Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Tommi Hakala, Markus Nieminen, Einojuhani Rautavaara|
Rautavaara: The House of the Sun
Listen to Samples
In a word....touching!!
Gowdie | New York | 07/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Einojuhani Rautavaara's "The House of the Sun" is one of the more touching operas written within the last 20 years. It is loosely based on the lives of two twin sisters who lived in a rather unique form of obscurity in Finland ever since their family members died one by one until the two were left to live on their own.
Having no idea how manage, they simply carried on as if nothing had changed, having virtually no contact with the outside world, until 1987 when they were both found dead at home due to hypothermia.
On it's own, this may not be much of a story, but Rautavaara saw it in something that inspired him to add a lot more elements, a twist here and a change there so that there was something that lent itself beutifully to the operatic expression.
Perhaps the most moving moment in this opera is near the end when the elderly twins discover that the power in their home has been turned off. Suddenly, they see a bright distant light in their garden which they've seen throughout the opera. But this time, from the light appears the twins themselves in their teens, telling their older selves "O aika-on aika lähteä":"It is time- It is time to go". The implication of their fate is all too clear (especialy as the orchestra plays the musical equivelent of a loving hug). The opera ends with the sisters along with their previously deceased family members dancing a slow polonaise into the light.
Personally, I was brought to tears at this point. It showed the value of people's mortality and how one's scary, yet soothing travel from life to death can be. For me, it depicted some form of comfort from the troubles of uncertain fate.
Not only is Rautavaara's story very touching, the music has a general warmth that fits it as well. Both dramaticaly, musicaly and even with humor, Rautavaara is brilliant at using musical motives and many other elements that are used in a subtile manner throughout the opera. It never sounds always the same and it provides a great variety that works beutifully with the story.
I confess that I know none of the singers in this recording, but I certainly enjoyed what I heard. Finland certainly does well in the vocal department.
The young conductor Mikko Franck along with the Oulo Symphony Orchestra are also at the top of their game here. Some of the most lovely smooth string playing I ever heard.
In short, Einojuhani Rautavaara's "The House of the Sun" is really a beutiful work, particularly for those of us who are looking for some kind of epiphany within the uncertain aspects of life. This work deserves to heard everywhere."
Interesting, lovely music; great opera!
Damir Janigro | Cleveland Hts., OH USA | 01/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am not a big fan of modern music with old themes, explored tonal tricks and romantic undertones, but this is different. Is it because Finnish is such a musical language? O because of the unusual setting of the plot? These two sisters living at the interface of past and present are perfectly matched by the music, the singing is pitch and character perfect. All falls in place and the surprise, albeit very few, are so ... Scandinavian, that one cannot help but think of Bergman, of cold weather, Russia and Finland. I agree with another reviewer that this is not "new music", but it is not meant to be. It is refreshing and perhaps even more modern because there is courage in writing this piece in times of turmoil and minimalism!"