“Music is a study of my own self and of the human spirit”, so says the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho. Her passion for music is all consuming, with the inspiration to compose reflecting the breadth of her interests, in poetry, literature, fine arts, and cinematography to name but a few.

One of the foremost composers of our time, Kaija Saariaho was born in 1952 in Helsinki. She studied with the modernist Paavo Heininen, before founding the pioneering “Ears Open” group with fellow composer Magnus Lindberg. Her studies continued in Freiburg with Brian Fernyhough and Klaus Huber at the Darmstadt summer courses, and then at the ground-breaking IRCAM research institute in Paris.

Earlier this year Donald Macleod and Kaija Saariaho met up in Paris, the city where she’s made her home since 1982, to talk about five contrasting aspects of her music.

Music Included:

D’Om le vrai sens (excerpt)
Notes on Light for cello and orchestra (II. Fire & III. Awakening)
Noa Noa for flute and electronics
D’Om le vrai sens, (III. L’Odorat & IV. Le Toucher)
Orion for Orchestra (I. Memento mori)
Nocturne for solo violin
Cloud Trio (IV. Tranquillo ma sempre molto espressivo)
Laterna Magica
Circle Map (excerpt)
Jardin secret II for harpsichord and tape
Lichtbogen for nine musicians and live electronics (excerpt)
Lonh for voice and electronics
Circle Map (V. Dialogue VI. Day and Night)
Quatre Instants (excerpt)
Quatre instants (II. Douleur – Torment & III. Parfum de l’instant)
Nuits, adieux for mixed choir and 4 soloists
True Fire for baritone and orchestra (excerpt)
Leino Songs
L’amour de loin, Act 4 excerpt
La passion de Simone for soprano solo, choir, orchestra and electronics (excerpt)
Only the Sound Remains (excerpt)
L’amour de loin, Act 5

Presented by Donald Macleod

Produced by Johannah Smith for BBC Cymru Wales

For full track listings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Kaija Saariaho https://ift.tt/35jya9R

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here: https://ift.tt/2vwHS8q

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