The piece will premiere on 4 September 2019 at the opening concert for the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra’s autumn season. In the future, the new fanfare will be used in the Musiikkitalo Concert Hall to signal the beginning of all concerts and the end of a concert’s intermission.
Saariaho describes the writing process as an intriguing professional challenge; the fanfare is Gebrauchsmusik written for a specific space and context. Only a few seconds in duration, the piece required an enormous amount of thought. Saariaho needed to consider not only the music but also the acoustic requirements the space and context impose on the piece as well as the communicative content of the work.
“First, some of the listeners will hear the fanfare every week, some only once on an incidental visit to a concert. Second, when the fanfare sounds, the visitor may be chatting with a friend or queuing up for refreshments. However, the most important thing was eventually to make sure that the visitor recognises the difference between the first, second, and last end-of-interval fanfares,” Saariaho says.
The new Musiikkitalo fanfare was written for kantele and percussion. “I chose kantele because a Finnish instrument suits a Finnish concert venue perfectly. I also like the clear and ringing sound of kantele. Furthermore, the high-pitched, clear and metallic percussion makes the piece snappy and appropriately signal-like,” Saariaho says.
The piece was played for recording by Eija Kankaanranta on kantele and Heikki Parviainen on percussion.
The recording was made and mixed by Jori Tossavainen.