• Kaija Saariaho
  • Neiges (1998)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the city of Beauvais

  • 8 cellos [or 8 double basses]
  • 12 cellos
  • 15 min

Programme Note

When I considered the ensemble of eight cellos, I first thought of matt and dark textures. I also wanted to go back to some ideas on symmetry. While I was pondering all that, I saw snow flakes falling from the dark sky of the Finnish autumn. Focusing on the snow, the idea of writing variations on it and its various forms became clearer in my mind.

Nuages de neige is a uniform and linear texture in which I realise my first impressions of that ensemble. The two Etoiles de neige are based on the idea of symmetry and repetition: the first one develops up to a certain point where it doubles back as in a mirror image, the second one consists of eight sections in which the harmonic structure is repeated, as well as a linear gesture that becomes ever more present. Aguilles de glace focuses on different pizzicati and superimposed ostinati. With Fleurs de neige I sought to recall the texture of those harmonic trills at the end of the first section, although more airy and diversified here.

Kaija Saariaho

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