Secular meditation

by Olli Virtaperko

for alto saxophone and concert accordion

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Olli Virtaperko

Secular meditation

Music Finland


”During this decade my personal interests in composing have strongly been directed towards the concepts of color, timbre and temperament. Secular Meditation (2018) is a logical continuum to this process. The main focus in composing the piece was to explore the harmonic possibilities of the saxophone multiphones and other coloristic techniques and to combine them with the wide range of harmonic and timbral resources of the very flexible accordion. The main challenge in composing was to find a way to blend the characteristically non-equally tempered saxophone multiphones with equally tempered accordion. With sensitive and detailed harmonic exploration this was possible to achieve. As I had anticipated, accordion turned out to contribute excellently to the saxophone multiphonic world. I would assume that the most plausible explanation for that is that the accordion produces a large variety of particularly clearly audible differential tones (additional lower frequency that we psychoacoustically perceive when hearing two notes sounding simultaneously). The strong presence of ”out-of-tune” differential tones makes accordion challenging and often dissatisfactory instrument in performing the historical keyboard repertoire, but the same characteristic makes it a wonderfully expressive, rich and impressive vehicle for interpreting the ideas of the type of contemporary expression that favors the usage of large chords, wide ambitus, thick diatonic or more chromatic clusters, or – in fact – any type of expression that is not based on the usage of triads in narrow keyboard chord-settings and tonal harmonic context.

- Olli Virtaperko


asax, acc


Chamber Works


Jan Gričar, alto saxophone and Nejc Grm, concert accordion, 6 March 2019, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Commisioned by / dedications

Jointly commissioned by Niko Kumpuvaara & Joonatan Rautiola (FIN) and Jan Gričar & Nejc Grm (SLO)

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