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Penguin Guide, January 2009

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Hannu Koivula are vividly recorded and have impressive body and refinement, and, while this does not displace the BIS version of Angels and Visitations, which offers two couplings, for those unwilling to take the outlay, this Naxos performance offers a very desirable three-star alternative, including a fine performance of the Seventh Symphony.



Jack Sullivan
American Record Guide, August 2003

"Naxos continues its splendid Rautavaara series with this recording of two works from this popular composer's "Angel" cycle...In reviewing the Scottish National Orchestra's Cantus Articus, Piano Concerto 1, and symphony 3 (J/A 1999), I wrote of the "languid ecstasy" of its playing, so appropriate for this composer. We get the same quality here, reinforced by Naxos's warm, blended, not-too-forward sound: listen to the floating horns, suave trombones, and sighing strings in the symphony. But we also get inhibited explosiveness in Angels and Visitations, making this an excellent disc for those curious about both sides of Rautavaara's sensibility."



Pierre Ruhe
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 2003

"Don't be turned off by the gauzy, New Age imagery of Einojuhani Rautavaara's titles. The Finnish composer, born in 1928, has written music that covers the postmodern world, drawing on Anton Bruckner, Jean Sibelius, liturgical chant and the atonal moderns. Since 1978, he's been working on an "angel series," tapping what he calls "revelations experienced through dreams during childhood" --- a sort of psychological visitation in music, with further inspiration from poet Rainer Maria Rilke. These are just labels and explanations, of course, and all that matters to the listener is the music.

This new Naxos CD, superbly played by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and conductor Hannu Koivula, shows both ends of Rautavaara's latest style­KThe 20-minute "Angels and Visitations," is entirely remarkable, and well worth the price of the disc: It is haunting music, with moments of spiritual uplift and folk-inspired earthiness. The full orchestra makes a mighty rumble, or traces figures so delicate you're drawn to play it over and again.



Andrew Achenbach
Gramophone, April 2003

"Angel of Light is akin to a mythic, timeless dreamscape attaining blissful heights in the slow movement and finale. Koivula has the measure of Rautavaara's resonant inspiration, and the RSNO seem to enjoy the experience."



Egon Bezold
STEREO, April 2003

"Den Routiniers vom Royal Scottish National Orchestra unter dem souveran lotsenden Hannu Koivula gehen diese fantasievollen Werke glanzend von den Instrumenten. Eine niveauvolle Low-Budget-Aufnahme die sich hinter der Einspielung von Leif Segerstam mit dem Helsinki Philharmonik Orchestra nicht zu verstecken braucht."



Robert Layton
BBC Music Magazine, February 2003

"Hannu Koivula holds the piece together well and gets a keen response from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the sound has impressive definition and range. This is thoroughly recommendable."



Terry Barfoot
MusicWeb International

"Both pieces featured here are substantial compositions, playing for 35 and 20 minutes respectively. This is the first performance to come from an orchestra outside Finland and the first to come at bargain price. The expressive range is wide, with some impressive music for brass and percussion as well as passages atmospherically relying upon the strings. With splendid playing and good recorded sound, this can receive a confident recommendation."



Terry Barfoot
MusicWeb International

"The Naxos version stands up well to this strong competition. The conducting of Hannu Koivula captures the mysticism of the musical language, while he also has a real grip on the structure. As we would expect, the Scottish orchestra acquits itself with distinction and the recorded sound is very good, enabling their playing to shine.

With splendid playing and good recorded sound, this like the Symphony can receive a confident recommendation."






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10:37:21 PM, 30 October 2014
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