Archipelago (2015)

guitar ensemble
open duration (10 min. +)

Archipelago is a very freely structured, rather minimal piece designed in part as listening study for young musicians, making almost exclusive use of the guitar’s characteristic alla campanella strumming effect. The piece consists of a sequence of gentle, modal harmonies – like musical “islands” – through which the players move quite freely, their randomized arpeggiations creating a bright, shimmering texture as the chords dissolve into one another. There is no goal, other than basking in the light of the moment from beginning to end.

Archipelago was commissioned by the East Helsinki Music Institute for its 50th anniversary. The premiere was given in November 2015 by students and teachers from the school’s guitar class, led by my longtime friend and collaborator, Mikko Ikäheimo, who still charmingly refuses to believe that I don’t know how to write for guitar.