KAIJA SAARIAHO (b.1952): Chamber Works for Strings, Vol. 1 - Tocar for Violin and Piano, Vent nocturne for Viola and Electronics, Calices for Violin and Piano, Spins and Spells for Solo Cello, Nocturne for Solo Violin, Nymphéa for String Quartet and Live Electronics.
Catalogue Number: 08P079
Reference: ODE 1222-2
Description: These works incorporate a wide diversity of technical resources, with the range and richness of timbral color always a major factor in the construction of the composer's unique sound-world. The works involving the virtually unlimited coloristic resources of electronics are especially noteworthy for the luminous, immersive fluidity of their textures, equally compelling in the early (1987) Nymphéa, an impression of the imprecise yet utterly lifelike play of refracted light and water in the late water lily paintings of the almost-blind Monet, and the recent Vent Nocturne. In both cases, instrumental sounds and textures, including much use of harmonics, extended bowing techniques and microtones, blend seamlessly into the electronic part, in the one case a refracting prism derived from harmonic analysis of cello sounds; in the other, wind and breath sounds combine with the breathy, organic tone of the viola. The purely acoustic works also exploit a wide timbral palette, with Saariaho's full repertory of string techniques used to create new sonorities, but the melodic material given to the instruments has a more concrete, thematic character. This is especially notable in Tocar and Spins and Spells, written as (extremely challenging!) competition pieces but both amply deserving a continuing concert existence, with their expressive flair and inventiveness, on an equal footing with the intimate, sorrowing - but nonetheless technically wide-ranging Nocturne, in memory of Lutosławski. META4, Anna Laakso (piano), Marko Myöhänen (electronics).