This thoughtful anthology surveys Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara's rich Ondine discography, mostly avoiding excerpts in favor of whole works.

This thoughtful anthology surveys Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara's rich Ondine discography, mostly avoiding excerpts in favor of whole works. The 73-year-old Rautavaara's very personal brand of mystical neo-Romanticism has made him one of the most popular of contemporary European composers, even as it has retained him respect among the cognescenti. The highlights here show why: Isle of Bliss, a luminous pearl of a tone poem; the pungently rhapsodic Piano Concerto No. 1; and The Fiddlers, a folk-tinged suite for string orchestra. Also here are two of Rautavaara's most famous pieces, A Requiem in Our Time for brass and (the rather overrated) Canticus Arcticus for taped bird song and orchestra, as well as the songful slow movement from the Seventh Symphony, "Angel of Light." The Finnish performances and recordings are top-flight, and the package includes a full catalog of Ondine's Rautavaara line. Distributed in the U.S. by Koch and in the U.K. by Complete.—BB