Some time ago, Harri Vuori and his friend Esko Sarkkinen, decided on an exchange: a composition for a painting. Vuori’s work was to be 30 seconds long; the painting was to contain 30 brush strokes; snow was agreed as the common theme. Both works were actually completed, but their demensions far exceeded what had been agreed on. Harri Vuori’s contribution had grown from 30 seconds to a 4-part, sonata-like piano composition called Kryo (from the Greek word for cold, frost = kryos). Snow is in many respects a rewarding motif for a musician as well as an artist. While almost automatically charged from a poetic and esthetic perspective, it also satisfies the more logically inclined with its pure, crystalline structure. Harri Vuori too has felt at home in this many-faceted landscape. As Lauri Otonkoski (the well-known Finnish poet and music critic) has pointed out, in Kryo Vuori treads a fine line between the “Germanically” strict and the rich colours of the “French” style. These two approaches, often viewed as extreme opposites, easily convert one into the other; and used together, they produce striking results. But we should bear in mind that the “German” and “French” elements are only metaphoric aids. In actual fact, the voice we hear is the composer’s, and the background decidedly Finnish. Kryo is condensed but lucid piano music. In its four movements it travels through different aspects of the same “icy” harmony. The first movement is very dense yet flows at a leisurely pace; the second movement is lighter. The relatively rapid third movement reaches peaks of furious expression, balanced by the extreme hush of the quietly sparkling last movement.
© Jouni Kaipainen
(translated by © Ira Donner) Instrumentation
Works for Solo Instrument Premiere
Olli Hautala, Helsinki, 1989.
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