Graal théâtre (chamber version)

Work Notes Dedicated to Anssi Kartunnen
Publisher Chester Music Ltd
Category Soloist(s) and Large Ensemble (7 or more players)
Year Composed   1997
Duration 25 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)  Violin
Orchestration 1(pic).1.1+bcl.1/2.1.0+btbn.0/2perc/
Alternate Orchestration  violin; 2232/4221/4perc/
Availability Hire

Programme Note
Graal théâtre (chamber version) (1997)

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 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 is playing a major role both physically and musically. 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 skillful masterpieces, into my musical framework and language.

When compared with my other music, Graal théâtre is the exception in a long row of pieces in which I combined acoustic instruments with electronic elements. Unlike these earlier works, my starting point here was the delicate violin sound and its interaction with the orchestra.
The initial source of inspiration for the piece was the playing and musicianship of Gidon Kremer, to whom the work is dedicated.

Kaija Saariaho
Paris, 1995