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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
Works for 2-6 Players
Sub Category
String Trio
Year Composed
20 Minutes

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Score and Part(s) Score and Part(s)

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:
  • 29 SEP 2017
    12. Internationales Festival der Kammermusik im Theater in Kempten
    Kempten, Germany
    Elisabeth Kufferath, violin; Lise Berthaud, viola; Peter Bruns, cello
  • 19 FEB 2017
    Présences 2017: Kaija Saariaho
    Maison de la Radio (Auditorium), Paris
    Ensemble Court-Circuit
    Jean Deroyer, conductor
  • 30 NOV 2016
    Buttenwieser Hall, 92nd Street Y, New York, NY
    Variation Trio
  • 15 JUN 2016
    CSO Chamber: All Access — Color Field
    Symphony Center, Chicago, IL
    Chicago Symphony Chamber Players
  • 03 JUL 2015
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Open Strings Ensemble
  • 15 JUN 2015
    Music Now
    Cincinnati, OH
    CSO Chamber: Color Field
  • 28 APR 2015
    Den Sorte Diamant, Copenhagen, Denmark
    Diamant Ensemblet
  • 12 NOV 2012
    Theatre La Vignette, Universite Paul Valery, France
    Montpellier Orchestra

    Other Dates:
    13 November - Salle Pasteur/Le Corum, Montpellier, France
  • 10 APR 2012
    Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, Toronto
    Trio Arkel
    Marie Bérard, violin/Teng Li, viola/Winona Zelenka, cello
  • 12 MAR 2012
    Carnegie Hall, New York
    Sarah Saviet violin; Anna Pelezer alto; Aisha Orazbayeva violin; Emily Deans viola; Paul Dwyer cello; Sarah Saviet violin; Mira Luxion cello
  • 08 OCT 2011
    Saariaho Festival Den Haag
    Korzo Theatre, Den Haag, The Netherlands
    Students of the NJO Summer Academy and the Royal Conservatory
  • 24 JAN 2011
    Cloud Trio Country Premiere
    Sway Country Premiere
    Konzerthaus Vienna, Austria
    Zebra Trio
    Ernst Kovacic, violin / Steven Dann, viola / Anssi Karttunen, cello
  • 02 JUL 2010
    Cloud Trio World Premiere
    Båstad Chamber Music Festival
    Båstad, Sweden
    Zebra Trio
    Ernst Kovacic, violin / Steven Dann, viola /Anssi Karttunen, cello

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