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Kaija Saariaho

Publisher: Chester Music

Grammaire des rêves (1988)
Work Notes
dedicated to Jean-Baptiste Barrière
Text Writer
Paul Éluard, text collage
Edition Wilhelm Hansen Helsinki
Solo Voices and 1-6 players
Year Composed
11 Minutes
soprano, alto
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Programme Note
Kaija Saariaho Grammaire des rêves (1988)
Grammaire des Rêves (Grammar of Dreams, 1988-89) was born from my curiosity about the relationship between human voice and instruments, a subject which I had put aside for many years. As the title of the piece indicates, another source of interest was the structural life of dreams.

Different ideas concerning the research of dreams (for example, how our moving body affects our dreams, changing their directions or interrupting them; in this piece the harp is imagined as a collection of restless limbs, which by their movements direct the musical flow), are drawn to the background during the compositional work, or are transformed into purely musical form.

Another interest was to search for a fusion in this rather heterogeneous ensemble. For this reason the musical texture is maybe more simple than in some other of my recent pieces, and the more radical textural changes have been replaced by vibratos, trills, glissandi, dynamic evolutions and other gestures, used here as imaginary matrices, through which the instrumental parts are ‘filtered’.

The major part of the text is a collage from the texts of Paul Eluard. Some longer fragments have been used from his poem ‘Premierèment’ (‘L’Amour la Poésie’).

  • Ensemble
    Avanti! Chamber Orchestra
    Petteri Salomaa, bass / Anu Komsi, soprano / Pia Komsi, soprano
  • Ensemble
    Champ d'Action
    James Wood
  • Ensemble
    Los Angeles Philharmonic
    Anu Komsi (soprano), Riikka Rantanen (contralto), Petri Alanko (alto flute), Anssi Karttunen (cello), Petteri Salomaa (baritone), John Storgards (violin), Pia Freund (soprano), Gabriel Suovanen (baritone), Karita Mattila (soprano)
    Esa-Pekka Salonen
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