Kerrostumat/Strata for piano quintet


Strata was commissioned by the Korsholm Music Festival 2022, celebrating its 40th anniversary. The festival theme, trees and forests, gave rise to a work whose shape in my imagination reflects the arch of life, from tiny plant to ancient tree.

Duration appr. 15 minutes

photo: Minna Leinonen

For me, the forest signifies an immaterial cultural heritage as well as a place where you can experience timelessness. The forest also feeds curiosity: the senses are tuned into sounds, colours, shapes and details, bodily sensations, scents and gifts. The infinitely varied surfaces found in the forests can also be imagined as musical textures, for instance the smooth trunk of the aspen, the wrinkled bark of the ancient fir, the soft moss and pointy spruce needles. In the process of writing the music, these textures were confronted with a very human feeling - worrying about the state of the forests after us, whether, some decades from now, cities will have trees and greeneries, or the forests will feature naturally decaying trees and carbon sinks anymore. The music grows from tiny sprouts into vibrant masses, occasionally giving voice to the tree, which starts to sing just before shedding its bark. The snag is born as the tree dies, but smaller-scale life continues: it vibrates and shimmers in the sonorous resonances within the trunk.

Strata was composed with the help of Madetoja Foundation and Arts Promotion Centre Finland, many thanks!


F.p. 31.7. at 18 Korsholm Music Festival, Vaasa City Hall

Cecilia Zilliacus, violin

John Storgårds, violin

Vicki Powell, viola

Marko Ylönen, cello

Henri Sigfridsson, piano


"Strata for piano quintet, can be seen as a musical talk about forest's essence, light and topography. Leinonen´s music takes a spontaneous grip in it and feels as modern ground nevertheless it never is wrinkle-headed or unnecessarily complex."

-Mats Liljeroos/HBL 1.8.2022

For creating diverse biotopes with all stratum one needs just these instrumental colors that Leinonen controls and transfers to musicians Storgårds, Zilliacus, Ylönen completed with Vicki Powell in viola and Henri Sigfridsson in piano. Final result becomes an enigmatic, lively texture and the sublime expression carries the history towards a massive thread or a circuit of the forest.

-Rolf Nordman/Wasabladet 2.8.2022

"Strata stunned with its powerful pictures. The sounds, life, motion and stirring of the forest took a listener to the edge of a vital and healthy nature."

-Veijo Hietala/Ilkka-Pohjalainen 2.8.2022