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Finnish composer Rautavaara dies at 87

AFP  |  Helsinki 

Acclaimed Finnish classical composer Einojuhani Rautavaara has died aged 87, his record label said today.

"It is with profound sadness we write to inform you of the death of a major composer of our time, Professor Einojuhani Rautavaara," Ondine Records said in a statement, adding the composer died in Helsinki last night.

He passed away following complications from hip surgery after a fall.

Rautavaara first gained international recognition in 1994 with his 7th Symphony Angel of Light, leading enthusiastic critics to compare him with another famous Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius (1865-1957).

His works include eight symphonies, and several concertos, vocal works and operas that have been performed in numerous countries.

His most popular work was Cantus Arcticus (1972), subtitled "Concerto for Birds and Orchestra" -- featuring birdsong which the composer recorded himself in the marshes of Liminka, northern Finland.

"It is my belief that music is great if, at some moment, the listener catches a glimpse of eternity through the window of time," Rautavaara once said.

"This, to my mind, is the only true justification for art."

Rautavaara also taught composing at the prestigious Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.

"Devastated by the passing of Einojuhani Rautavaara, great original voice in Finnish music," tweeted Esa-Pekka Salonen, composer-in-residence at the New York Philharmonic and principal conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London.

"Also my first composition teacher and friend," added the fellow Finn.

First Published: Thu, July 28 2016. 21:57 IST