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Saariaho: Emilie Suite; Quatre Instants; Terra Memoria

Saariaho / Vourch / Letonja
Release Date: 01/13/2015 
Label:  Ondine   Catalog #: 12552   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Kaija Saariaho
Performer:  Karen Vourc'h
Conductor:  Marko Letonja
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Karen Vourc'h...is an eloquent advocate of the heigtened arioso, flexing into and out of speech in Terra Memoria. Marko Letonja controls Saariaho's single arc of quizzical and querulous transformations into a haunting meditation on memory itself.

-BBC Music Magazine

Quatre instants has a gleaming and glittering surface, with fine filigree work in which tuned percussion is prominent, while the voice soars and dips. One aspect of Saariaho’s vocal writing is that the voice often merges with or hands over to an instrument, and is treated in some ways as if it were itself an instrument itself. The idiom is reminiscent of Szymanowski’s orchestral song-cycles or Ravel’s Shéhérazade and Saariaho’s cycle
Read more can stand the comparison...this is a memorable disc and a valuable addition to Saariaho’s growing discography.

-MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

Quatre instants, for chamber orchestra by Kaija Saariaho
Performer:  Karen Vourc'h ()
Conductor:  Marko Letonja
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2002 
Venue:  Neugartheim-Ittlenheim Hall, France 
Length: 5 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Terra Memoria, for orchestra by Kaija Saariaho
Conductor:  Marko Letonja
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2009 
Venue:  Cité de la musique de Strasboug, France 
Length: 17 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Émilie Suite, for soprano & orchestra by Kaija Saariaho
Performer:  Karen Vourc'h ()
Conductor:  Marko Letonja
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2011 
Venue:  Neugartheim-Ittlenheim Hall, France 
Length: 32 Minutes 6 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Rich and satisfying music for voice and orchestra February 11, 2015 By Dean Frey See All My Reviews "The three works on this disc have rich and intricately designed orchestral scores. Though all of the pieces have been adapted from earlier versions, each phrase and the instruments chosen to play it seems perfect and inevitable. That is the genius of the extraordinary Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, Quatre Instants and the suite taken from the opera Emilie both have important voice parts, of course, but Saariaho’s emphasis as always is on the transformation of sounds. She represents a series of the shifting moods and psychological drama of the 18th century scientist Emilie du Chatelet in the suite from Emilie, and a similar presentation takes place in the four songs that make up Quatre Instants. Terra Memoria takes transformation of memories as its theme, and the musical material (already transformed to a string orchestra from the original string quartet version) twists and turns into a surprisingly lucid kind of chaos. Marko Letonja brings out strong performances from the Strasbourg orchestral musicians. I took special note of the unnamed harpsichordist who plays an important part in the Emilie suite, embodying Enlightenment values as Emilie grapples with the universe. Soprano Karen Vourc’h is equally strong, though she has perhaps just slightly less character as Emilie than Karita Mattila, for whom the part was written." Report Abuse
 Emotionally powerful February 11, 2015 By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA) See All My Reviews "Opera is all about emotion. And Kaija Saariaho's Émilie Suite is an hour of raw emotion compressed into a 20-minute opera. Emilie du Chatelet was a French mathematician and physicist during the Age of Enlightenment. The opera focuses on a single evening as she struggles to complete her translation of Newton's Principia Mathematica while in the final stages of pregnancy. She's afraid childbirth will kill her (it did), and the conflict of emotions (love and fear) with scientific logic and order provides the inspiration for Saariaho's work. The opera has but a single role, and soprano Karen Vourc'h fills it admirably. Her delivery of Emilie's inner thoughts is both thrilling and disturbing. If you want pretty arias, look elsewhere. If you want an authentic representation of a soul in crises, Emilie Suite delivers. Marko Letonja leads the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra in sensitive and sure-footed performance. Saariaho's music is all about the details, and Letonja and the SPO conjure up her delicate soundscapes seemingly at ease. An important addition to Saariaho's discography." Report Abuse
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