Track listing Awards Press review Complete description Also recommended...

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Kaija Saariaho
Notes on Light


Finnish contemporary


Booklet with liner notes and the sung text in English, French, German and Finnish


September 2008

Catalogue No.:
ODE 1130-2


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Track listing

Notes on Light, for cello and orchestra (2006)
I. Translucent, secret

II. On fire

III. Awakening

IV. Eclipse

V. Heart of Light

Orion, for orchestra (2002)
I. Memento mori

II. Winter Sky

III. Hunter

Mirage, for soprano, cello and orchestra (2007)

Also recommended...


MIDEM Classical Award 2009
Gramophone 'Editor's Choice'
Opéra Magazine 'Le Diamant d'Opéra'
Pizzicato 'Supersonic Award' '10 • 10 • 10'

Press review

A brilliant trio of works by one of the most luminous voices of the 21st century. Karita Mattila sings the song cycle Mirage with lustrous intensity; cellist Anssi Karttunen grips in the concerto Notes on Light and conductor Christoph Eschenbach sculpts the orchestral adventures of "Orion" with conviction.
Neil Fisher and Richard Morrison, Times Online, November 21, 2009, The ten best classical albums of the Noughties: second position

Mirage. Mais quelle pièce ! L'Orchestre de Paris y sonne somptueusement, sous la direction de son chef, Christoph Eschenbach, d'une remarquable énergie. (...) Le formidable talent de Karita Mattila s'y déploie audessus d'un prchestre très réactif et du lacis d'arabesques surgissant du violoncelle d'Anssi Karttunen. (...) Ensorcelant !
Claude Glayman, Opéra Magazine, Février 2009, Le Diamant d'Opéra

Karttunen (...) is particularly impressive in the slower movements (of Notes on Light), where his restless, ever-evolving sounds respond with quicksilver ease to the fleeting orchestral textures. (...) Karttunen brings a lithe muscularity to the energetic, volatile cello part (of Mirage) that seems ready to explode into life at any moment.
The Strad, February 2009

Extremely refined, appealing music by one of the world's foremost composers in inspired, colourful and highly emotional performances.
2009 MIDEM Classical Award, Best Contemporary Music

Kaija Saariaho (beweist) ihre Fähigkeit Farben mit unendlich vielen Nuancen zu begegnen, ihre Kunst, Raum und Zeit miteinander zu verschmelzen (...). Christoph Eschenbach (...) erweist sich als der ideale Interpret für Saariahos Musik.
Alain Steffen, Pizzicato, December 2008, Supersonic Award

Karita Mattila brings Saariaho's hypnotic score to vibrant life, swooping and gliding effortlessly, imparting a palpable exaltation. (...) Eschenbach and the orchestra support the soloists beautifully. (...) It's music that manifests beauty and feeling in every note.
Robert Schulslaper, Fanfare Magazine, November/December 2008

Diese Aufnahme der Uraufführung (von Mirage) könnte überzeugender nicht sein. (...) Damit erweisen sich nicht nur Kaija Saariaho wieder einmal – und immer mehr! – als eine Orchesterfarbkünstlerin von großer Versiertheit, sondern auch Orchester wie Dirigent als vorzügliche Anwälte dieser Musik.
Tobias Pfleger,, November 6, 2008

Three recent works by the Paris-based Finnish composer demonstrate the icy beauty of her sound-world. (...) Eschenbach and the Orchestre de Paris paint the music with pointilliste skill.
Andrew Clark, Financial Times, November 8, 2008

Kaleidoscopic orchestral colour (...) is a dimension in which Christoph Eschenbach excels, and demonstration recording quality of the kind Ondine supplies is the other notable ingredient in this compelling programme.
David Fanning, Gramophone, November 2008, Editor's Choice

Extremely refined yet bold orchestral texture, densely radiant continuums of sound, are Saariaho’s stock in trade, and these pieces epitomise it.
Paul Driver, The Sunday Times, October 19, 2008, Records of the Year

(Mirage) caters ideally for Mattila's sense of drama. Conductor Christoph Eschenbach excels also in Orion (2002), a gripping essay for orchestra.
Michael Kennedy, The Sunday Telegraph, September 28, 2008

The soloists, orchestra and conductor find a magnificent way into the heart of Saariaho's music.
Risto Nordell, YLE Radio 1, September 11, 2008

Saariaho has always had an extraordinary ear for a beauty of sound, best described in terms of light.
Martin Cotton, BBC Music Magazine, September 2008, Performance**** / Sound ****

Complete description

Following the acclaimed 2006 song cycle Quatre Instants (ODE 1100-5), the latest collaboration from star soprano Karita Mattila and her compatriot Kaija Saariaho is Mirage, the setting of a trance-induced incantation by the Mexican healer María Sabína (1894-1985). This recording features the work's world première performance from March 13th, 2008 in Paris. The ecstatic 15-minute piece is written for soprano, cello and orchestra, featuring cellist Anssi Karttunen and the Orchestre de Paris under its music director Christoph Eschenbach - one of today's greatest champions of contemporary music.

Following the U.K. première performance of Mirage, The Times raved, "Few singers other than Mattila will be able to hurl the voice into such high ecstasy, bend its tones and express the entire transformation in such racked yet exultant body language. (…) this is a small but important work in Saariaho's increasingly fruitful development." (Hilary Finch, The Times, March 24, 2008)

Anssi Karttunen also performs Notes on Light, the cello concerto that Saariaho wrote for him in 2006. Its New York première by Anssi Karttunen, on 14 August 2008 during the Mostly Mozart Festival, was listed by The New Yorker among the ten best classical-music performances of 2008.

Also featured on this CD is Orion, the largest orchestral work Saariaho has written to date.

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