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New Gates / Cendres / Grammaire Des Reves / Solar

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 26, 2000
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Product Details

  • Performer: Champ d'Action, Alison Wells
  • Conductor: James Wood
  • Composer: Kaija Saariaho
  • Audio CD (September 26, 2000)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Mode
  • ASIN: B00004WJMF
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,064,323 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By A Customer on July 26, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Saariaho is a genius, 'nuff said.
Cendres is an extension of her "a la fumee" and is blissful Saariaho, sound melting, smashing itself, and then reforming.
Grammaire des reves I have heard before on her record, "From the Grammar of Dreams", but this recording really hooked me on that one for some reason. It reminds me of a pair of unfettered maenads and the nightmarish landscape they are wandering through.
Solar can also be found recorded elsewhere, and is amazing as always
New Gates is a new piece, derived from the final movement of her ballet "Maa".
Another great Saariaho album. I have almost everything available. But what about her other unrecorded works? When will we see this appear?????
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This Mode disc contains four pieces by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, whose move to Paris in the early 1980s and encounter with IRCAM led to a number of works in the spectralist vein. The chamber ensemble Champ d'Action performs, and James Wood conducts in the two larger pieces.

"Cendres" for flute, harp, and viola (1991/1996) takes its material from Saariaho's earlier orchestral work "...a la fumee". It is an exploration of musical tension created by repeatedly bringing the three instruments together in timbre, pitch, rhythm etc. and then letting them go their own seperate ways in wisp-like sonorities. Saariaho has stated that she was unhappy with "...a la fumee", and one might assume that this trio is a more definitive statement on the form she was looking for, but I have to admit this piece pales in comparison to the orchestral one. The percussion, the cello solo, and the larger dimensions in instrumentation and length of "...a la fumee" make it stunning listening, while "Cendres" is merely okay the first time and approaches dullness thereafter. Much the same is true for, "New Gates" (1996) a transcription for chamber orchestra of an eponymous trio from her 1991 ballet "Maa". Its meditative musings work on stage, but not as a composition in their own right.

Things get better with the next two piece. "Grammaire des Reves" for soprano, contralto, 2 flutes, harp, viola, and cello (1988-1989) marks Saariaho's return to vocal writing after several years. While her juvenalia contains some lieder-type composers, it is this piece that fits voice into the spectralist style she came to adopt, and the results are intriguing.
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