• Kaija Saariaho
  • Graal théâtre (1994)
    (Graal theatre)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the BBC and VARA Radio 4, Netherlands

Dedicated to Gidon Kremer

The reduced score (CH61077-01) is in fact the arrangement for two pianos. It requires two grand pianos with sostenuto pedal. It may be used for rehearsal of both full orchestra and chamber versions. The solo violin part is supplied separately (CH61222-01).

  • violin; 1(pic).1.1+bcl.1/2.1.0+btbn.0/2perc/hp.pf/str(
  • violin
  • 25 min
    • 4th February 2023, Pollack Hall McGill University, Montreal Quebec , QC, Canada
    View all

Programme Note

Graal théâtre (Grail theatre) takes its title from a book of the same name by Jacques Roubaud. While I was working on my violin concerto the book inspired me indirectly in two ways: firstly the title expresses the tension that I feel between the efforts of the composer when writing music and the theatrical aspect of a performance, especially in the case of a concerto, where the soloist, both physically and musically is playing a major role. Roubaud's interpretation of the old legend with its very personal example, also encouraged me to realise something that I had long found impossible: to bring an idea of the violin concerto, a genre with so many moving and skilful masterpieces, into my musical framework and language,

The initial source of inspiration for the piece is the playing and musicianship of Gidon Kremer, to whom the piece is dedicated.

When compared to my other music, Graal théâtre is the exception in a long row of pieces in which I combine acoustic instruments with some kind of electronic extensions. Unlike these earlier works my starting point here was the delicate violin sound and its interaction with an orchestra.

© Kaija Saariaho


Graal Théâtre: I. Delicato
Graal Théâtre: II. Impetuoso


Preview the score