Program Note

I wanted to create a chamber music work based on my Clarinet concerto D’OM LE VRAI SENS, and when looking back to the material, my attention was drawn to the fact that throughout the concerto I was using two kinds of opposite materials: first a calm, emotional, colorful one, and on the other hand a rhythmically driven, dynamic and intensive one.

I started reorganizing some of the music from the concerto according to these two characters, and decided to create a piece with a twofold structure, naming the two movements Animus and Anima.

These titles point – among other concepts – to the Jungian idea of the persona and our unconsciousness: spirit/mind (Animus) and soul (Anima). Without going more into the details and nuances of these generally accepted definitions of the terms, they gave me a fresh approach I needed, to create a new piece based on existing material. And as often, these extra-musical associations faded into background in my mind during the composition phase.

The clarinet line is the red thread in this chamber music fabric, and the other instruments change constantly positions in their relation to clarinet and the common musical texture.
In Animus the string quartet and piano comment or argue on clarinet’s phrases, the music advances easily with motoric, physical energy, leading without a break into the second movement, Anima. Here the directional energy is suddenly changed into a slowly breathing music. The clarinet is leading the way on a spiral-like path slowly spinning into the last etheric trills.

This work was commissioned by La Biennale di Venezia for their 60th International Festival of Contemporary Music. I therefore wanted to give the piece a title in italian: Figura.

July 2016
Wise Music Classical

About Kaija Saariaho

Kaija Saariaho is a prominent member of a group of Finnish artists who are making a worldwide impact. She studied in Helsinki,Fribourg and Paris. At IRCAM, Saariaho developed techniques of…