Director: Riitta Rask

Country: Finland

Year: 2023

Duration: 80 min

Languages: Finnish, English, French / subtitled in English

Original name: Universumin kaiut – Kaija Saariahon musiikki

Category: , , , , ,

This documentary film, with an abundant wealth of composer Kaija Saariaho’s own comments and music, dissects the artist’s life. What was it like to go to a Steiner school as an extremely talented person and grow up to choose a path in music?

Due to her gender, Saariaho encounters prejudice along the way. The film examines how it was that this shy talent developed into a great composer. By making the focus Saariaho’s work, rather than her biography, it breaks the cliché of the suffering artist and instead creates a perception of a serene life filled with happiness.

Saariaho meets young musicians and imparts pithy aphorisms about an artist’s career: talent alone is not enough. In Paris, the young Saariaho found solace away from the stifling atmosphere of her home country at that time. There she also met her partner Jean-Baptiste Barrière. The prolific Saariaho has given us music ranging from operas to chamber music. Echoes of the Universe offers us a new insight into the artist’s life.

Joonas Nykänen