Sounds from solitude

Gillian Stevens, Timo Väänänen

This concerto is in seven movements. They merge into one another, sometimes linked by solo double bass, flute or kantele. The titles may provide a starting point for a listener. They suggest symbols and images; an attempt to decribe in words something of what I meant musixally. A stream flowing and falling, clouds and sunshine, the interior of a cave which grows and re-grows, an animal symbolising rebirth, a wooden house, a lake, a transformation. All brought into being by kantele, stings, flute, drum and percussion.

As far as the solo part goes it is utterly a colloboration. I wonder at the musical alchemy, which made this procvess seems so effortless. The orchestra provides a framework; it is a partner in the dance whose steps are mainly set. The kantele moves more freely. It was given some melodies, modes to work from, rhytmic ideas and lots of space to improvise.


Gillian Stevens, translation Timo Väänänen
Taith records
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Producer: Timo Alakotila, Dylan Fowler, Timo Väänänen
Recording: Robert Vierling
Mixing: Dylan Fowler at Stiwdio Felin Fach, Timo Väänänen
Mastering: Minerva Pappi at Chartmakers


Timo Väänänen: kantele soloist
Nathan Thomson: double bass
Kristiina Ilmonen: silver flute, wooden flutes, xylophone of stones and flutes
Tiina Aho-Erola, Camilla Bäckman, Suvi Oskala: I violin
Minni Ilmonen, Marianne Maans: II violin
Hanni Autere, Tuula Riisalo: alto violin
Lea Pekkala, Marion Göbel: cello
Dylan Fowler: drum 

1. Hidden Waterfall

Comp. & arr. Gillian Stevens

Influenced by the mesmeric rhytmic patterns of Karelian style kantele playing.

2. Llanerchwen

Comp. & arr. Gillian Stevens

This reflects contrasts in the Welsh landscape and weather; slate-grey clouds over mountains and sunshine on dewy grass, all at once. The main musical material consist of rising 5ths separated by different intervals.

3. Cave

Comp. & arr. Gillian Stevens

Silence and soft but unpredictable sounds characterise this movement. The orchestral parts are set but the kantele part is mainly improvised.

4. Hollow Yew

Comp. & arr. Gillian Stevens

The yew tree is a symbol of continuity and protection.

5. Hare-leap

Comp. & arr. Gillian Stevens

The hare is rare and magical; a dancing creature symbolising fertility.

6. House by the lake

Comp. & arr. Gillian Stevens

Calm, beautiful, solitary; a place to recuperate and gather yourself for wilder darked times.

7. Till by Turning

Comp. & arr. Gillian Stevens

A transformation of the first movement.


Describtions by Gillian Stevens.