Kaija Saariaho: An intense moment-by-moment fragile and mysterious soundworld
concert review: It required a certain kind of surrender – and also a silent listening environment
Apart from that one piece, and one brief intrusion by some kind of low-humming generator or air-conditioner, it seemed to me, and I hope to Saariaho, that she was within reach of that musical heaven for most of the rest of the time during her two concerts, the first in Dundalk Gaol and the second in St Nicholas Church of Ireland.
The LCMS provided Irish audiences with an unprecedented and concentrated encounter with a kind of music that draws you in so that you become immersed in it and can engage with its many mysteries – how do you discern the connection she mentions between one of her pieces and a painting by Paul Gauguin, what exactly does it mean to manipulate sound with a phase-vocoder, why should a movement subtitled ‘Sursum corda’ (‘lift up your hearts’) sound so anxious and angry, then remorseful. With Saariaho’s music you are absorbed and moved by such mysteries even though they are not explained.
Read the full review here
Brendan Finan Reviews Stations of the Sun in the Journal of Music: Intimate and moving
It says a lot that this performance, which brought the house down, was only the third-best concert of the festival. Saariaho’s two concerts – the first and the last – were more intimate and more moving. Both mainly featured solo or duo works, often with electronic accompaniment, and with the composer in attendance.