How could one play the trumpet to represent the sound of someone falling into a deep well and hitting the walls on the way down? That is one of the questions that composer Kaija Saariaho has asked trumpeter Verneri Pohjola during their collaboration since early 2022. The collaboration climaxes with the premiere of Saariaho’s trumpet concerto Hush at Helsinki Festival.
All possible superlatives have been used to describe Saariaho, and she has also been voted the most significant composer of our time. Pohjola has received praise for being unique, and he has gained worldwide fame. Even though Pohjola is already known for testing the limits of his instrument, the new concerto requires him to push his expression even further. “The work requires more control than anything before it”, he explains.
The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Susanna Mälkki, who is the world’s foremost Saariaho interpreter. In addition to Hush, the concert includes Gustav Mahler’s last completed symphony, No. 9.