Kaija Saariaho (1952-2023)

Mirrors (1997)

extract from the cd-rom Prisma, for flute and cello

  • General information
    • Composition date: 1997
    • Duration: 4 mn
    • Publisher: Chester Music
Detailed formation
  • flute, cello

Premiere information

  • Date: 18 June 1997

    Allemagne, Siegen


    Camilla Hoitenga : flûte, Anssi Karttunen : violoncelle.

Program note

Mirrors is a piece written originally for the CD-Rom Prisma dedicated to my music. In the context of the CD-Rom, the user can build and play his own versions of Mirrors, by combining pre-defined fragments. Because written for this purpose, the piece is built in such a manner that it can be reconstructed in multiple versions. The fragments of the game are the passages separated with double bar.

The existing score is my own versions of Mirrors, but musicians are welcome to construct their versions of it. They should, anyway, try to follow the ideas I had about musical mirrors: there should be always a mirror in one or several of the following musical dimensions: rhythm, pitch, instrumental gesture or timbre. The mirror can be horizontal, between flute and cello (bars 4-5: rhythm mirror, bar 17: gesture, etc) or vertical (bars 57-58: timbre, bars 65-66: flute gesture, cello gesture, rhythm and pitch).

In the middle of the piece, an old poem is quoted, that became famous because of its illustration on a wall carpet, which hangs in the museum of Cluny. A woman, holding a mirror, sees its mirror image into an unicorn :

« Miroir clair -
brillant sans souillure -
dans lequel il peut se voir lui même et voir l’amour de sa Dame. »

Kaija Saariaho, 1998, Chester Music Ltd.