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Kaija Saariaho

Kaija Saariaho

Pirkko Moisala
Series: Women Composers
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 144
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  • Book Info
    Kaija Saariaho
    Book Description:

    This book is the first comprehensive study of the music and career of contemporary composer Kaija Saariaho. Born in Finland in 1952, Saariaho received her early musical training at the Sibelius Academy, where her close circle included composer and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen. She has since become internationally known and recognized for her operas L'amour de loin and Adriana Mater and other works that involve electronic music. Her influences include the spectral analysis of timbre, especially string sounds, micropolyphonic techniques, the visual and literary arts, and sounds in the natural world._x000B__x000B_Pirkko Moisala approaches the unique characteristics of Saariaho's music through composition sketches, scores, critical reviews, and interviews with the composer and her trusted musicians. Drawing extensively from this material, Moisala describes the development of Saariaho's career and international reception, the characteristics of her musical expression, and the progression of her compositional process.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09193-3
    Subjects: Sociology, History, Music

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. 1 Biography
    (pp. 1-25)

    Kaija saariaho (née Laakkonen) is the eldest of three children of entrepreneur Launo Laakkonen and his wife Tuovi Laakkonen. Her father’s family comes from Karelia, which in nationalistic discourses has been referred to as the mythical home of original Finnish culture. In the peace treaties after the Second World War, Finland was forced to cede parts of Karelia, the easternmost part of the country, to the Soviet Union. Approximately half a million people were evacuated to other areas of Finland. The Laakkonen family was one of those forced to flee from Karelia at that time. They moved to Helsinki, where...

  5. 2 Developments
    (pp. 26-51)

    Saariaho’s musical career and musical production can be divided into seven key phases, the first of which covers the period when she was studying at the Sibelius Academy. During this period she was both learning about and looking for composition techniques that would suit her musical ideas. She initially composed vocal works, exploring vocally produced sound qualities, but she soon began to experiment with the electronic means that were available at that time in Northern Europe. Already in the early 1980s, Saariaho electronically processed the sound of acoustic instruments in the concert setting. This early interest in combining electronics with...

  6. 3 Work
    (pp. 52-72)

    In saariaho’s experience, a composer does not choose her musical style, but the style comes to her. She speaks about having a “musical language” and for her each of her works is a world of its own. In her opinion, being honest with oneself is the only way to create an individual musical expression. When her personal musical idiom dictates the paths she takes, her musical explorations cumulate in unique and consistent ways. She has consistently remained within her own musical vocabulary, although she continuously searches for new musical expressions. Her music naturally relates to the musical and technological developments...

  7. 4 Sounds
    (pp. 73-92)

    Saariaho is “a product” of a musical world that is pluralistic without dominating musical styles or commonly shared aesthetics. Today, it is quite common for composers to explore different musical styles and composition techniques without rigidly staying within one style; even a single work may find connections with several traditions. Musical influences from different styles, past and present, and from a range of cultures open up unlimited possibilities for the composer. Saariaho’s path has also passed through several compositional schools. She received a solid education in several composition techniques regarding both tonal and atonal music, both serialism and spectralism. Saariaho’s...

  8. 5 Dramas
    (pp. 93-108)

    Despite saariaho’s protestations in the 1980s that she would never write an opera, and even though some music critics were surprised when she did produce such works, her operatic works can also be understood as a logical continuation of her development as a composer. Opera combines several art forms and Saariaho’s musical path has always moved fluidly over their meeting points. She has had a special interest in the human voice in its various forms since childhood, and vocal works written to carefully chosen literary texts have been an important facet of her production since her early years as a...

  9. NOTES
    (pp. 109-119)
    (pp. 120-120)
    (pp. 121-122)
    (pp. 123-124)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 125-130)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 131-135)