Step Inside the Composers Academy – Part 2

20th June 2022

Features NMC Recordings

Upcoming release Philharmonia Composers Academy Vol. 4 features brand new works from Hollie HardingJoel Järventausta, and Joceyln Campbell. Last week we heard from Hollie Harding on her piece What Was Scattered. Now it's the turn of Joel Järventausta to take us inside his piece, Pilgrim.

Rehearsal image

The sound world of Pilgrim was inspired by two works: Arvo Pärt’s Silentium from his Tabula Rasa and Pauline Oliveros’, Stuart Dempster’s and Panaiotis’ Ione, an improvisation in an extremely reverberant location. Pärt’s contemplative, consonant harmonic language may be heard in the tonal hues of my work, but more importantly it was Silentium’s  lucid form that inspired the organically unfolding form of Pilgrim. Ione’s influence can be heard in the resonant sound world of Pilgrim and in the way the accordion’s role evolves from a provider of colour and harmonic support to a soloist with a melody, a similar transformation heard in Ione.

The slow, contemplative - even ritualistic - nature of the music in Pilgrim, seemed to me much like that of a solitary pilgrimage

Pilgrim unfolds in three sections: exploration of timbre and colour followed by an introverted melodic dialogue, ending with a quiet chorale. What underpins this tripartite form is the harmonic substrate which consists of E minor as the gravitational centre and a reoccurring harmonic motif: a move from E minor to C major. All musical material is derived from the first minutes of the work and is interconnected throughout.

Pilgrim was written at the same time as my larger-scale work for the London Symphony Orchestra, Sunfall, which is explosive and dramatic in character, and more complex in design. I wrote Pilgrim  fast and with ease. Returning to Pilgrim after Sunfall, often felt like travelling to a distant, quieter land. The slow, contemplative - even ritualistic - nature of the music in Pilgrim, seemed to me much like that of a solitary pilgrimage.

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Hollie Harding

Step Inside the Composers Academy

NMC Recordings

Hollie Harding shares insights into her piece 'What was scattered'

Read here

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