Saariaho X Koh: Chamber Music with Violin

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Jennifer Koh, a “brilliant violinist” (The New Yorker) who performs with “conviction, ferocity, and an irresistible sense of play” (Washington Post), showcases works by Kaija Saariaho, the visionary and influential Finnish composer with whom Koh has closely collaborated and feels a deep personal bond. The album offers the world-premiere recording of Saariaho’s Light and Matter for violin, cello, and piano, inspired by sunlit colors and shadows in a city park outside the composer’s window. Also receiving its first recording is the violin and cello version of Aure, meaning a gentle breeze, created for and dedicated to Koh and cellist Anssi Karttunen, another champion of Saariaho’s music. The album’s largest work is the one that first attracted Koh to the composer: the violin concerto Graal Théâtre, written for Gidon Kremer, which Koh has performed many times and performs here in the composer’s chamber-orchestra version. Grove Music Online notes that the work illustrates “Saariaho’s rich and expansive string style, but places greater emphasis on melody than earlier works.”

Tocar, Spanish for “to touch,” explores the playful and tactile aspects of the word through violin and piano. Cloud Trio for violin, viola, and cello was prompted by shape-shifting clouds in the French Alps. Saariaho X Koh is the violinist’s twelfth Cedille Records album in a discography that includes the Grammy-nominated String Poetic.



Product Description:


  • Release Date: November 09, 2018


  • Catalog Number: CDR 183


  • UPC: 735131918329


  • Label: Cedille


  • Period: Contemporary


  • Composer: Kaija Saariaho


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Curtis 20/21 Ensemble


  • Performer: Anssi Karttunen, Hsin-Yun Huang, Jennifer Koh, Nicolas Hodges, Wilhelmina Smith