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Kaija Saariaho

Publisher: Chester Music

From the Grammar of Dreams (1988)
commissioned by the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival with funds provided by Yorkshire Arts
Text Writer
Sylvia Plath
Edition Wilhelm Hansen, Helsinki
Solo Voice(s) and up to 6 players
Year Composed
10 Minutes

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Programme Note
Kaija Saariaho From the Grammar of Dreams (1988)
Grammaire des Rêves (Grammar of Dreams, 1988-89) was born from my curiosity about the relationship between human voice and instruments, a subject which I had put aside for many years. As the title of the piece indicates, another source of interest was the structural life of dreams.
Different ideas concerning the research of dreams (for example, how our moving body affects our dreams, changing their directions or interrupting them; in this piece the harp is imagined as a collection of restless limbs, which by their movements direct the musical flow), are drawn to the background during the compositional work, or are transformed into purely musical form.
Another interest was to search for a fusion in this rather heterogeneous ensemble. For this reason the musical texture is maybe more simple than in some other of my recent pieces, and the more radical textural changes have been replaced by vibratos, trills, glissandi, dynamic evolutions and other gestures, used here as imaginary matrices, through which the instrumental parts are 'filtered'.
The major part of the text is a collage from the texts of Paul Eluard. Some longer fragments have been used from his poem 'Premierèment' ('L'Amour la Poésie').
Grammaire des Rêves is dedicated to Jean-Baptiste Barrière; the first performance was in Paris on the 23rd March 1989 by Ensemble l'Itineraire with Esa-Pekka Salonen.
(c) Kaija Saariaho

  • Ensemble
    Avanti! Chamber Orchestra
    Petteri Salomaa, bass / Anu Komsi, soprano / Pia Komsi, soprano
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