Harri Suilamo: Die Trauben hängen saftig – Bernhard-Fragmente II

April 13, 2022 / ISCM – FINNISH SECTION

Harri Suilamo (born 1954 in Uskela, Finland) initially graduated from the University of Turku with a degree in musicology, after which he continued his studies at the Sibelius Academy as a pupil of Paavo Heininen. Suilamo’s compositional output focuses primarily on chamber music. He has also composed pieces for children and young performers. By 2016, Suilamo had worked more than two decades as a lecturer in musicology at the University of Helsinki, where his teaching focused on contemporary art music.

Die Trauben hängen saftig – Bernhard-Fragmente II (2020) is a composition for the guitar in which its traditional essence as a stringed instrument has been violently modified. This concerns specifically the setting of the strings itself. From the instrument, the strings have been removed, all the strings thinner than the 6th string and replaced them with the thick ones, which are constructionally identical with the above-mentioned 6th string. This resulting totally homogeneous string setting has been tuned microtonally in a way which integrates into its system quarter, third, and sixth tones as well. The tuning system thus realised produces a relatively narrow band (only about 2 octaves) of pitches produced by conventional way of playing, even though this band is in this work expanded by the use of natural harmonics. On the other hand due to the chosen system of tuning the space of pitches becomes more dense expanding up to 45 different pitches in an octave. The extramusical ”tuning”, the inspiration for the piece has its origins in the literary oeuvre of an Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard.

Harri Suilamo: Die Trauben hängen saftig – Bernhard-Fragmente II (2020)
performed by Patrik Kleemola, altered guitar
Lemu Church, 15th December 2020