by Max Savikangas


sopraanolle ja kamariyhtyeelle, for soprano and chamber ensemble (flute, violin, viola, cello, bass clarinet)

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Max Savikangas


Music Finland


'Thai' is a central piece in 'Badminton Opera', composed by me in 2005 to the texts and visualisation by Teemu Mäki and Juha-Pekka Hotinen. 'Badminton Opera' was premiered in the Kiasma Theatre in 2005, total duration of the opera is ca 90 min (of which music ca. 75 min). Originally 'Thai' was composed for alto and piano. I have arranged 'Thai' for soprano and chamber ensemble of five players (flute, bass clarinet, violin, viola and violoncello), to be premiered in the Carte Blanche Max Savikangas concert series in the Netherlands, presented by Ensemble88 in November-Deceber 2007.

The main theme of 'Badminton Opera' - and hence the main theme of 'Thai' - is violence, which has numerous forms, some obvious and explicit, some structural, hard to recognize and difficult to measure. In 'Thai', I'm not so much dealing with the obvious forms of violence, for example abuse, war and slavery. Instead, I'm focusing on the violence that is hiding in the structures of economy and culture, and in our common patterns of thought and mechanisms of emotion. This structural, often invisible violence is seen in the text by Juha-Pekka Hotinen as the widest-spread and the most influential branch of violence. The explicit bursts of violence are considered merely as by-products of it.

One perspective into violence in 'Thai' is political. According to the text by Hotinen the main form of violence is the exploitation that is built into the structure of capitalist economy. This means that violence is first and foremost an utility tool – a means of gaining calculable profit.

Another perspective into violence in the text of 'Thai' is psychological, even downright psychoanalytical, according to which violence is first and foremost a form of sex drive or its sublimation. For the aggressor – and occasionally for the victim, too – violence can be a end in itself, pleasurable as such.

Thai asks: How do these various forms of and motivations for violence connect? 'Thai' is meant to be both deadly serious and hilarious. In spite of It's possibly outrageous-sounding themes the work tries to be an anti-spectacle: it has no shock-effects, it is neither a thriller nor an Aristotelian drama. It is ment to have the feel of a poetic essay.

© Max Savikangas 2007, Teemu Mäki and Juha-Pekka Hotinen 2005


sopr, fl, vln, vla, vlc, bcl


Vocal and Choral Works




Hannan Morrison, soprano, Angélique van Duurling, flute, Leo van Tol, bass clarinet, Paul Pankert, violin, Max Savikangas, viola, Jos Kamp, cello Ensemble88 /Museum van Bommel van Dam, Venlo, The Netherlands, November 25, 2007; See also: Thaimaalainen (Thai) for alto and piano.

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