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The Sound of Finnish Angels Musical Signification in Five Instrumental Compositions by Einojuhani Rautavaara

by Wojciech Stepien

Part of the Interplay Series

The Sound of Finnish Angels Musical Signification in Five Instrumental Compositions by Einojuhani Rautavaara Synopsis

In music of the past, angels have generally been examined either in the context of musica coelestis or as actors in great vocal-instrumental scores. Instrumental compositions referring to angels were rare, limited mainly to some works by Tartini, Berg, Hindemith, Crumb, and Messiaen. The series of instrumental works with titles referring to angels created by the Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara (b. 1928) therefore seems unique. Wojciech Stepien's interdisciplinary study provides an in-depth analysis and cultural contextualization of five of Rautavaara's instrumental works: the orchestral overture Angels and Visitations (1978), the Double Bass Concerto Angel of Dusk (1980), Playgrounds for Angels for brass ensemble (1981), the Seventh Symphony Angel of Light (1994), and the movement Archangel Michael Fighting against Antichrist from the piano suite Icons (1955) and its later orchestral elaboration in Before the Icons (2006). Stepien focuses on three central questions: On what means can a beholder rely to ascertain an angelic presence in an instrumental context? What markers does Rautavaara employ for his intended representation of angels? And what personal and perhaps idiosyncratic concept of the angel informs their musical incarnation in Rautavaara's works? Stepien's book is not only the first comprehensive study of the topic of angels in music but also the first to explore Rautavaara's mystical aesthetics and philosophy.

Book Information

ISBN: 9781576471715
Publication date: 3rd September 2011
Author: Wojciech Stepien
Publisher: Pendragon Press
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 284 pages
Categories: Music,

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