Main content

The music of Kaija Saariaho

Tom Service takes a journey through the beguiling music of Kaija Saariaho, from her operas exploring the big human themes to sensuous orchestral and instrumental works.

Tom Service takes an introductory journey through the beguiling sound world of Kaija Saariaho.

Finnish-born, Paris-based Saariaho's music, at once dark and dazzling, immediate and sensual, has ensured her position as one of the world's leading living composers. From operas which explore the big human themes, to orchestral and instrumental works which fuse electronic and acoustic sounds, her voice is completely distinctive and instantly recognisable, a triumph of extraordinary imagination and determination over an unpromising family background.

David Papp (producer)

Available now

30 minutes

Last on

Sun 8 Mar 2020 17:00

Music Played

  • Kaija Saariaho

    Lichtbogen for 9 instruments and live electronics

    Conductor: Jukka‐Pekka Saraste. Performer: Avanti Orchestra.
    • Finlandia.
    • FACD374.
  • Kaija Saariaho

    L' Amour de loin - opera in 5 acts

    Conductor: Kent Nagano. Performer: Berlin Radio Chamber Choir. Performer: German S O Berlin.
    • HM.
    • HMC801937/38.
  • Kaija Saariaho

    Petals for cello and electronics

    Performer: Alexis Descharmes.
    • aeon.
    • AECD0637.
  • John Chowning

    Frequency Modulation

    Performer: David Wessel.
    • IRCAM.
    • 0001.
  • Maurice Bejart

    Cross-Synthesis

    Performer: Maurice Bejart.
    • IRCAM.
    • 0001.
  • Kaija Saariaho

    Orion for orchestra

    Performer: Christoph Eschenbach. Performer: Paris Chamber Orchestra.
    • Ondine.
    • ODE11302.
  • Kaija Saariaho

    L' Amour de loin - opera in 5 acts

    Conductor: Kent Nagano. Performer: Marie-Ange Todorovitch. Performer: Berlin Radio Chamber Choir. Performer: German S O Berlin.
    • HM.
    • HMC801937/38.
  • Kaija Saariaho

    L' Amour de loin - opera in 5 acts

    Conductor: Kent Nagano. Performer: Berlin Radio Chamber Choir. Performer: German S O Berlin.
    • HM.
    • HMC801937/38.
  • Kaija Saariaho

    L' Amour de loin - opera in 5 acts

    Conductor: Kent Nagano. Performer: Ekaterina Lekhina. Performer: Berlin Radio Chamber Choir. Performer: German S O Berlin.
    • HM.
    • HMC801937/38.
  • Kaija Saariaho

    L' Amour de loin - opera in 5 acts

    Conductor: Kent Nagano. Performer: Daniel Belcher. Performer: Berlin Radio Chamber Choir. Performer: German S O Berlin.
    • HM.
    • HMC801937/38.
  • Kaija Saariaho

    Du Cristal for orchestra

    Conductor: Esa‐Pekka Salonen. Performer: Los Angeles Philharmonic.
    • Ondine.
    • ODE10472.

Broadcast

  • Sun 8 Mar 2020 17:00

Why do we call it 'classical' music?

Why do we call it 'classical' music?

Tom Service poses a very simple question (with a not-so-simple answer).

Six of the world's most extreme voices

Six of the world's most extreme voices

From babies to Mongolian throat singers: whose voice is the most extreme of all?

How did the number 12 revolutionise music?

How did the number 12 revolutionise music?

How Schoenberg opened a new cosmos for composers and listeners to explore.

Why are we all addicted to bass?

Why are we all addicted to bass?

Bass is everywhere, but why do we enjoy it? Join Tom Service on a journey of discovery.

Watch the animations

Watch the animations

Join Tom Service on a musical journey through beginnings, repetition and bass lines.

When does noise become music?

When does noise become music?

We like to think we can separate “noise” from “music”, but is it that simple?

Podcast