The name Septimalia alludes to intervals of a seventh. The “natural seventh” (the 7th partial) used in such genres as barbershop and some folk music is a sensual, consonant sound not traditionally belonging to the Western artmusic system. Harmonies and intervals based on it play an important part in Septimalia. All in all, the way the orchestra is tuned is exceptional and complex in this composition. My aim is to contrast the wonderful sound of pure harmonies based on the natural harmonic series with exciting, microtonal progressions permitted by 7th partials and other pure intervals. The main key of the work is E minor, but the notes will not be found on a piano.
The sections of Septimalia are marked Andante Maestoso – Con moto – Intenso e serio – Allegro estatico: there are times when the work is fast and frenzied, but it also has a serious, symphonic vein. Though the instrumental techniques are experimental, maybe even extreme, my music is tonal and thematic. But it does acquire what might be called psychedelic hues in places.
Juhani Nuorvala, translation by YLE Instrumentation
3333 4331 12 1, elbas, str [bcl, cbsn, 4 natural horns] Category
Works for Orchestra or Large Ensemble Premiere
Finnish RSO, conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali, Helsinki, Finland, May 16, 2014 Commisioned by / dedications
Commissioned by the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) PDF for promotional use
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