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Kaija Saariaho

Publisher: Chester Music

Verblendungen (1984)
commissioned by the Finnish Broadcasting Company
Work Notes
tape realised in the GRM's digital studio (Paris) and the Finnish Radio's Experimental Studio
Edition Wilhelm Hansen, Helsinki
Sub Category
Large Orchestra
Year Composed
14 Minutes

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Programme Note
Kaija Saariaho Verblendungen (1984)

The tape part has been worked out with GRM's digital tools for manipulating and transforming concrete sound material. The basic material for the tape consists of two violin sounds, a sforzato stroke and a pizzicato. From these two sounds I have built a quasi-string orchestra with a very wide pitch range. The timbres on the tape are very homogeneous because of this single reference spectrum.

The total plan for the use of timbre in the piece is based on the idea that the orchestra and the tape are moving in opposite directions with respect to the tone-noise axis. The piece starts with a thick orchestral tutti, which is first hidden and than shaded by the noise on the tape. During the piece the orchestral colouring is transformed into instrumental noises, which, before withering away, shade the quasi-string orchestra on the tape. The orchestra is built to have a heterogeneous nature to contrast with the even colours on the tape. In spite of their different, sometimes opposite materials, the orchestra and the tape should build a common, inseparable sound world. When composing the piece an important factor has been the relation of the surface structure and deeper musical and formal structures. In my network of connections between different parameters I am searching for intersections not only vertically and horizontally on the time axis, but also in the direction of depth, as if the sounds were organised in think layers in three dimensional perspective, starting from dry, grainy sounds in front and moving towards smooth, more resonant ones.

Dazzling, different surfaces, tissues, textures. Weights, gravity. To be blinded. Interpolations. Reflections. Death. The sum of independent worlds. Shading, refracting the colour.

Preview the score

  • Ensemble
    Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Camilla Hoitenga, flute
    Esa-Pekka Salonen
  • Ensemble
    John Whitfield
  • Ensemble
    Avanti! Chamber Orchestra
    Anssi Karttunen, cello / Jukka Tiensuu, harpsichord
    Jukka-Pekka Saraste
  • Ensemble
    Orquestra Nacional do Porto
    Christoph Koenig
    Casa da Musica:
  • 17 SEP 2017
    Basel, Switzerland
    Basel Sinfonietta
    Baldur Brönnimann, conductor
  • 23 AUG 2014
    The Roundhouse, London, UK
    London Contemporary Orchestra
    Hugh Brunt, conductor
  • 23 AUG 2014
    Roundhouse, London
    London Contemporary Orchestra
    Hugh Brunt, conductor
  • 15 FEB 2013
    hr-Sendesaal, Frankfurt, Germany
    HR Sinfonieorchester
    Susanna Mälkki, conductor
  • 08 APR 2011
    Aspects Festival
    Caen, France
    Orchestre de Caen
    Camilla Hoitenga,; Vahan Mardirossian,, conductor

    Other Dates:
    10 April - Caen, France
  • 20 SEP 2008
    Nordic Focus 2008
    Casa da Musica, Porto, Portugal
    Orquestra National do Porto
    Christoph Koenig, conductor
  • 26 MAY 2007
    Musica Electronica Nova Festival
    Wroclaw, Poland
    Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra
    Camilla Hoitenga, flute; Anssi Karttunen, cello; Vladimir Kiradijiew, conductor
  • 17 FEB 2006
    Great Hall, London
    Goldsmiths College Sinfonia and Chorus
    Roger Redgate, conductor
  • 27 SEP 1993
    Verblendungen Country Premiere
    Hamburg, Germany
    Lahti Symphony Orchestra
    Osmo Vänskä, conductor

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