LA Phil Blog

Saariaho

Saariaho

Patricia Kindel and Monica KaenzigMy favorite part of this tour has to be the songs by Saariaho [Quatres instants], which were sung fantastically by Karita Mattila. It is both a musical moment and, oddly enough, a visual one too, that will live on in my memory.

These songs were new to us. We had a rehearsal in L.A. in October, then two weeks later, a rehearsal in Paris. To watch Karita and Esa-Pekka interact was delightful. They spoke Finnish to each other, laughing like two friends who just love the opportunity to work together.

The performance at the Barbican felt electric from the start - partly because of the two rehearsals weeks apart, and partly because of Karita: she looked stunning and has a presence on stage that takes your breath away.

My favorite memory for the tour was a very passionate movement that ends on a high note (a note we had not heard before, because Karita had a cold a week earlier). Tonight we heard it. Finishing the song on that high note, she spun around to face us with her eyes closed and frozen in movement. EP had frozen as well, with his arm outstretched to the corner of the podium rail. Neither moved. As Karita slowly turned towards EP their eyes locked. We were all frozen - no one breathed for what seemed like forever. Karita finally turned to the audience, still gathering her composure. EP regained his poise, and we in the orchestra did as well.

We were all immersed in that moment... a magical moment.