World premiere of the orchestral version of Saarikoski Songs by Kaija Saariaho

World premiere of the orchestral version of Saarikoski Songs by Kaija Saariaho
Anu Komsi
© Maarit Kytöharju

Finnish soprano Anu Komsi is a long-term collaborator with composer Kaija Saariaho. The five-movement Saarikoski Songs (2013-20), based on the poetry of Pentti Saarikoski, one of the key figures of the Finnish literary scene in the 1960s and 1970, were commissioned by Komsi, and released on her recent disc Through the Mist, which is a portrait of Saariaho’s work. The cycle, for voice and piano, was begun with a single setting of the poem Luonnon kasvot (The Face of nature), originally conceived as a standalone piece in 2013. Over the subsequent years, Saarikoski’s 1973 collection Alue (The District) provided further inspiration for Saariaho, yielding to a cycle, completed during the pandemic lockdown in April 2020.

On February 24, Komsi makes her Boston Symphony Orchestra debut in the specially commissioned world premiere of Saariaho’s own orchestrations of this song cycle. The orchestral version of Saarikoski Songs (2020) will be conducted by the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s music director Andris Nelsons and is co-commissioned by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.

Listen to Saarikoski Songs for soprano and piano from the album Through the Mist.

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