Week 3: Kaija Saariaho’s Lichtbogen

We are in Finland this week for the Musica nova festival, so it seems like the right time to feature the music of Kaija Saariaho, one of the most exciting composers working today (and a Finn. wikipedia bio.)

The most interesting aspect of Saariaho’s work involves capturing particularly delicate, fleeting sounds and really exploring them. This often involves live musicians on familiar instruments interacting with digital technology. Here very subtle reverb and pitch-shifting effects modify the output of a small ensemble of players to create a very organic and visceral cloud of sonority. I particularly like the scraping sounds that occasionally emerge and obliterate everything, like a kind of sonic eraser.

Here’s a youtube:

I have the following recording which I would recommend. It’s a little more refined than the one in the youtube clip – in particular the electronics are a bit stronger, arriving at what in my opinion is the perfect blend. In general the collection of pieces here is worth exploring, though the other two are a bit more challenging.

Ariama iTunes Archivmusik Amazon CD Amazon MP3 eMusic.

Looks like Amazon Mp3 is the current best bargain.

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