Spins and Spells (1997)
The title evokes the two gestures which are at the origin of the work on the one hand the pattern which I call 'spinning tops' turning around on the one spot or undergoing changes, and on the other, timeless moments, centered on the sound color and texture.
The entire piece unfolds either around or between these two gestures. I chose to re-tune the instrument in order to personalize the harmonic writing the fifths are replaced by structures favoring major sixths and minor thirds.
Challenged by this scodatura, the sonority of Spins and Spells reminds me of the music and the instrumental colors of another age, far older than those of the ecelllo that we know, although seen and transformed again through my own universe.
—Kaija Saariaho, 26th June 1997