...and we are rotating with it (2023)
Photo: Minna Leinonen
How does 566 climate-compensated coffee cups of premiered music sound?
The starting points for this quartet were shaped by the idea of the fragile and beautiful earth and its accelerating rotation. Just over a year ago was the shortest day ever measured. Climate change is thought to be one of the reasons. In addition, the characters of the work were affected by the utopian, distant, too big and abstract things that now concern us not only in the light of updated knowledge and research, but also as the earth is changing faster and closer to the incomprehensible than ever before. In July 2023, the UN Secretary General said that the climate crisis is out of control. When writing this, global heat records are being broken and Rhodes is burning. Sometimes one must work hard to keep up with the motion, when the days seem to unreally float around. The work is a commission from the wonderful Kamus quartet for Our Festival 2023 and it is dedicated to them.
The festival measured the carbon footprint of the piece's composition process and first performance and compensated the resulting expenses. The emissions of the standard proposal were a total of 889.9 kg CO2e, of which:
- The facilities produced 291.5 kg CO2e, which also included the practice facilities used by Kamus for the piece
- The trips paid off 391.9 kg CO2e, of which 91% consisted of audience trips to the concert
- The material purchases and the accommodation of the performers and myself at the festival resulted 206.4 kg CO2e
Comparing emissions to a cup of coffee (approx. 1.57 kg CO2eq/0.2l portion)
- 566 coffee cups from the entire work
- and 56 cups of coffee per listener.
What does the future of music look like? In the light of research, it is clear that responding to climate change the world must change significantly, according to Margaret Atwood, it´s everything change. The change from carbon neutrality to carbon negativity requires the participation of the state, municipalities and cities, citizens and companies. According to the Live Music Climate Roadmap, prepared in the spring of 2023 and managed by the Jazz Association, mitigating climate change is the only way to ensure that music is also enjoyed in the future. In order to make the big wheels turn, the actions of individuals are important to make the need for change visible. This is where art comes in. When there are actions, the future picture looks positive. Making and experiencing art can turn into a carbon footprint with the help of us.
29th July 2023 Our Festival
Kamus Quartet Terhi Paldanius, 1.violin, Jukka Untamala, 2.violin, Jussi Tuhkanen, viola and Petja Kainulainen, cello
"Uncompromisingly modernist ...and we are rotating with it also works as absolute music, without a background story. Its tonal world is often fragmentary, fragile and translucent. Wild accelerations and densifications bring the necessary contrast. Kamus was also made to whistle, sing and recite at the premiere. The composer's requirement whistling while imitating the pitches played magically fit the texture."
Vesa Sirén 30.7.2023/Helsingin sanomat
In purely musical terms, Leinonen's quartet is – first and foremost – a masterful study of texture and sounding narrative. Its astonishing array of nuances gives rise to delicate ecosystem wrought of music, a delicately balanced sonorous realm utmost sensitive to the slightest disruption. The medium being the message, …and we are rotating with it resonates with timely clear-sightedness bearing family resemblance with the matinal performance of Dawns.
Emerging from deep silence, the quartet's Ethereally opening sets the dramaturgy in misty motion. The plot is to thicken soon, as the four players embark on a Stringendo passage, leading to a heated passage, itself dissolving into arpeggiated Misterioso section. However, its fleeting tranquil is to be dispersed by biting Agitato interjections, followed by a central meditation of float and playfulness. The score culminates with a massive accelerando to Frantic and fast, out of control dramatic high-point, taking the music on the verge of an abyss. Yet, this is not the end, for the quartet rounds back to its opening ambiance, signing off with Otherworldly, wonderfully closing, a postlude of subtle radiance, true to its name.