COMPOSERS: Kaija Saariaho
ALBUM TITLE: Saariaho
WORKS: Let the Wind Speak – chamber works with flute: Tocar; Mirrors I-III; Couleurs du vent; Sombre I-III; Dolce tormento; Oi kuu; Laconism de l’aile
PERFORMER: Camilla Hoitenga (flutes), Anssi Karttunen (cello), Daniel Belcher (baritone), Héloïse Dautry (harp), Da Camera of Houston
CATALOGUE NO: Ondine ODE 1276-2
‘Let the wind speak… that is paradise.’ Ezra Pound’s words and Mark Rothko’s painting – the verbal and the visual – morph into music in the 2012 Sombre, the central and most substantial work in this most sensitively programmed recital of nine flute works by Kaija Saariaho.
This music celebrates, above all, the fertility of collaboration – between the arts, and between composer and performer. Sombre, written for the Rothko Chapel in Texas, focuses the voices of Saariaho’s central flautist, Camilla Hoitenga and the baritone of Daniel Belcher. With even closer focus, the voice of Petrarch, of Hoitenga and of her bass flute fuse in the exquisite Dolce tormento of 2004.
The quintessential paradoxes of Saariaho’s writing – meticulous precision on the one hand, and the desire to create maximum flexibility for her performers on the other – are epitomised in her series of Mirrors (originally featured in the interactive CD-Rom, Prisma.) Here, we look into three of their reflecting, refracting surfaces as they thread their way through the recital: the original, truly prismatic score of Mirror I; then a variation by the cellist Anssi Karttunen; then Hoitenga’s own Mirror III.
This enriching recital is important both for its expansion of the recorded flute repertoire, and for a deeper understanding of Saariaho herself.