Commissioned Musequal Festival (Kokonainen)
Opus number 47
Category Chamber Music
Year 2016
Duration 14
Orchestration violin & viola
Availability Gehrmans Musikförlag

Program note

Celestial Beings was commissioned by the first Musequal Festival organised in 2016 for the two founders: Linda Suolahti and Mari Viluksela, a duo for violin and viola. The name of the piece is “Celestial Beings” and the movements are named after the greek goddesses, by which they were inspired: I.Aphrodite II.Persephone III.Athena.  

The idea behind the commission was that the piece would in some way address femininity and particularly ‘divine femininity.’ After giving it some thought, I decided to approach this request based on ancient Greek myths, as these stories have fascinated me with their abundant and colorful events since childhood. The piece thus took shape as a series of three portraits, each dedicated to a goddess.

The goddess of love, Aphrodite, was born from the waves of the sea, and her playful nature and beautiful presence are enchanting. However, she is also temperamental and can be a quick-tempered wielder of power.

Persephone, the daughter of the god of grain and fruits, Demeter, is abducted from the world of the living to become the wife of Hades in the Underworld. She spends four months of the year in the Underworld, during which time her mother prohibits the plants from growing. When Persephone returns home after four months, the plants can grow again – spring has arrived.

The king of the gods, Zeus, suffers from a headache and decides to strike an axe into his head to relieve the pain. From this self-help act, Athena is born, the goddess of war, knowledge, and wisdom, already dressed in battle gear at her birth. In war, everything is allowed, and the cunning symbols of the snake and spider are often associated with the majestic and wise Athena.

 

Reviews

 

Cecilia Damström’s “Celestial Beings” was an intense and intriguing encounter between the violin (Sofie Sunnerstam) and the viola (Mina Luka Fred). Up high through flageolet tones flickered and fluttered as first Aphrodite took form, gradually intensifying. Thoughtfully applied, extended playing techniques with whistles and whispered hisses then bridged towards a more enigmatic manifestation of Persephone, repeating the structure of the first part with a short but meaningful coda. As knowledge and wisdom arrive, the atmosphere livens, and the brisk initial sequence of Athena condenses into pizzicato playfulness.

Jari Hoffrén, JälkiKAIKUJA korvaKÄYTÄVILTÄ Blog 3.8.2023

 

Damström’s Celestial Beings (2016) for violin and viola presents the listener with scintillating sonic threads, some played on strings, others hummed and whistled, yielding to the most refined aural experience.

Jari Juhani Kallio, Finnish Music Quarterly 25.5.2022


 

Performances

27th of August 2016 World premiere at Hämeenlinna City Hall by Linda Suolahti and Mari Viluksela at the Musequal FestivalMore info

CANCELLED – 6 of December 2020 at Janakkala Church – More info

21st of May 2022 at Janakkala Church by Linda Suolahti and Mari Viluksela at the Musequal FestivalMore info

23rd of November 2022 by Norrbotten NEO at the Schauman Hall at the RUSK festivalMore info

25th of November 2022 by Norrbotten NEO at Jakobstad’s Museum at the RUSK festivalMore info 

9th of July 2023 by Norrbotten NEO at Viitasaari Chruch at the Time of Music festival More info

23rd of November 2023 “Unrecorded.” Album Release by Linda Suolahti – More info

24th of Februaru 2024 “Unrecorded.” Album Release ConcertMore info