Commissioned by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Dedicated to Eriikka Maalismaa

Movements: I Rendezvous, II Nocturne, III At the Threshold, IV “…to aUsEil…”

Instrumentation: violin solo+2222/2210/1+2/00/str
Duration ca. 26′

 

The additional title of my violin concerto, ‘Auseil’, refers to the horror short story The Music of Erich Zann by the author H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937), about a strange violist who is a tenant in a building on Rue d’Auseil and works for the local theatre orchestra. The narrator of the novel stays in the same house, hears Zann’s peculiar playing through the walls and gets to know him. The story has strongly influenced the atmosphere and dramaturgy of the concerto, but some dark events from my personal life were at least as present during the composition process. The violin solo part is written for a ‘scordatura’ tuning, in which the lowest string of the violin is tuned a whole tone lower than normally, making the overall tone of the violin slightly darker. The concerto is dedicated to the fantastic Eriikka Maalismaa.

 

Konserttoni lisänimi ‘Auseil‘ viittaa kirjailija H. P. Lovecraftin (1890-1937) novelliin The Music of Erich Zann, joka kertoo Rue d’Auseilin varrella sijaitsevassa rakennuksessa vuokralaisena majailevasta omituisesta alttoviulistista, joka on töissä paikallisessa teatteriorkesterissa. Novellin kertoja majoittuu samaan taloon, kuulee seinien läpi Zannin omalaatuista soittoa ja tutustuu häneen. Tarina on vaikuttanut vahvasti konserton tunnelmaan ja dramaturgiaan, mutta eräät synkät henkilökohtaisen elämäni tapahtumat olivat vähintäänkin yhtälailla läsnä sävellysprosessin aikana. Soolo-osuus on sävelletty tavanomaisesta poikkeavalle ns. scordaturaviritykselle, jossa viulun matalin kieli on kokosävelaskeleen matalammassa vireessä muuttaen viulun yleissävyn hieman tummemmaksi. Konsertto on omistettu fantastiselle Eriikka Maalismaalle.

Past performances:

Oct 5 2023        Oulu Sinfonia/De Ridder, Maalismaa                                       Madetoja Hall, Oulu (FI)

Dec 10 2022      Vaasa & Seinäjoki Orchestras/Djupsjöbacka, Maalismaa     Seinäjoki Hall (FI)

Dec 9 2022       Vaasa & Seinäjoki Orchestras/Djupsjöbacka, Maalismaa     Vaasa City Hall (FI)

Nov 1 2019        Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra/Vänskä, Maalismaa            Helsinki Music Centre (FI)

Reviews

“Kujala’s concerto is strange music in a tantalising way, which is possible for a film dominated by a strange atmosphere. The Auseil concerto is not like an accompaniment to film music, but its narrative and strong atmosphere can be thought of as a film in the form of music. At the same time, it fulfils the function of a traditional concerto… Kujala has freely harnessed many techniques in the service of her peculiar storytelling. Microintervals sound appropriately quirky and natural, not impure. Cinematic swells have a touch of horror-romantic glow. In the second part, there is a night’s silence that is not actually silence. Random noises are heard in the creaks of the strings under pressure. The orchestration is skillful, colorful, and precisely targeted. Powerful imagery is created using simple means… Maalismaa played the exceptionally difficult, restlessly moving solo part with mastery, as if in a trance, embodying the main character of the story plagued by restless visions.” Helsingin Sanomat/Jukka Isopuro

“The concerto is inspired by a short story by H.P. Lovecraft, a representative of Gothic horror literature, and although the work does not actually exorcise Cthulhu, the composition is set in a dark and haunting mood. Eriikka Maalismaa was the artistically intense soloist in the concerto, whose interpretation ranged from ethereal beauty to the manic sawing heard towards the end of the concerto in particular. Maalismaa was also able to rise to the challenge of the orchestra, which at times played very massively. There were touchingly magical moments, especially in the work’s extensive solo cadenza.” Kaleva/Hannu Hirvelä