by Tomi Räisänen

Marimba Concerto

Version for sinfonietta

Empty sheet

Tomi Räisänen




Portals have always featured in human stories, and especially in the transition from this to the other world. In the Finnish national epic, Kalevala, the River Tuoni separates the living from the realm of the dead. This was likewise the role of the Styx leading to Hades in Greek mythology. Dante, for his part, passed through the Gates of Hell at the start of his journey to Paradise. Nowadays, everything between Heaven and Hell is, of course, readily accessed at the click of an internet portal.

My work focuses not on the gates of death but on portals familiar from popular culture. The concerto begins with a picture of a lurching rabbit and Alice who, having fallen down the rabbit-hole, floats down into Wonderland. The second movement alludes to the film Matrix in which the dystopian real world transfers to virtual reality along telephone lines. The special feature of this movement is the orchestrated DTMF (dual tone multi frequency) sounds of a telephone. The wind section of the orchestra "tinkles" Emmet "Doc" Brown from the film Back to the Future, and even God himself, for example. The magic world of Harry Potter is entered via platform 9 ¾ at King's Cross station in London. The soundscape of the third movement alternates between the Doppler effect of express trains and puffing steam trains. One of the finest moments in the history of the cinema is when Dorothy steps out of her twister-mauled home into the fairytale land of Oz; initially black-and-white, the film suddenly bursts into a riot of colour. I have sought to capture something of this in Ruby Slippers, in amongst a musical texture that whirls like a tornado. The closing movement drifts inescapably in space toward a black hole. The wormhole lurking there acts as a portal to a new dimension; at least in sci-fi literature.

Tomi Räisänen, 2019 (Translation: Susan Sinisalo)


2222 2200 01 0, str, mar solo


Works for Soloist(s) and Orchestra


Awarded with the III Prize and Winner of the Audience Prize in the IV International Uuno Klami Composition Competition 2019


First performances on November 14 & 15 at the finals concerts of the IV International Uuno Klami Composition Competition in Kouvola and Kotka, Finland by Heigo Rosin and Kymi Sinfonietta, conducted by Olari Elts.


I. Down the Rabbit-Hole, II. Red Pill, III. 9 ¾, IV. Ruby Slippers, V. Wormhole

Commisioned by / dedications

Dedicated to Kunihiko Komori

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