Einojuhani Rautavaara

Einojuhani Rautavaara

Einojuhani Rautavaara (Audio|Fi-Einojuhani_Rautavaara.ogg|pronunciation) (born October 9, 1928) is a Finnish composer of contemporary classical music, and is probably the best-known Finnish composer after Jean Sibelius.


Rautavaara was born in Helsinki and studied at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki under Aarre Merikanto from 1948 to 1952 before Jean Sibelius recommended him for a scholarship to study at the Juilliard School in New York City. There he was taught by Vincent Persichetti, and he also took lessons from Roger Sessions and Aaron Copland at Tanglewood. He first came to international attention when he won the Thor Johnson Contest for his composition "A Requiem in Our Time" in 1954.

Rautavaara served as a non-tenured teacher at the Sibelius Academy from 1957 to 1959, music archivist of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra from 1959 to 1961, rector of the Käpylä Music Institute in Helsinki from 1965 to 1966, tenured teacher at the Sibelius Academy from 1966 to 1976, artist professor (appointed by the Arts Council of Finland) from 1971 to 1976, and professor of composition at the Sibelius Academy from 1976 to 1990.

Rautavaara had a serious seizure at the beginning of 2004 but has since recovered.


Rautavaara is a prolific composer and has written in a variety of forms and styles. Much of his work is quite accessible and has proved to be quite popular. He experimented with serial techniques in his early career but left them behind in the 1960s and even his serial works are not obviously serial. His third symphony, for example, uses such techniques, but sounds more like Anton Bruckner than it does a more traditional serialist such as Pierre Boulez. His later works often have a mystical element (such as in several works with titles making reference to angels). A characteristic 'Rautavaara sound' might be a rhapsodic string theme of austere beauty, with whirling flute lines, gently dissonant bells, and perhaps the suggestion of a pastoral horn.

His compositions include eight symphonies, several concertos, choral works (several for unaccompanied choir, including "Vigilia" (1971–1972)), sonatas for 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). A number of his works have parts for magnetic tape, including "Cantus Arcticus" (1972, also known as "Concerto for Birds & Orchestra") for taped bird song and orchestra, and "True and False Unicorn" (1971, second version 1974, revised 2001–02), the final version of which is for three reciters, choir, orchestra and tape.

His latest works include orchestral works "Book of Visions" (2003–2005), "Manhattan Trilogy" (2003–2005) and "Before the Icons" (2005) which is an expanded version of his early piano work "Icons". In 2005 he finished a work for violin and piano called "Lost Landscapes", commissioned by the violinist Midori Goto. A new orchestral work, "A Tapestry of Life", will be premiered by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in April 2008, directed by Pietari Inkinen.

Many of Rautavaara's works have been recorded, with a performance of his seventh symphony, "Angel of Light" (1995), by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leif Segerstam on the Ondine label, being a particular critical and popular success - it was nominated for several awards, including a Grammy.

Almost all of Rautavaara's works have been recorded by Ondine.Some of his major works have also been recorded by Naxos.

Currently Rautavaara is working on a large-scale opera based on texts by Federico García Lorca.



*"Thomas" (1982–1985)
*"Vincent" (1986–1987)
*"The House of the Sun (Auringon talo)", chamber opera (1989–1990)
*"The Gift of the Magi (Tietäjien lahja)", chamber opera (1993–1994)
*"Aleksis Kivi" (1995–1996)
*"Rasputin" (2001–2003)


*Symphony No. 1 (1956/1988/2003)
*Symphony No. 2: "Sinfonia intima" (1957/1984)
*Symphony No. 3 (1961)
*Symphony No. 4: "Arabescata" (1962)
*Symphony No. 5 (1985-1986)
*Symphony No. 6: "Vincentiana" (1992)
*Symphony No. 7: "Angel of Light" (1994)
*Symphony No. 8: "The Journey" (1999)


* Piano Concertos:
** Piano Concerto No. 1 (1969)
** Piano Concerto No. 2 (1989)
** Piano Concerto No. 3: "Gift of Dreams" (1998)
* Violin Concerto (1976–1977)
* Cello Concerto (1968)
* Double Bass Concerto: "Angel of Dusk" (1980)
* Flute Concerto: "Dances with the Winds" (1973)
* Clarinet Concerto (2001)
* Harp Concerto (2000)
* Organ Concerto: "Annunciations" (1976–1977)

Choral Orchestral

* Concerto for Soprano, Choir and Orchestra: "Daughter of the Sea (Meren tytär)" (1971)
* "Children's Mass (Lapsimessu)", for children's choir and orchestra (1973)
* "On the Last Frontier", fantasy for chorus and orchestra (1997)

