Musica nova Helsinki

Musica nova Helsinki

Thu 04/02/2021 19:00 - 20:30

Introduction

Conductor André de Ridder is the founder of the s t a r g a z e musical collective and a curious and innovative concert curator. The artistic director of the Musica nova Helsinki-festival brings works that require electricity and video screens. Anna Meredith's piece sheds light on the moments between yesterday and tomorrow. Composer Simon-Steen Andersen dropped a grand piano from an eight metres height onto a concrete floor, recorded and filmed this, and used it as the big bang and material for his piano concerto. 

Live broadcast at Yle radio 1, Yle Areena & HKO Screen mobile app.

Edgard Varèse: Déserts 

Moving to the USA from his native France in 1915, Edgard Varèse (1883–1965) dreamt of creating new soundscapes, handling chords and gestures like rocks to be scattered here and there, broken up and put together again. The result? On critic called it “a catastrophe in a boiler factory” and another “shrieks from a zoo”. Not until the 1950s did his music really become appreciated, thanks to the potential of electronic music and the new young generation. He became a cult composer admired by the likes of Boulez, Stockhausen and Charlie Parker. He wrote Déserts in the early 1950s for winds, percussions, piano and electronic tape, originally as the soundtrack for a film about deserts on earth, in outer space and the inner mind. The critics at the premiere in Paris in 1954 had not a good word to say for it, but it has later won classic status. It consists of sequences of organised orchestral sound interspersed with optional ones for tape. 

Film director, photography and editing: Ville MJ Hyvönen
Timelapse photography: Samuli Alapuranen, Janne Hirvonen
Drone photography: Taavi Varm
Animation: Antti Jädertpolm

Simon Steen-Andersen: Piano Concerto 

“I try to make shifts in perspectives, put things in different lights,” says Denmark’s Simon Steen-Andersen (b. 1976), a leading Nordic contemporary composer. “And that very much overlaps with what we understand as funny. In general, I’m looking for those moments where we get small amounts of endorphins released into our system. It’s this joyful moment where things fall into place, or you experience something familiar anew.” Steen-Andersen has won numerous prizes and a reputation for works that combine art music with performance and multimedia. The premiere of his Piano Concerto (2014) was quite a sensation, for it is anything but traditional. The very opening is shocking: a video of a concert grand being dropped onto a concrete floor from a height of 8 metres. “I bring the listener inside the ruined instrument to experience sounds which we normally don’t come close to,” he explains, and goes on to say that his music should not be taken too earnestly. 

Anna Meredith: Four Tributes to 4am 

Scotland’s Anna Meredith (b. 1978) made her breakthrough at the BBC Proms in 2008 and is the award-winning composer of art and dance music, string quartets and body percussion works. To keep her ideas fresh, she almost never listens to others’ music. “People say to me, ‘oh you must’ve heard this,’ but I’ve never heard any of it, which is actually useful, because I honestly want to say I’ve made this stuff out of my own passion and excitement about the musical dots and material, rather than fashion or trend.” Four Tributes to 4am (2011/2019) was a commission from the British Sinfonia Viva and is scored for chamber orchestra and electronics accompanied by a film made by Ewan Jones Morris and Colette Vermeulen. It is a “bold and atmospheric work that explores the crossover point between yesterday and tomorrow, at the deadest part of the night”. The streets are empty, the shop windows gaze blankly out, and the clubbers are teetering home. 

Film: Anna Meredith

Artists

André de Ridder
conductor
Nicolas Hodges
piano

Programme

    19:00
    Edgar Varèse
    Deserts
    Anna Meredith
    Four tributes to 4am
    20:30
    Simon Steen-Andersen
    Piano Concerto
HKO Screen
André de Ridder
Nicolas Hodges
Edgar Varèse
Deserts
Anna Meredith
Four tributes to 4am
Simon Steen-Andersen
Piano Concerto