Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Jeremy Nicholas
Gramophone, January 2017

Vaughan Williams uses a wind machine and a wordless women’s chorus to help summon the Antarctic frozen wastes; here, in a work subtitled ‘Concerto for Birds and Orchestra’, Rautavaara evokes the Arctic using recordings of birds made in Finland, near the Arctic Circle. Set against an orchestral backdrop, their cries summon up bleak and desolate frozen wastes, making you want to pull on an extra layer in this spellbinding account under Finnish conductor Lintu. © 2017 Gramophone

Jean-Yves Duperron
Classical Music Sentinel, October 2009

This Finnish composer is a great example of a modern composer who is definitely not a modernist, but writes music that is mostly romantic in style. Most of his music has been inspired by nature in his native country, with touches of mysticism and grandeur.

The symphony for example has moments of quasi-Brucknerian scope, but the writing is much more fluid and linear in structure. There is a very natural flow to the development of his ideas and everything seems to be connected by a long thread from beginning to end. The Cantus Arcticus is somewhat like a Concerto for Birds and Orchestra. The use within the work of sounds of wild birds from the arctic circle is very effective. The use of woodwinds for example at certain moments creates the sense that the birds and orchestra are one. The mystical connection between man and nature is very well represented in this ingenious work.

If you want to explore a modern composer that communicates well and speaks our language, then you must try this fine recording of some of his major works.

Penguin Guide, January 2009

The Cantus arcticus (1972) uses taped Arctic bird-cries against an evocative orchestral background. The Third Symphony (1959–60) has genuine breadth and space. Rautavaara speaks of it as being ‘freely constructed and emphatically tonal’. It has a strong feeling for nature. The later Piano Concerto No. 1 (1969) has a certain neo-romantic feel to it. Laura Mikkola is a fervent exponent of it, and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Hannu Lintu play with real commitment and are well recorded.

Walter Simmons
Fanfare, November 1999

The Finnish Einojuhani Rautavaara is one of the strongest, most wide-ranging compositional voices of our time. Naxos has released a fine sample…of his more accessible works, at a price low enough to make this a can’t-lose opportunity for all curious listeners who have yet to discover this fascinating creative figure. © 1999 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

Brian Hick
Musical Opinion, March 1999

"The Third Symphony may technically be an atonal work but the listener would be hard put to realise it. Its dramatic writing and intense lyrical passages make it accessible on first hearing though this should not suggest it is an easy work either aurally or structurally. The third movement, Sehr schnell, has a ferocity and intensity in the writing which sweeps us into the final Bewegt's Brucknerian immensity.

This is a very valuable addition to the growing collection of Rautavaara's available to us and may continue to encourage more live performances of his works following the recent Hampstead & Highgate Festival and 1999 Prom concerts which brought the composer to England twice this Summer."

David Hurwitz

"The performances are fully as fine as any available, and the sound is unobtrusively excellent."

Marco del Vaglio

"...the pianist Laura Mikkola is exceptional and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by Hannu Lintu, play with cohesion and a versatility matched by few orchestras anywhere."

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group