Engaging with Rautavaara

James Burton and his chamber choir rise to the challenge of Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara’s richly textured choral music

Composer: Rautavaara
Repertoire: Choral Works
Artists: Schola Cantorum of Oxford/James Burton
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Vocal
Label: Hyperion CDA 67787

Poetic imagery and textual ambiguities provide strong imaginative sparks for Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara’s choral music, demanding deep engagement with words and their expression in performance. The point is not lost on Burton and his chamber choir; their commitment to the works on this disc is absolute. It needs to be, given the challenges posed by the Canción de nuestro tiempo, the longer and most affecting of two settings of Lorca poetry offered here. Although I would favour greater warmth and tonal richness in this repertoire, Schola Cantorum’s young voices offer considerable compensations in the accuracy department.