IIRO RANTALA – Veneziana (ENG review)

Jazz at Berlin Philarmonique XIII // ACT – available May 26th 2023
IIRO RANTALA – Veneziana

With each album, the excellent composer and pianist Iiro Rantala reinvents himself and surprises us, this time by returning to the tracks of his classical music education, as is the case with most European jazz musicians. The principle of the famous “Jazz At Berlin Philharmonic” being to jazzify classical works or vice versa.
“Venezia – For Chamber Ensemble” was composed by Iiro Rantala between 2021 and 2022. In this work, Iiro Rantala pays tribute in turn to Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Mozart, Casanova, and Lorenzo, ending with his vision of “Death in Venice”. Because Iiro is a man of culture in the broadest sense, in his previous albums, he had also revisited, among others, Gershwin, Finnish music, Mozart, Bernstein, Lennon, and even further back in time, a rewrite of his favorite John Lennon tracks gathered in the album “My Working Class Hero.”
Resolutely inspired, joyful, complex, fleeting, and visionary, Iiro Rantala proves once again on this live album that he is one of the greatest European artists. It remains to be hoped that this album can be heard and accepted here in the USA because Iiro Rantala is one of those exceptional artists capable of bringing renewal and a source of inspiration to future generations.
On stage, Iiro Rantala ensured both the solo piano part and the direction of the orchestra, which gives a singularly welcome dynamic to this album. Siggi Loch, initiator of the “Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic” series (and boss of the ACT label), is also fascinated by Venice. This is what led him to ask the Finnish pianist Iiro Rantala to compose music for a “Venetian” night. Rantala’s new work for piano and a ten-piece chamber ensemble was created on February 1, 2023, with members of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in the Great Concert Hall of Berlin. Entrusting the creation of a musical tribute to Venice may seem strange at first glance to a Scandinavian, but the Finnish pianist and composer Iiro Rantala has his own way of opening up to the world and to different styles and genres, and as he also brings surprising resources of humor and lightness, this celebration of Venetian “leggerezza” must have a particular charm.
In the form of a kaleidoscope, we visit the composer’s imagination, the poetic charm of the compositions charged with drawing emotions and memories, at least for those of us who have been able to reside in Italy, whether by their origins or simply by their travels, Italy of which Venice has become a myth with multiple legends in which I imagine Iiro Rantala taking the keys with undisguised pleasure. This is why you will hear this album on Bayou Blue Radio, which, by its construction, is one of the driving elements for understanding a part of the sources of European creation.

Thierry De Clemensat
Correspondent in USA
Bayou Blue News – Bayou Blue Radio – Paris-Move

PARIS-MOVE, April 9th 2023


Order the CD HERE

IIRO RANTALA’s website

ITW – Jul 7, 2013 by Montreux Jazz TV:

Interview Iiro Rantala by Ilene Martinez:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3: