The works of premier Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho demonstrate a fascination with the exploration and expansion of timbral possibilities. This project explores Laconisme de l'aile and NoaNoa, the only two of her works written for solo C-flute. Saariaho has developed a unique compositional style for the flute, characterized by extremes of color which are expressed through extended techniques such as the integration of the voice, with and without text, into the music, the exploration of "noise," the transformation between different timbres, and the use of electronic effects. Laconisme de l'aile (1982) is a dramatic and passionate work filled with lyrical gestures and intriguing timbres with optional electronic effects, and is an excellent introduction to the composer's writing for the flute. NoaNoa (1992) is characteristic of her mature compositional style. Like many of her later works, the electronic aspect of the work is integral to the piece. Saariaho's exploration of the timbral spectrum of the flute has resulted in a complex and unusual style of notation, making these works somewhat inaccessible for performers. Additionally, the technological requirements for NoaNoa make the work both intimidating and impossible to perform without either extensive technical knowledge or consultation with someone who has the necessary technical expertise. Through a detailed performance guide and reference recordings of both works, this project aims to make these two works accessible. All technical specifications are explained and the performance instructions address notation as well execution of all designated effects. Additionally, instructions for the electronic portion of NoaNoa allow flutists to perform the work with minimal assistance.
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- A performer's guide to the solo flute works of Kaija Saariaho: Laconisme de l'aile and NoaNoa
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by Katayoon Hodjati