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Kaija Saariaho

Publisher: Chester Music

Cloud Trio (2009)
Commissioned by the Båstad Kammarmusikfestival (artistic Director Karin Dornbusch) Musik i Syd and "Arcana Festival für Neue Musik”.
Chester Music Ltd
Small Ensemble (2-6 players)
Sub Category
String Trio
Year Composed
20 Minutes
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Programme Note
Kaija Saariaho Cloud Trio (2009)
A string trio is a fascinating ensemble. Even if its instruments come from the same family it magnifies the individual characters of each. When writing the trio, I was surprised how different it was to writing for a string quartet.

In this piece, the three instruments all have different tasks and functions, they represent very different aspects of string playing. These tasks are sometimes very concrete: the violin tends to behave as an echo or reverberation, the viola creates new clouds next to the existing ones and the cello often has a function of a shadow to the upper instrumental lines.

My ideas for this piece are about common textures; how to create one coherent texture - still complex and detailed - with individual lines.

The four sections of the piece have their own colours and characters, and I leave it to the listener to imagine what kinds of clouds were their sources of inspiration.

Why Cloud Trio? When composing this piece in the French Alps (Les Arcs), watching the big sky above mountains I realized once again how rich a metaphor a natural element can be: its state or shape is so recognizable, and yet it is always varied and rich in detail.

Cloud Trio is written for and dedicated to the Zebra Trio.

Paris, May 14th, 2010

Sample Pages

  • Soloist(s)
    Steven Dunn, Pia Freund, Tuija Hakkila, Mikael Helasvuo, Florent Jodelet, Anssi Karttunen, Ernst Kovacic
  • Soloist(s)
    Szymon Krzeszowiec; Jakob Kullberg; Alexander Øllgaard
    BIS Records:
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