Kaija Saariaho Notes on Light
The concert is canceled
Notes on Light is a cello concerto by the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho. The work was commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and was first performed at Symphony Hall, Boston on February 22, 2007, by the cellist Anssi Karttunen and the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste.
In Ostrava, the composition will be played on March 19 with Johannes Moser. The orchestra will be directed by Gabriel Bebeselea.
„At first sight Notes on light with its five movements doesn’t quite resemble the average Cello Concerto. However, with a closer look, I soon found the elements that I like to think to make a great concerto: -The relation of soloist and orchestra goes through many very different situations. -The cello is given the chance to show its full versatility. – When the soloist has important things to say, the orchestra gives it space and on the other hand, the orchestra also gets its moments to lift the music up into exuberant colors.
The Soloist is not just the hero of Notes on Light, he/she also has to stand up for his rights, fight, lead, collaborate with and sometimes submit to the orchestra. All these make Notes on Light a rich voyage that could well lead us into the very heart of light.
I see two intervals of a semitone as important mottos of the piece: The first is a slide down from f sharp to f natural which starts the piece and to which one returns from different paths along the Concerto. The second is a rising figure of c sharp to d natural, which often interrupts the action and stops the soloist. These two motives seem to be even stronger landmarks than any melodic element. In the last movement, the single note off sharp proves to be the center of the whole work.
Through the voice of the cello, the first movement introduces the secret world of the piece, translucently colored by the orchestra in small ensembles. The second movement opposes the soloist and the orchestra in a fiery dialogue. The music is energetic and obsessive, the soloist refusing to speak at the same time with the orchestra. The third movement finally awakens both into building together with large, colorful gestures.
In the fourth movement, the orchestra eclipses the soloist with dark waves of sound. The Soloist offers his c sharp-d motive twice, in vain. He finally shakes the shadows away with the third try that leads us directly to the fifth movement and the two embark on a voyage towards the light. Finally F sharp is the note that becomes the heart of light, lifting the cello in the end high up to the spheres of absolute brightness, .. or total darkness,“ was written before the first release by Anssi Karttunen (January 11th, 2007, Paris)