Matinée 1

Thursday 22.10.2020 14.00 MATINÉE 1
FROM 20/18/18 €, series ticket from 70 € Espoo Cultural Centre
Thursday 22.10.2020 14.00 FROM 20/18/18 €, series ticket from 70 € Espoo Cultural Centre

Daníel Bjarnason and Missy Mazzoli are among the most interesting performing artists of our time. This concert includes Bjarnason conducting his own piano work ‘Processions’, with Juho Pohjonen as soloist. Mazzoli’s music explores the vast orbits of the solar system.

Daníel Bjarnason, conductor
Juho Pohjonen, piano
Jukka Rantamäki, host

Missy Mazzoli: Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres)
Daníel Bjarnason: Processions

We kindly ask you to check up-to-date information: Special arrangements in Autumn 2020
The program is subject to change.



Missy Mazzoli

Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres)

“For me, originality means listening to oneself. It’s not a rejection of external influences, and in fact is quite the opposite: it’s a practice of keeping an open mind to all influences, both musical and non-musical.”
Young and prominent US composer Missy Mazzoli, resident in New York, testifies to her above quote in her music, which combines elements from various styles and genres but blends them into an integrated, original synthesis. In her work, we may find post-Minimalist features coloured with inputs from indie rock, or equally well from Baroque music. The most extensive works in Mazzoli’s output are her three operas. In 2018, she became the first woman composer to be commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera in New York. This new opera is scheduled to be premiered in the next few years.
Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres) (2014/2016) was written to a commission from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and its premiere was conducted by John Adams in April 2014. The title alludes not to the symphonic genre of orchestral music but to a genre of Baroque music and also to the ancient Italian term for a hurdy-gurdy – hence the spelling ‘sinfonia’ rather than ‘symphony’. The latter part of the title refers to celestial bodies.
Mazzoli has said that this piece is “ in the shape of a solar system, a collection of Rococo loops that twist around each other within a larger orbit.” The end result is a structure of slowly evolving layers of sound floating in a weightless musical space. Towards the middle, progressively more intense motifs emerge, recalling Baroque ornaments, but eventually the music again subsides to explore the vastness of the universe. The orchestra is expanded beyond the conventional with the addition of a synthesiser emulating the sound of an organ, harmonicas and a tape recording played at the end.

Daniel Bjarnason


Daniel Bjarnason is the best-known classical composer in Icelandic music, which as a whole has emerged as a magnificently original and rich branch of musical culture in recent decades. He is extremely eclectic as a composer, working not only with classical ensembles but also with musicians in experimental rock. In his music one may find both drawn-out layers of sound and passionately pulsating energy, both lyrical brilliance and jarring roughness. His output includes orchestral and chamber music, solo works, choral works, film music and the opera Brødre [Brothers], commissioned by the Royal Danish Opera and premiered in 2017.
Processions (2009) has a strong meta-musical dimension, meaning that it consciously refers to other kinds of music and types of traditional expression, including historical musical gestures or topoi. The work may be briefly described as a modern interpretation of the grand piano concertos of the Romantic era in the spirit of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov, even if it is not actually titled a concerto. The gestures and emotional power of the music are very firmly rooted in Romanticism, but the music is also very much that of a composer of our time.
The opening movement of three, ‘In Medias Res’, starts off in the middle of the action, as the title indicates, with grand, heroic soloist gestures from the piano. The movement is colourful in expression and texture, ranging from pompously dissonant to lyrically sensitive (like a modern nocturne), from chorale solemnity to Bach-Baroque swing. The middle movement, ‘Spindrift’, provides a moment of calm with its hymn-like tranquillity, despite the music rising to two powerful culminations. The finale, ‘Red-handed’, follows without a break and emerges as a multi-layered rhythmical flurry racing forward like a fantastic mechanistic machine.


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