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Kaija Saariaho

Publisher: Chester Music

Tocar (2010)
Chester Music Ltd
Small Ensemble (2-6 players)
Year Composed
7 Minutes
Alternate Orchestration
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Programme Note
Kaija Saariaho Tocar (2010)
One of my first ideas for “Tocar”, about the encounter of two instruments as different as the violin and piano, was the question: how could they touch each other?
Whilst composing music, I always imagine the instrumentalist’s fingers and their sensitivity. The violin sounds are created by the collaboration between the left hand and the bow controlled by the right hand. On the piano, the pianist should be extremely precise in order to control the moment when the fingers touch the keys, afterwards the sounds can be coloured only by the pedals. In spite of such different mechanisms, both instruments also have some common points, purely musical, noticeably they share some of the same register.

In “Tocar” both instruments move forward independently, but also keep an eye on each other. I imagine a magnetism becoming stronger and stronger – the piano part becomes more mobile – which draws the violin texture towards the piano writing culminating in an encounter in unison. After this short moment of symbiosis, the violin line is released from the measured piano motion, continuing its own life outside the laws of gravity.
The title, in Spanish, is translated as “to touch, to play”.

“Tocar” was commissioned by the International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition. The work was premiered by the 20 semi-finalists in Helsinki on the 26th, 27th, and 28th November 2010.

Paris, November 29th 2010
Kaija Saariaho

Sample Pages

  • Ensemble
    Meta4 String Quartet
    Anna Laasko (piano), Marko Myohanen (electronics)
    Ondine :
  • Ensemble
    Anna Laakso, Marko Myohanen
  • Ensemble
    Da Camera of Houston
    Camilla Hoitenga, flute; Anssi Karttunen, cello; Daniel Belcher, baritone; Heloise Dautry, harp
  • Ensemble
    Da Camera of Houston
    Camilla Hoitenga, flute; Daniel Belcher, baritone
  • Ondine:
Saariaho (born 1952) displays a keen imagination here, the music shimmering and fragrant, scrupulously coloured, and perhaps best heard in the same space as the instrumentalists.
Colin Anderson,,17/07/2012
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