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Lecture by Niki Harlafti, MSO Composer-In-Residence

  • Banquet Hall, Boston Latvian Church 58 Irving Street Brookline, MA, 02445 United States (map)

Do you love saxophone? Do you have questions for the MSO's first-ever Composer-in-Residence? Are you curious about contemporary techniques and how these can emerge from the Baroque tradition? What does Bach have to do with the Japanese kintsugi tradition?
Niki will answer all your questions and more, in anticipation of the world premiere of her piece “Kintsugi,” commissioned by the MSO! Hear Niki's thoughts as well as live demonstrations by members of Megalopolis at this FREE event.

About Niki’s new work (to be premiered on 2/24):

“Kintsugi,” also known as “the art of precious scars,” is the Japanese practice of repairing broken porcelain and ceramics with gold. It highlights the cracks and repairs with gold, turning them into beautiful events in the object’s life. In other words, kitsugi is a projection of human resilience on the material world.
In Niki’s brand new work, the fragmented musical “object” is J.S. Bach’s famous Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor BWV 582 for organ, which has been arranged for orchestra by some of the greatest conductors in history, choreographed by Roland Petit (“Le Jeune Homme et La Mort”) and was even used in the dark baptism sequence of the Godfather (1972). The piece begins with the Passacaglia ostinato theme which, sounds somewhat “broken” and “glued” back together; the lower saxophones are just microtones apart, which results in beatings that sound like dissonant interruptions between pitches that are almost in unison. Just like baroque passacaglias, my work is in a triple meter, the low ostinato is present throughout the whole piece, and a number of variations unfold above it. However, the original Passacaglia is molded into an environment of new harmonies and contemporary rhythms, expressive effects, extended playing techniques, and more, thus creating a new, fascinating musical entity.