Simone Lamsma recovers Rautavaara’s Lost Landscapes

This release features works written in the final years of Rautavaara’s life. In 2004 a ruptured blood vessel brought him near to death — and six months in the ICU. That experience changed the composer’s creative output. It affected the types of music he wrote and their emotional centers.

Violinist Simone Lamsma plays a selection of these late works for violin and orchestra. Her playing has an exceptionally fluid and luminous tone. Rautavaara’s music always has an ethereal quality to it. Lamsma embodies it in her performances.

This is especially true in the Two Serenades. Rautavaara left these pieces unfinished at the time of his death. In this composition, he revisits music from early in his career.

The music’s reinterpreted and given added emotional depth. And it’s colored with a hint of sadness. Rautavaara’s student Kavali Aho completed and orchestrated these serenades.

And they are ravishing. Lamsma’s playing is heartbreaking at times. Robert Trevino leads the Malmö Symphony Orchestra in some truly fine performances.

The title track, “Lost Landscapes” is an elegiac piece. Rautavaara recalls in music significant places that shaped him as a composer. Movements include musical portraits of Tanglewood; Ascona, where he studied 12-tone technique, his apartment in Vienna, and his home at West 23rd St in New York. And while the movements have a trace of nostalgia, there’s also a sense of saying goodbye.

I’m a fan of Rautavaara’s music, so of course, I loved this release. But if you have yet to experience his music, I recommend “Lost Landscapes.” It’s just gorgeous music full of honest emotion.

Einojuhani Rautavaara: Lost Landscapes
Works for Violin and Orchestra
Simone Lamsma, violin
Malmö Symphony Orchestra; Robert Trevino, conductor

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