Väinö Raitio began his career as a full-blooded Romantic, but starting with the tone poem Joutsenet (Swans, 1919) he progressed to a powerfully expressive style combining Impressionist colours with an Expressionist outflow that harks back to Skriabin. In the 1930s he reverted to a more traditional style. This may have been partly due to the fact that he began to focus on opera, a genre with an expressive context all its own.
Raitio’s “Concerto for violin and cello with orchestral accompaniment”, as he himself styled the work, was completed in the middle of his opera period, in 1936. Raitio had been tending towards increasingly melodic writing in his operas, and this was reflected in the concerto. The texture here is less complicated than in his modernist tone poems, perhaps partly because of his stylistic shift but also partly to give the soloists space. There is no cadenza as such, but the soloists play several passages without the orchestra.
In the opening movement, two Grave sections flank an extensive central Allegro. The melodic writing commended by Klami takes centre stage in the slow middle movement, as shown even in its title, ‘a modo di canzonetta’. The finale is light-hearted, headed ‘giocoso’, and the solo parts are also at their most vivacious here. Its fast-paced progress is tempered by a central section in a legato character, but the ‘giocoso’ music returns and brings the work to its conclusion.
Shortened from Kimmo Korhonen's work presentation
Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi