The album presents Tarkiainen's life-affirming orchestral music with Midnight Sun Variations, Songs of the Ice, The Ring of Fire and Love and her English Horn Concerto Milky Ways with star soloist Nicholas Daniel.
Midnight Sun Variations
It is not our fault if, in your country, dream and reality are so closely bound together that one cannot well distinguish one from the other.
– Robert Crottet on the land of the Lappish Skolts (Fôrets de la lune, 1949)
Midnight Sun Variations is about the light in the arctic summer night. A sky painted in music, through the sparkling percussion and the cascading notes of the strings and woodwinds.
Songs of the Ice
The fabric of Tarkiainen’s work is the echoing, long-resonating, existential poetry of vast masses. The clear timbres, nature harmonies, spurts and reflections create a floating body of sound. In the final seconds the glittering crystals give way to a bullroarer impression: the wind sweeps over them, not…The end is gripping.
– Susanna Välimäki, Helsingin Sanomat
In the Arctic region, the ice breathes with the seasons, swelling in winter and shrinking in summer. Its age-old movement sings a song of its own: slowly surging, unrelenting and covering all beneath it. It tinkles and rumbles, squeaks and laments as our ever-warmer climate breaks Nature’s time-honoured laws, forcing the ice to give way.
Songs of the Ice and Midnight Sun Variations contitute a pair. The two works can be performed both together and separately.
The Ring of Fire and Love
In ‘The Ring of Fire and Love’, Tarkiainen perfectly exploits the tonal possibilities of the classical orchestra with the involvement of four percussionists, creating a triumphal march around the world.
– Michael Klier, Bachtrack
The exploration of the link between nature and maternal identity is at the core of Tarkiainen’s compositions.
The Ring of Fire and Love takes this exploration to volcanic depths, igniting a fire within the audience.
We all began life on milky ways. Milky, as the bronze-sheathed infant gaze halts and entices the Fountainhead of God to flow. The bubbling life force nourishes but is also the greatest of all forms of tenderness, closeness and primitive interaction.
Milky Ways' three movements swirl through the orchestra, sinuously inviting the audience on a journey. An other-worldly journey, given shape by the harp and celesta, accompanied by a cosmic wind of murmuring strings.