Concerto for organ, string orchestra and live-electronics (2012)
Dedicated to Esko Valtaoja
Movements: I -UM II On the Strand of Remoteness III Warp
Duration ca. 21 minutes
Instrumentation: Pipe organ, strings (3-3-2-2-1 minimum), MaxMSP patch (provided by the composer), microphones inside the organ, microphone for the concert master, PA equipment
Since the pipe organ itself is already a very complicated instrument featuring nowadays even computer technology to some extent, I got the idea of expanding the sonic possibilities of the instrument through technology, which makes possible to perform this concerto even with a rather modest instrument. For partially controlling the live-electronics an infrared camera is used, which tracks the motions of the arms of the organist and makes kind of flexibility in the extended organ registration possible.
The first movement -UM is based on an organum theme, which is expanded and varied throughout the movement. The second movement is based on an extremely slow blues progression and features many electronically achieved fluctuations; at the end of the movement the organist gets the possibility to control a freezed reverb of violin in a theremin-like manner with the arm. After many different very ethereal sonic landscapes all the energy concentrates around g sharp, which leads into the final movement, a toccata entitled Warp featuring the infrared controlled electronics in the most extensive manner. The concerto is dedicated to Esko Valtaoja, the former professor of astronomy at the University of Turku, whose writings greatly inspired my composition process.
Veli Kujala: Hyperorganism ALBUM ON SPOTIFY
“CybOrgan is a grand, twenty-minute space opera that truly comes to life when listened to with a Super Audio CD player and a Surround system. The organ part, performed by Susanne Kujala, seamlessly intertwines with the playing of Tampere Raw and Uusinta Ensemble’s string musicians throughout the space. The composer-programmed electronic section, reacting to live performers, serves both as a harmonious adhesive and as a distinct entity. The entirety is convincing and represents the latest and most intriguing music of today.” YLE Radio 1
“About twenty minutes long CybOrgan for organ, live electronics, and strings, along with the over three-quarters-of-an-hour Hyperchromatic Counterpoint for quarter-tone accordion and tape, vividly encapsulates Kujala’s seemingly infinite musical universes. Free from stylistic prejudices, Kujala navigates smoothly and inventively between styles, eras, and aesthetic expressions. The only temporarily irksome feature is a tendency towards repetition reminiscent of American minimalism and Pärt. However, this proves to be one of many effective and emotive parameters, and from the first notes, Kujala demonstrates that he confidently follows his uniquely defined paths. The electronic element is sophisticated and mostly imaginatively realized, although wisely, it less frequently takes on a central thematic role.” Hufvudstadsbladet
“I was pleasantly surprised and interested by the CybOrgan piece. It is a three movement work that explores music’s relation to the cosmos – the music of the spheres. This is achieved with an imaginative, other-worldly use of a string ensemble, organ and electronically generated sounds controlled by and infrared camera that responds to movement.” American Record Guide
“In his compositions, Kujala joyfully explores the entire universe, navigating the hum of spheres as effortlessly as the sweaty rhythms of world music. There’s medieval organum, the soundtrack of a low-budget horror film, electronically altered echoes, hyper-complex harmonic density, minimalist pulses, and the soundscape of an old computer game. It may seem like a considerable mishmash, but it isn’t. The wild swing, ethnic rhythms, and uninhibited imagination irresistibly draw you in. Organist Susanne Kujala, along with the seamlessly blended Uusinta Ensemble and TampereRaw string ensemble, doesn’t hold back in the pursuit of enjoyment.” Helsingin Sanomat
12.4.2014 Uusinta Ensemble & TampereRaw / Maria Puusaari, Susanne Kujala, organ Tampere Cathedral
21.10.2012 Jousia Ensemble / Janne Nisonen, Susanne Kujala, organ Helsinki Music Centre Organo