Other Orchestral Works

*"Anadyomene: Adoration of Aphrodite" (1968)
*"Cantus Arcticus" (1972)
*"Angels and Visitations" (1978)
*"Isle of Bliss (Lintukoto)" (1995)
*"Autumn Gardens" (1999)
*"Garden of Spaces (Regular Sets of Elements in a Semi-Regular Situation)" (1971; orch. 2003)
*"Book of Visions" (2003–2005)
*"Manhattan Trilogy" (2003–2005)
*"Before the Icons" (2005)
*"A Tapestry of Life" (2007)

tring Orchestra

* "The Fiddlers (Pelimannit)" (1952/1972)
*"Suite for Strings" (1952)
*"Divertimento" (1953)
*"An Epitaph for Bela Bartok" (1955/1986)
*"Canto I" (1960)
*"Canto II" (1961)
*"Canto III" (1972)
*"Canto IV" (1992)
*"Ballade for harp and strings" (1973/1981)
*"Hommage à Kodaly Zoltan" (1982)
*"Hommage à Liszt Ferenc" (1989)
*"A Finnish Myth"
*"Ostrobothnian Polska"

Brass Band

* "A Requiem in our Time" (1953)
* "A Military Mass (Sotilasmessu)" (1968)
* "Playgrounds for Angels" (2000)


*String Quartets:
**String Quartet No. 1 (1952)
**String Quartet No. 2 (1958)
**String Quartet No. 3 (1965)
**String Quartet No. 4 (1975)
*Wind Octet (1962)
*Clarinet Sonata (1969)
*Cello Sonatas:
**Cello Sonata No. 1 (1972–1973/2001)
**Cello Sonata No. 2 (1991)
*"Ballad", for harp and strings (1973/1981)
*Sonata for Flute and Guitar (1975)
*"Serenades of the Unicorn", for guitar (1977)
*"Monologues of the Unicorn", for guitar (1980)
*String Quintet: "Unknown Heavens" (1997)
*"Hymnus", for trumpet and organ (1998)
*"Lost Landscapes", for violin and piano (2005)
*"April Lines", for violin and piano (2007 [?] )
*"Summer Thoughts", for violin and piano (2008 [?] )


*"Three Symmetrical Preludes", (1949-50)
*"Icons", Op. 6 (1955)
*"Preludes", Op. 7 (1956)
*"Partita", Op. 34 (1956–8)
*"Etudes", Op. 42 (1969)
*Piano Sonatas:
**Piano Sonata No. 1: "Christus und die Fischer", Op. 50 (1969)
**Piano Sonata No. 2: "The Fire Sermon", Op. 64 (1970)
*"Music for Upright Piano" (1976)
*"Second Music for Upright Piano" (1976)
*"Narcissus" (2002)
*"Passionale" (2003)


* "Ludus verbalis", motet for declamatory choir (1960)
* "Praktisch Deutsch", motet for declamatory choir (1969)
* "True & False Unicorn", cantata (1971/2000)
* "All-Night Vigil (Vigilia)", for chorus and soloists (1971–1972/1996)
* "Book of Life (Elämän kirja)", choral suite (1972)
* "Lorca Suite", for mixed or children's choir (1973)
* "The Bride (Morsian)", choral song (1975)
* "The Departure (Lähtö)", choral song (1975)
* "Summer Night (Sommarnatten)", choral song (1975)
* "Magnificat", choral mass (1979)
* "Nirvana Dharma", for chorus, soprano, and flute (1979)
* "The Cathedral (Katedralen)", for chorus and soloists (1982)
* "Legenda", for male choir (1985)
* "Cancion de nuestro tiempo", choral suite (1993)
* "Die erste Elegie", choral song (1993)
* "With the Joy We Go Dancing (Och glädjen den dansar)", choral song (1993)
* "In the Shade of the Willow (Halavan himmeän alla)", choral song (1998)


* "Three Sonnets of Shakespeare" (1951/2005)
* "Sacred Feasts (Pyhiä päiviä)" (1953)
* "Five Sonnets to Orpheus" (1955–56/1960)
* "Die Liebenden" (1958–1959/1964)
* "God's Way (Guds väg)" (1964/2003)
* "The Trip (Matka)" (1977)
* "Dream World (Maailman uneen)" (1972–1982)
* "In my Lover's Garden (I min älsklings trädgård)" (1983–87)

External links

* [http://www.fimic.fi/fimic/fimic.nsf/mainframe?readform&E10A607D4DE50BABC22568BF00282A6D CV] and [http://www.fimic.fi/fimic/fimic.nsf/mainframe?readform&0F04533F2372A89A422566E90033EAF4 list of works] from the Finnish Music Information Centre
* [http://www.fennicagehrman.fi/comp_rautavaara.htm Fennica Gehrman home page]
* [http://www.boosey.com/pages/cr/composer/composer_main.asp?composerid=2757 Home page at Boosey & Hawkes]
*Home page at Ondine Records
* [http://virtual.finland.fi/netcomm/news/showarticle.asp?intNWSAID=26170 Biographical sketch at Virtual Finland, produced by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland]

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