Einojuhani Rautavaara's Music For Upright Piano. Commissioned by Radio Helsinki and dedicated to Ralf Gothoni.
In 1965, when Einojuhani Rautavaara was thirty-seven years old, he was awarded the prestigious Sibelius Prize, previously given to Stravinsky, Hindeman, Messaien, Britten, Shostakovitch and Lutoslawski. A member of one of Finland's most important musical families (comparable to the Casadesus family) Rautavaara first attracted public acclaim in 1954 with 'Requiem In Our Time'. Following his studies at Helsinki university and the Sibelius Academy, Rautavaara held scholarships at Juilliard, Tanglewood and Cologne. In 1971 he was appointed State Professor of Fine Arts and in 1976 joined the faculty of the Sibelius Academy as Professor of Composition. He was elected to the Swedish Royal Academy and is a member of the Board of the Society of Finnish Composers.
Rautavaara's earliest compositions were influenced by folk music, Bartok, Stravinsky and Prokofiev; later he embraced serialism. The 'Second String Quartet', an Opera, 'The Mine' and 'Symphony No. 3', which pays homage to Bruckner and Berg, belong to this period. Around 1967 Rautavaara entered a third period rejecting atonality and reintroducing folk elements. His later works include 'True And False Unicorn' and 'The Water Circle' for Chorus and Ensemble; concertos for Cello, Violin, Piano and Soprano; a work for four Celli and Piano, 'Regular Sets Of Elements In Semi-Regular Situation'; a 'Concerto For Birds And Orchestra' (tape and Orchestra); a dramatic work, 'Apollon Contra Marsyas'; 'The Temptations' for Orchestra; and 'Dancing Helsinki', for four Saxophones and Orchestra.