Two of Sibelius’ protégés: Leevi Madetoja (1887-1947) and Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928–2016). Madetoja actually studied with Sibelius for two years between 1908 and 1910 (not a great success – rather like Haydn and Beethoven – their sessions were sporadic and Sibelius wasn’t a natural teacher). Sibelius’ support of Rautavaara was less significant, consisting mainly of a recommendation to fund a state scholarship for Rautavaara to study in the Juilliard School in New York, which the young composer duly received.
All three of Madetoja’s symphonies are worthy of attention. The first was a significant success, and the second – a darker work over which the Finnish civil war of 1918, with its personal losses (his brother) and national tragedy, cast its shadow – was hailed as an equal to the symphonic works of Sibelius
After the threnodic second symphony, the third with its generally optimistic, pastoral nature comes as something of a surprise:
Symphony No. 3 in A
Allegro (non troppo) [15:25]
Finale. Pesante, tempo moderato [24:24]
Rautavaara is a composer who, unlike Sibelius, managed to reinvent himself, adapting to the changing musical ‘isms’ of the twentieth century (neoclassical, serial, romantic, mystic). The Seventh is his penultimate symphony and part of a series of works based around the Duino Elegies of Rainer Maria Rilke:
Wer, wenn ich schriee, hörte mich denn aus der Engel Ordnungen?
… Ein jeder Engel ist schrecklich
[If I cried out, who heard me from among the angelic orders?
… Every angel is terrifying]
Symphony No. 7
Angel of Light
12:07 Molto allegro
17:59 Come un sogno
28:15 Pesante, Cantabile
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