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The Czech Bohuslav Martinů and the Finn Einojuhani Rautavaara may not seem to have much in common, but both have adopted an attitude free of musical puritanism, constantly finding new sources of inspiration which they explored without taboos.
Explaining the heterogeneity of his musical language over the years, Rautavaara stated that, as a Finn, he stands ‘between East and West, between the tundra and Europe, between Lutheran and Orthodox faith’. Premiered in 1999, his Piano Concerto No. 3 has managed to join the small group of late twentieth-century concertos that are now part of the repertoire. Its subtitle, ‘Gift of Dreams’, seems to describe perfectly the character of the music in the first two movements, before a finale that exhibits a more driven, anxious manner.
Eclectic, prolific and capable of composing in all genres, Bohuslav Martinů is nevertheless a composer who is difficult to categorise and the word that seems to best suit his music is ‘cosmopolitan’. The Piano Concerto No. 3 shares many features with the Romantic concerto and recalls both Brahms and Stravinsky. Reflecting the tragic events in Prague at the time of its composition, the concerto ends in a macabre dance and appears as a defiant, almost belligerent gesture.
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