Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

David Vernier, August 2016

This is an essential collection of Rautavaara’s choral music covering a period of nearly 50 years, from 12-tone experimentation in the 1960s to the highly individualistic tonal style he developed during the 1970s. Interestingly, even in the serial stuff Rautavaara somehow sidesteps the most off-putting angular, edgy, ambiguous features so highly prized by the 1960s-’70s avant-garde crowd; the 12-tone works presented here are actually listenable as “real” music, not just as academic exercises.

Sigvards Klava’s Latvian Radio Choir is the ideal advocate for this music… Highly recommended. Don’t miss it. © 2016 Read complete review

John Quinn
MusicWeb International, October 2013

The Credo is a fine piece in its own right and I particularly warmed to the reflective, slow music for the ‘Et incarnates…Crucifixus’ sections. There’s interesting and effective music in the Kyrie and Gloria: I particularly like the way that a pair of solo sopranos soar over the ear-tickling choral textures in the Kyrie. The Sanctus is expansive and in this movement there are expressive solos for baritone and soprano before an extended, lyrical and increasingly high-lying tenor solo. All these solos are well taken by choir members. The Agnus Dei is especially memorable…This is a hushed and gentle yet intense movement and it’s very beautiful. This eloquent Mass, beautifully written for voices, is a superb and important addition to the contemporary choral repertory and it here receives a terrific performance.

The programme began with one very impressive piece, the Missa a cappella, and ends with another, the Rilke setting, Die erste Elegie. This is a powerful, searching piece, richly imagined for voices. Like everything else on the disc it’s sung marvellously and with great commitment by the Latvian choir and when, from time to time, a short solo passage emerges from the choral texture these solos are very well taken.

The Latvian Radio Choir…sing formidably under Sigvards Kļava…The depth of tone is such that frequently one could believe that one is hearing a larger ensemble. The tonal quality of the choir is marvellous, whether they are singing softly or loudly…all admirers of this composer will surely want to have this splendid recording of his new Mass and anyone else who is interested in the choral music of our time should hear it also. The booklet is useful and the recorded sound is splendid. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Guy Engels
Pizzicato, October 2013

The mystic element is an essential part in Einojuhani Rautavaara’s music and particularly in his spiritual works. The Latvian Radio Choir develops a very intense, expressive and ethereal-floating sound, giving the music a significant depth and a strong meditative atmosphere. © Pizzicato

Steven Ritter
Audiophile Audition, October 2013

This is the kind of album that makes you glad you love choral music.

Missa a Capella…is a gorgeous addition to the liturgical repertory…

Missa dudecanonica and Ave Maria…are serene and beautiful. All of these pieces are full of pastel-like sounds and glorious penetrative beauties.

The choral performances are superb, the Latvians singing the music of their Northern cousins with grace and finesse. Sound is excellent, clear, and very warm… © 2013 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

Ronni Reich, July 2013

Contemporary Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara has made vital contributions to choral music, and the Latvian Radio Choir under Sigvards Klava serves his work admirably. In the harmonically rich title piece, he begins with a fascinating and unusually animated Kyrie, with voices pulsating to make a beat. Clarion lines for sopranos and tenors give due weight to the Gloria. In the Credo and Sanctus, the composer intriguingly juxtaposes towering unison passages with spare solos. Also worth hearing is “Die erste Elegie,” set to words by Rainer Maria Rilke, in which Rautavaara employs evocative text painting, with the choir reaching a glorious summit as they sing of music as the most potent palliative to suffering. Under Klava’s hand, their blend is superb, with plenty of inner voice sound, and final cut-offs are so smooth they sound ironed. © 2013 Read complete review, July 2013

The Latvian Radio Choir under Sigvards Klava is a very fine ensemble indeed, smooth and polished and expressive throughout [Missa a cappella] and the others here: Psalm of Invocation; Evening Hymn; the very interestingly structured Missa duodecanonica; the heartfelt Ave Maria, gratia plena and equally expressive Canticum Maria Virginis; Our Joyful’st Feast; and Die erste Elegie… © 2013 Read complete review

Daniel Stephen Johnson
WQXR (New York), July 2013

A composer who wields symphonic forces with the ease of Einojuhani Rautavaara would seem to be sacrificing a great deal by restricting himself to voices alone, but a new collection of his works, just released on the Finnish label Ondine, is a satisfying listen. This is partly thanks to the integrity of the meticulously worked material, partly thanks to the wealth of colors Rautavaara is able to elicit from unaccompanied singers, such as the sensational glissandi of the Psalm of Invocation.

It’s also because the Latvian Radio Choir, under the leadership of Sigvards Kļava, brings symphonic oomph to the material, with a trombone-like low end and solid sopranos.

Rautavaara’s style here ranges from the richly sensual to the monastically pure, but however he approaches it, material is unfailingly lovely and solidly built. © 2013 WQXR (New York) Read complete review

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group