by Kaija Saariaho


Empty sheet

Kaija Saariaho


Edition Wilhelm Hansen


The musical material of the tape part has been worked out with GRM’s digital tools (studio of the Groupe Recherche Musicale, Paris) for manipulating and transforming concrete sound material. The basic material for the tape consists of two violin sounds, a sforzato stroke and a pizzicato. From these two sounds I have built a quasi-string orchestra with a very wide pitch range. The timbres on the tape are very homogenous because of this single reference spectrum. The final mixing was made in the Finnish Radio’s Experimental Studio, Helsinki, with Jussi Liimatainen. The total plan for the use of timbre in the piece is based on the idea that the orchestra and the tape are moving in opposite directions with respect to the tone—noise axis. The piece starts with a thick orchestral tutti, which is first hidden and then shaded by the noise on the tape. During the piece the orchestral colouring is transformed into instrumental noises, which, before withering away, shade the quasi-string orchestra on the tape. The orchestra is built to have a heterogenious nature to contrast with the even colours on the tape. In spite of their different, sometimes opposite materials, the orchestra and the tape should build a common, unseparable sound world. When composing the piece an important factor has been the relation of the surface structure and deeper musical and formal structures. In my network, of connections between different parameters I am searching for intersections not only vertically and horizontally on the time axis, but also in the direction or depth, as if the sounds were organised in thin layers in three dimensional perspective, starting from dry, grainy sounds in front and moving towards smooth, more resonant ones. Dazzling, different surfaces, tissues, textures. Weights, gravity. To be blinded. Interpolations. Reflections. Death. The sum of independent worlds. Shading, refracting the colour. Verblendungen is dedicated for Esa-Pekka Salonen, who conducted the first performance in Helsinki, Finland with The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra in April 1984. © Kaija Saariaho, ca. 1985


2111 4111 02 1, pno, asax, 8vln, 5vla, 3vlc, 2db, tape [afl+pic, fag+cfag, trb+btrb, tba+btba in F,cb 5str]


Works for Orchestra or Large Ensemble


Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, cond. Esa-Pekka Salonen, Helsinki, April 10, 1984.

Commisioned by / dedications

Commissioned by the Finnish Broadcasting Company.

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