Symphonies #3 and #8 by Einojuhani Rautavaara


Featured Image Einojuhanni Rautavaara from Wikipedia by Clestur