Capturing the Sounds of Space and Water and Clouds
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 11/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kaija Saariaho continues to enhance our contemporary music scene with compositions that incorporate the finest of orchestration of traditional instruments combined with the still nascent classical music manipulations of electronic music. Few do this as well as she.
'Du Cristal...À la Fumée' are separate works in time but play so beautifully together they seem to be a continuum. There are wondrous masses of sound created by closely spacing pitches within orchestral choirs, a technique that while not new, in Saariaho's talented hands seem to go beyond even the once avant-garde compositions of Ligeti and Messiaen and Lindberg and find a tonal range that for once treats sound clusters as progressive linear music. The results are overwhelmingly beautiful. In the hands of her close friend and fellow composer - Esa-Pekka Salonen - and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the complex works feel genuinely transparent.
Included on this CD is a work written for the Kronos Quartet - 'Nymphéa' - which as a work for strings alone could easily be transposed to full orchestra, but instead Saariaho has created an intimate work for quartet and electronic enhancement. The marriage between traditional instruments and the augmentation by electronic means is seamless and lifts the work to new heights of creativity. The final work here is a piece for solo cello - 'Sept Papillions' - and virtually flutters about in keeping with its title. The fine soloist is another Saariaho fellow musician, Finnish cellist Anssi Kartunnen, and is able to move among these miniature works with great technical facility and great beauty. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, November 05