EINOJUHANI RAUTAVAARA (b.1928): The Mine.
Catalogue Number: 03M082
Reference: ODE 1174-2
Description: Described by the composer as 'perhaps [his] best opera', The Mine was written some 50 years ago, but had the misfortune to deal with a politically sensitive subject at the time of Soviet influence on Finnish cultural life, and was sidelined as a result. The action is based on an incident from an Hungarian uprising during which some miners were besieged in the claustrophobic confines of a mine. Rautavaara's libretto, though, emphasises the personal choices of individual characters in extremis, rather than making a more global political statement. The work is dodecaphonic, written under the influence of Wladimir Vogel and Schoenberg (whose Moses und Aron the composer had recently seen); nonetheless the piece is far closer to the Berg of Wozzeck than to Schoenbergian rigor (and it has a more dramatically successful structure than Schoenberg's wonderful but un-operatic opera - it is in fact a real 'page-turner' with a gripping narrative momentum which belies its uncompromising compositional technique). Even at this early stage, the warmth and humanity of Rautavaara's idiom are clearly apparent, and the 'borrowed' stylistic elements, described as 'props' by the composer, as dictated by the story line (jazz, a suggestion of church music) add to the music's communicative directness. Finnish-English libretto. Johanna Rusanen-Kartano (soprano), Hannu Niemelä, Jorma Hynninen (baritones), Kaivos Chorus, Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra; Hannu Lintu.