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Kaija Saariaho

Publisher: Chester Music

Lichtbogen (1986)
commissioned by the French Ministry of Culture
Edition Wilhelm Hansen, Helsinki
Large Ensemble (7 or more players)
Year Composed
17 Minutes

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Programme Note
Kaija Saariaho Lichtbogen (1986)

The name LICHTBOGEN stems from Northern Lights which I saw in the Arctic sky when starting to work with this piece. When looking at the movements of these immense, silent lights which run over the black sky, first ideas concerning the form and language for the piece started to move in my mind. What is the dependence - and does it exist at all? - between this phenomenon of nature and my piece, I don't know.

In LICHTBOGEN I work for the first time with computer in the context of purely instrumental music. Special harmony and rhythm are worked out with two different tools in IRCAM.

For harmony I have worked with the CRIME system developed by Claudy Malherbe and Gerard Assayag: the harmonic material is created by analysing short transitions played with a violoncello, starting from artificial harmonic sound and ending to complex 'multiphonic' sounds. The analyses have been made by selecting many small windows in the different parts of the sound. From the results of the analyses I have reconstructed the transitions and made harmonic processes, which are often combined to the original playing manners of the analysed sound, so that harmony and timbral thinking stem from the same source.

For the rhythm I use a network for programmes which I have realised with Xavier Rodet in the FORMES environment. These programmes allowed me to construct interpolations and transitions for different musical parameters. The rhythmic interpolations here are created between different musical patterns by using circular lists, in which every time when repeated, values have changed, and thus modified the general character of the pattern. The calculated results have then been transcribed with approximations, which allows them to be playable to musical notation.

LICHTBOGEN is a commission of the French Ministry of Culture and is dedicated to Paul Mefano.

Kaija Saariaho

  • Ensemble
    John Whitfield
  • Ensemble
    John Whitfield
  • Ensemble
    John Whitfield
  • Ensemble
    Avanti! Chamber Orchestra
    Anssi Karttunen, cello / Jukka Tiensuu, harpsichord
    Jukka-Pekka Saraste
  • Ensemble
    Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne
    Lorraine Vaillancourt
  • Ensemble
    Avanti! Chamber Orchestra
    John Storgårds, violin
    Hannu Lintu
  • Ensemble
    John Whitfield
  • Ensemble
    Los Angeles Philharmonic
    Anu Komsi (soprano), Riikka Rantanen (contralto), Petri Alanko (alto flute), Anssi Karttunen (cello), Petteri Salomaa (baritone), John Storgards (violin), Pia Freund (soprano), Gabriel Suovanen (baritone), Karita Mattila (soprano)
    Esa-Pekka Salonen
  • Large Ensemble (7 or more players):
  • 28 OCT 2018
    Italian Academy, New York, NY
    Ensemble Échappé
    Benjamin Grow, conductor
  • 19 MAY 2018
    Annex, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Vancouver Symphony
    William Rowson, conductor
  • 17 NOV 2017
    University of York, UK
    Chimera Ensemble
  • 25 MAR 2017
    The Annex, Vancouver, Canada
    CBC Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
    William Rowson, conductor
  • 21 MAR 2017
    Houston, TX
    Loop38 - Shepherd School of Music
    Jerry Hou, conductor
  • 12 DEC 2016
    Alice Tully Hall, New York, US
    Axiom Ensemble
    Jeffrey Milarsky, conductor
  • 18 OCT 2016
    Houston, TX
    Jerry Hou, conductor
  • 10 APR 2016
    Montclair, NJ
    Montclair State University Orchestra
    Julien Benichou, conductor
  • 09 APR 2016
    Seattle, Washington
    Seattle Modern Orchestra
    Julia Tai, conductor
  • 05 MAR 2016
    Montclair, NJ, United States
    Montclair State University Orchestra
    Julien Benichou, conductor
  • 18 FEB 2016
    Verdensteatret, Tromso
    Peter Herresthal, violin; Øyvind Bjorå, conductor
  • 29 JAN 2016
    NJORD Biennale 2016
    Store Scene, Dansehallerne, Copenhagen, Denmark
    Avanti Chamber Orchestra
    Jakob Kullberg, cello; Clement Mao-Takacs, conductor
  • 06 DEC 2015
    Iowa City, IA
    Center for New Music
    David Gompper, conductor
  • 06 OCT 2015
    Buffalo, NY
    Slee Sinfonietta
    Brad Lubman, conductor
  • 06 OCT 2015
    Buffalo, NY
    Slee Sinfonietta
    Brad Lubman, conductor
  • 30 JAN 2015
    Boulder, CO
    Colorado New Music Ensemble
    Joshua Horsch, conductor

    Other Dates:
    31 January - Boulder, CO
  • 28 NOV 2014
    Festival de Morelia
    Festival de Morelia, Mexico

    Other Dates:
    29,30 November - Festival de Morelia, Mexico
  • 24 SEP 2014
    Trondheim Chamber Music Festival 2014
    Dokkhuset, Trondheim
    Trondheim Sinfonietta
    Camilla Hoitenga (flute) Daniel Belcher (baritone); Ernest Martinez-Izquierdo, conductor
  • 09 MAY 2014
    Made Festival
    Made Festival, Sweden
    New European Ensemble
  • 08 APR 2014
    La Rampe, Echirolles, France
    Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain
  • 28 FEB 2014
    Tracing Isadora (WP) - Ballett
    Mannheim, Germany
    Nationaltheater-Orchester Mannheim
    Joseph Trafton, conductor

    Other Dates:
    7,9,21 March; 11,17 April; 10 May; 8,15,28 June; 9 July - Mannheim, Germany
  • 17 OCT 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Carnegie Mellon University
    Daniel Curtis, conductor
  • 18 JUL 2013
    Putney, VT
    Yellow Barn Music Festival
  • 15 JUL 2013
    Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival
    Kuhmo Arts Centre, Kuhmo, Finland
    Kuhmo Chamber Music Orchestra
  • 03 NOV 2012
    Borusan, Istanbul, Turkey
  • 14 OCT 2012
    Kaija Saariaho festival / Senses
    Concert Hall. Helsinki Music Centre, Finland
    Avanti! and students from the Sibelius Academy
    Karen Vourc'h (soprano); John Storgårds, conductor
  • 24 AUG 2012
    Arcus Temporum IX - Art Festival of Pannonhalma
    Pannonhalma, Hungary
    Quasars Ensemble
    Mario Caroli
  • 05 MAY 2012
    Stony Brook, NY
    SUNY Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players
    Eduardo Leandro, conductor
  • 04 MAY 2012
    Stony Brook University, USA
    Salley Koo, Regi Papa, Anne-Sophie Anderson, Elizabeth York, violin; Mario Gotoh, Eren Tuncer, viola; Richard Vaudrey, Susanna Mendlow, cello; Josh Schwalbach, double bass; Hristina Blagoeva, flute; Michael Smith, piano; Stephanie Babirak, harp; Piero Guimaraes, percussion
  • 07 OCT 2011
    Saariaho Festival Den Haag
    Dr Anton Philipszaal, Den Haag, The Netherlands
    New European Ensemble
    Petteri Iivonen, violin / Karen Motseri, soprano / Carina Vinke, alto; Christian Karlsen, conductor

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