This installment of the Consonant Classical Challenge features a prominent composer, Einojuhani Rautavaara. This Finnish composer's music has been often performed and recorded (especially in Europe), although he's not too well-known to American audiences.
Considered to be the creative heir to Jean Sibelius, Rautavaara has grown into the role as his style's matured. His first works were serial compositions, but as time went on Rautavaara became more interested in traditional chordal structures (if not necessarily harmonic motions).
Rautavaara's later (and more popular) works blend austere melody with lush harmonies to create music that conjures up the frozen landscape of Finland.
This excerpt from his seventh symphony, "Angel of Light" is a good example of Rautavaara's mature style. Note the richness of the orchestral ensemble.
Rautavaara's written eight symphonies, several concertos and many shorter works for orchestra.
His concertos don't contain showy fireworks, they still challenge the soloist and provide substantial music for the audience to listen to. This is from Rautavaara's third piano concerto.
There are some composers you can always count on orchestras programming: Brahms, Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky. Wouldn't it be nice if Rautavaara could be added to that list?
Rautavaara: Cantus Articus; Piano Concerto; Symphony No. 3
Rautavaara: Angel of Light
Rautavaara: Violin Concerto; Angels and Visitations; Isle of Bliss