The Bells Bow Down

Album cover art for upc 726708603625
Catalog: INN036

Ouzounian, Karen; Aizuri Quartet; Kozasa, Ayane; Kim, Adrienne; Gleicher, Isabel

In an interview with the Hong Kong website Interlude, Ilari Kaila said, “I hope to never write music that doesn’t feel personal.” The Finnish-born composer was talking, on that occasion, specifically about The Bells Bow Down (Kellojen kumarrus), a single-movement work for piano quintet composed in memory of his friend, pianist Hanna Sarvala. But as each of the works here shows, Kaila’s vision is intensely personal, as is his musical language and style. Much of his work is shaped by extra-musical stimulus: his grief for a lost friend; visual and aural images celebrating the natural world; a love of the (sometimes multilingual) punning title. He has a strong awareness of music from outside the Western classical canon; he creates striking harmonic effects from within the diatonic system, and he has a keen ear for subtle gradations of sound, especially those made possible by the string family.—Gordon Kerry, excerpted from the liner notes. Ilari Kaila (b. 1978) is a Finnish-American composer who has written chamber, orchestral, vocal, and stage music. His music has been described as “haunting”, “intriguing”, “engaging ... soulful” (The New York Times), “powerfully resonating” (Helsingin Sanomat), and “melodically euphoric” (Rondo Classic). Kaila received his PhD in Music Composition in 2011 from Stony Brook University, New York, having previously studied at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Between 2011 and 2014, he taught at Columbia University and as a teaching artist with the New York Philharmonic, before moving to Hong Kong where he currently works as Composer-in-Residence on the faculty of the School of Humanities at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

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