Saarihao & Wagner

Klanglig spenn fra to epoker

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Arctic moods, stylistic and acoustical contrasts and the Norwegian premiere of Saariaho’s violin concerto, Graal Theatre.

This evening’s concert will be evocative as well as contrasting when music by Finnish contemporary composer Kaija Saarihao is combined with music by Richard Wagner usually experienced and associated with being large in terms of both acoustic image and orchestral format. Violinist Peter Herresthal will perform Saarihao’s work for violin and ensemble, Graal Theatre – and it is the first time this concert is performed in Norway!

It is seldom you get to hear Wagner’s music at concerts by small ensembles. However, at this concert, you will get one of Wagner’s well-known and eternally beautiful pieces performed in its original version. Wagner wrote the work Siegfried Idyll as a gift to his second wife and consequently it was written for and performed by a smaller orchestra. The concert will be led by the Conductor and Artistic Director of the Arctic Philharmonic’s Sinfonietta, Øyvind Bjorå.

About the works:

Kaija Saariaho: Lichtbogen (1986)

One night the renowned Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho gazed up at the Arctic sky and looked at how the Northern Lights danced and moved. This inspired her to compose Lichtbogen. She also used a special technical analytical tool to create the harmonic material. Small sections of the cello part have been analysed and Saariaho has reconstructed the transitions and made new harmonic processes.

Richard Wagner: Siegfried Idyll

Wagner composed this piece for his second wife, Cosima, after the birth of their son Siegfried in 1869. The premiere performance of the work was on Christmas Day in 1870 by a small ensemble in Zurich – in their private villa in Tribschen. Cosima awoke to the beautiful opening melody. Wagner later wrote the opera Siegfried, which premiered in 1876, in which the music from Idyll is incorporated.

If you listen carefully, you can hear an old German children’s song, Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf, which Wagner integrated in the work. This part is played by oboe.

The work was originally written for a small ensemble of 13 musicians, and apparently the intention was for it to remain private for the family. However, Wagner chose to publish it in 1876 and extended it to be for 35 musicians.

Kaija Saariaho: Graal théâtre (1994)

This violin work by Saariaho was inspired by the book Graal Théâtre by Jaques Roubaud. She was inspired by the title, which she believed expressed the tension she felt between the efforts of the composer when writing the music and the theatrical aspect of the performance. “Especially in the case of a concerto,” she says “where the soloist, both physically and musically is playing a major role.”

In her works, Saariaho combines acoustic instruments with some electronic elements, taking as a starting point how the delicate violin sound interacts with an orchestra.

She has dedicated this piece to the musician Gidon Kræmer.

Source: MusicSales Classical