Einojuhani Rautavaara
The 8 Symphonies

Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra
National Orchestra of Belgium
Mikko Franck, conductor
Max Pommer, conductor
Leif Segerstam, conductor

Finnish contemporary



Boxed set of 4 CDs; booklet with liner notes in English and Finnish


February 2009 (Finland)
March 2009 (internationally)

Catalogue No.:
ODE 1145-2Q


Track listing

CD 1 49:04
Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-2016)
Symphony No. 1 (1956/1988/2003) 27:31
1 I. Andante 15:44
2 II. Poetico 7:40
3 III. Allegro 4:08
Symphony No. 2 (1957/1984) 21:21
4 I. Quasi grave 9:56
5 II. Vivace 2:39
6 III. Largo 5:59
7 IV. Presto 2:49

CD 2 49:09
Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-2016)
Symphony No. 3 (1961) 32:22
1 I. Langsam, breit, ruhig 12:20
2 II. Langsam, doch nicht schleppend 6:35
3 III. Sehr schnell 6:05
4 IV. Bewegt 7:23
Symphony No. 4 "Arabescata" (1962) 16:35
5 Arabescata I 3:12
6 Arabescata II: Quadratus - Zigzag - Figurae - Dedicatio - Rotatus 5:02
7 Arabescata III 3:00
8 Arabescata IV 5:22

CD 3 73:43
Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-2016)
1 Symphony No. 5 (1986) 31:36
Symphony No. 6 "Vincentiana" (1992) 41:56
2 I. Starry Night 19:29
3 II. The Crows 6:15
4 III. Saint-Rémy 7:50
5 IV. Apotheosis 8:22

CD 4 67:10
Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928-2016)
Symphony No. 7 "Angel of Light" (1994) 37:53
1 I. Tranquillo 12:06
2 II. Molto allegro 5:52
3 III. Come un sogno 10:16
4 IV. Pesante - cantabile 9:40
Symphony No. 8 "The Journey" (1999) 29:07
5 I. Adagio assai 11:29
6 II. Feroce 3:04
7 III. Tranquillo 6:00
8 IV. Con grandezza 8:35

Also recommended...


La Clef

Press review

Rautavaara is an expansive composer (...) The sheer beauty of his sound, of course, explains why these recordings were runaway sucesses when first released: there is not an ugly bar here.
Martin Anderson, Finnish Music Quarterly, 1/2009

Rautavaara weist, das zeigt diese empfehlenswerte Sinfonien-Zusammenstellung, einen Weg, der alte Formen mit frischen Gedanken zu füllen weiß. Dafür gilt dem Achtzigjährigen Hochachtung.
Tobias Pfleger,, April 26, 2009

With some 30 Rautavaara entries in the Ondine catalogue the composer has been done considerable justice by this gifted label. He must survey it with great pleasure - he certainly deserves to. This set provides a sure route to appreciate one of the grand voices of the last century. He speaks with eloquence and with the engaged rasp and embrace of originality. The music is lambent and Rautavaara's creative journey leads from dissonance to lyrical awe.
Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International, April 2009

Loin des querelles d'écoles et jalousies de chapelle, ces huit symphonies forment un tout qui prend sa place dans l'Histoire de la musique. A prix réduit, c'est évidement une belle affaire !
Pierre-Jean Tribot,, 31.3.2009, La Clef

You can purchase this set with complete confidence (...). All of the performances are very good to excellent, and so is the engineering. Go for it.
David Hurwitz,, March 11, 2009

This box of the transcendent composer's symphonies - easily one of the year's most important releases of classical music written in our time.

Complete description

Einojuhani Rautavaara may well be the most popular symphonist alive today. To celebrate his 80th birthday in 2008-2009, Ondine pays homage to its longtime house composer with the first-ever complete release of his eight symphonies in a 4-CD box set.

Rautavaara is recognized as one of the most notable Finnish composers after Jean Sibelius. He has often described symphonic music as "a journey through human life." Written between 1955 and 1999, the eight symphonies form a central pillar in Rautavaara's extensive artistic output and showcase the many stylistic periods in his fruitful career. They are hauntingly accessible to the listener and have proven wide audience appeal; the Seventh Symphony, "Angel of Light" (1994), became a best-seller and spurred Rautavaara to considerable international fame (including a GRAMMY nomination; ODE 869-2), leading The Philadelphia Orchestra to commission the Eighth Symphony, "The Journey" (1999), for their centenary celebrations.

These recordings were produced in collaboration with the composer between 1990 and 2005. They have been previously released by Ondine to international popular and critical acclaim. The recordings feature:

  • Mikko Franck conducting the National Orchestra of Belgium (Symphony No. 1 in its final 2003 version; originally released on hybrid SACD as ODE 1064-5),
  • Max Pommer leading the Leipzig RSO (Nos. 2–5; ODE 740-2 and ODE 747-2) and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (No. 6; ODE 819-2),
  • Leif Segerstam conducting the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (No. 7 & 8; ODE 869-2 and ODE 978-2).