Kaarne for string orchestra (2017)

Commissioned by the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra and Kaustinen Chamber Music Week.

F.p. at the Kaustinen Chamber Music Week 2018 by the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra conducted by Anna-Maria Helsing.

Duration 10 min.

For many composers the most difficult part of the composition process is to name the new piece. For me it goes the other way round. Usually prior to composing I need a name or at least a subject which gives an identity or an impulse to the work. In this commission by the Kaustinen Chamber Music I ended up with the word kaarne, which is an ancient name for raven but also bears a resemblance to a more familiar Finnish word kaarna (the bark of a tree). I thought this association fitted perfectly for this work for string orchestra, whose instruments are almost totally made of wood. I also wanted to look for extended playing techniques which would not only create wood-like sounds but also remind of the raven´s vocalization, its wise appearance and the mythology connected to it. In different cultures this distinguised bird has been seen as a bringer of light and understanding, a shamanistic spiritual guide and a totem animal, but also as a dark, ominous bringer of death.