Kaija Saariaho

Kaija Saariaho (born 1952)

Nationality: Finnish
Born: October 14, 1952, Helsinki (age 68)

Light and Matter for Piano Trio

(for violin, cello and piano)
Duration: 12 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 2014 (age 61-62)
Commission: Aeolian Chamber Players, the Library of Congress, Britten Sinfonia and Norrbotten NEO
Premiere: July 30, 2014. Studzinski Recital Hall, Bowdoin College, Maine. Bowdoin International Festival, in honour of the festival's 50th anniversary. Renee Jolles, violin, Nicholas Canellakis, cello, and Benjamin Hochman, piano.
1 recordings, 1 videos
16:46
Jessica Fellows (violin), Mariko Wyrick (cello), Vatche Jambazian (piano)
From Kaija Saariaho

Kaija Saariaho, Light and Matter (2014)
for violin, cello and piano

Kaija Saariaho I have written many trios for different combinations, but have been hesitant to compose for a traditional piano trio, maybe because of its long and weighty tradition.

When I finally decided to approach this instrumentation, my first musical ideas were of light and rapid nature, and I started to imagine a one movement perpetual motion piece. During the composition, I developed the form into three continuous sections, including more varied tempi and textures. The starting point for the music is light kinetic energy, which is then developed into more dramatic gestures and rapid exchanges among the three instruments. The piece advances in spinning motion, moving from the original luminous fabric into more thematic patterns or towards the inertia of slow choral textures, before returning into the original weightlessness and starting a new flickering spin. As a result, we hear three musical elements - kinetic texture, thematic motives and slowly moving choral material - in constantly changing combinations and orchestrations.

I wrote this piece in New York, while watching from my window the changing light and colors of Morningside Park. Besides providing me with the name for the piece, perhaps that continuous transformation of light on the glinting leaves and the immobile trunks of the solid trees became the inspiration for the musical materials in this piece.

Light and Matter was commissioned by the Aeolian Chamber Players, the Library of Congress, Britten Sinfonia and Norrbotten NEO. The world premiere took place at the Bowdoin International Festival on July 30th, 2014, in honour of the festival's 50th anniversary, with Renee Jolles, violin, Nicholas Canellakis, cello, and Benjamin Hochman, piano.

K.S.

© Kaija Saariaho. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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