Movement 1: Fragmentos de agonía Con la rueda, el aceite, el cuero y el martillo
Movement 2: Meditación primera y última El Tiempo
Movement 3: Ciudad sin sueño No duerme nadie por el cielo. Nadie, nadie
The first of the work’s three movements, Fragmentos de agonía (‘Fragments of agony’), shows the harsh, inhuman world of industrial society and war through surrealist poetic images. The mechanical ostinato progresses inexorably; the parallel with the opening of the Suite de Lorca, written two decades earlier to a text by the same poet, is clear. Finally, the moon rises (echoing another passage in the Suite de Lorca). The musical material here is derived from the same twelve-tone row as Rautavaara’s Seventh Symphony and Die erste Elegie.
Meditación primera y última (‘First and last meditation’) is built on a recurring Rautavaara device: a mid-range sound field with superimposed melodies. The material here is adapted from a scene in the opera Thomas, and Rautavaara later orchestrated it for his Eighth Symphony. The sound-field device appears in more organized form in Canticum Mariae virginis, and also in the more extensive Katedralen.
In Ciudad sin sueño (‘Sleepless city’), Rautavaara so strongly identified the powerful imagery of the poem with the then current situation in world politics that he subtitled the movement Nocturno del Sarajevo. The opening of the movement, with piercing cries over a steady pulsation, is very similar to that of Die erste Elegie. The melodic material in the soprano part progresses largely in parallel fourths and is flavoured with small glissandos. Despite the ‘nocturno’ character, there are passionate outbursts and powerful emotions in the music.
from notes by Jaakko Mäntyjärvi © 2010