The Austin Chronicle

Where in the World Is Einojuhani Rautavaara?

By Robert Faires, February 6, 2004, Arts

Quick, name a geographic region renowned for its choral music. What did you say? Germany? England? The Northeastern U.S.? Whatever it was, I'm willing to bet you didn't name the countries of the Baltic Sea. Unless, of course, you're Craig Hella Johnson, artistic director for the choir Conspirare, in which case you know what a rich repertoire of choral music may be found in this area of Europe and how its singular and compelling sound – at once spare and full, ancient and contemporary, contemplative and forceful – has spread across the globe and grown in popularity. That's why Johnson has elected to explore this choral hotbed in Cool Blue, the vocal ensemble's first concert of 2004. The concert features works by Estonian composers Arvo Pärt and Veljo Tormis, and Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, all of whom delve deeply into nature and mysticism in their music, frequently drawing on their countries' deep folk traditions for their melodies, and works by Norwegians Knut Nystedt and Trond Kverno, revered in their homeland as composers of contemporary sacred music. This is one cool concert that won't leave you feeling blue.

Three performances: Thursday, Feb. 5, 7:30pm, in the Ballroom of Bldg. A, Sun City Community Association, 2 Texas Dr., in Georgetown; Friday, Feb. 6, 8pm, at St. Martin's Lutheran Church, 606 W. 15th, in Austin; and Saturday, Feb. 7, 8pm, in the Smith Family Chapel of Riverbend Church, 4214 Capital of TX Hwy. For more information, call 476-5775 or visit


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