A Guide to Kaija Saariaho

Tom Service continues his series of introductions to the music of contemporary composers, with an edition dedicated to Finn Kaija Saariaho, whose Laterna Magica will be performed in London at the 2012 Proms, on 17 July. Service suggests that,

All composers are dreamers. But very few have dared to dream sonic images of such magnetic power as those that Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho has conjured in her music for ensembles, orchestra, opera  houses, electronics and soloists. That’s true for pretty much every piece Saariaho has written, whether it’s one of her luminous but inescapably dramatic operas, such as L’Amour de loin or Adriana Mater, or her orchestral sound- and cosmos-scapes such as Orion, or her chamber and ensemble works such as Nymphéa and Lichtbogen. To journey into Saariaho’s music is to be confronted with the darkest and most dazzling dimensions of your subconscious, and glimpses of the existential journeys she has made to find these pieces.

My own interview with Saariaho can be found here. The Proms performance will be broadcast live on BBC Radio Three, which can be accessed on the web here.

Published on 10 July 2012

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