Schola Cantorum of Oxford / James Burton

Rautavaara: Choral Music

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Rautavaara: Choral Music Review

by Stephen Eddins

Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara claims never to have set out to be a choral composer, but he has created a substantial body of works for chorus, including several important large pieces. This disc gathers some of his smaller works and cycles, a mix of some of his most frequently performed work and some relative rarities. While all are composed with great skill and sensitivity, some stand out for the abundance of their lyricism, harmonic richness, and fecund inventiveness. The four-movement Suite de Lorca is among the composer's most frequently performed works, as well as one of the most popular of all Finnish choral works, and rightly so. Each movement is a powerfully expressive little jewel. The three songs of Canción de nuestro tiempo, also to texts by Lorca, are longer pieces. Their inventiveness puts them in the same transcendent league as Suite de Lorca, and they are even more generously melodic. Soloist Lucy Page's bright soprano radiantly soars over the choir. Canticum Mariae virginis is another standout, gently luminous, quietly ecstatic. Schola Cantorum of Oxford, a mixed choir led by James Burton, sings with warm, full tone, and an impressive blend, and manages Rautavaara's daunting demands with discipline and apparent ease. Hyperion's sound is warm but clean, and nicely balanced. This is an album that should appeal to fans of lyrical new choral music.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Suite de Lorca
1 James Burton / Schola Cantorum of Oxford 01:02 Amazon
2 James Burton / Schola Cantorum of Oxford 01:50 Amazon
3 James Burton / Schola Cantorum of Oxford 01:46 Amazon
4 James Burton / Schola Cantorum of Oxford 01:17 Amazon
Canción de nuestro tiempo
5 James Burton / Schola Cantorum of Oxford 04:20 Amazon
6 James Burton / Schola Cantorum of Oxford 04:21 Amazon
7 James Burton / Schola Cantorum of Oxford 06:47 Amazon
8 James Burton / Schola Cantorum of Oxford 07:58 Amazon
Magnificat
9 James Burton / Schola Cantorum of Oxford 04:41 Amazon
10 James Burton / Schola Cantorum of Oxford 04:19 Amazon
11 James Burton / Schola Cantorum of Oxford 01:25 Amazon
12 James Burton / Schola Cantorum of Oxford 02:12 Amazon
13 James Burton / Schola Cantorum of Oxford 04:59 Amazon
14 James Burton / Schola Cantorum of Oxford 04:41 Amazon
Halavan himmeän alla (In the shade of the willow)
15 James Burton / Schola Cantorum of Oxford 04:22 Amazon
16 James Burton / Schola Cantorum of Oxford 03:04 Amazon
17 James Burton / Schola Cantorum of Oxford 03:56 Amazon
18 James Burton / Schola Cantorum of Oxford 09:08 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick