Emma Resmini performs NoaNoa for flute + electronics by Kaija Saariaho, with Drew Schlegel (live sound engineer) on October 30, 2016.
Composed in 1992 by Kaija Saariaho, NoaNoa immerses the listener in the vivid yet dream-like exoticism of Tahiti. The title means “fragrant” in Tahitian, and references a series of woodcuts by the artist Paul Gauguin. His travel diary of the same name provides the fragments of phrases in the voice parts of the piece. In addition to traditional playing, the flutist breathes, hisses, and whispers into the flute, as well as creating multiphonics and percussive sounds. Using a pedal, the flutist manipulates pre-recorded electronic tracks and the live sounds produced during the performance. The piece is also interactive in real-time between the flutist and an engineer who balances and processes the live-sound, resulting in a multitextured but integrated whole. Says Saariaho, "I wanted to write down, exaggerate, even abuse certain flute mannerisms that have been haunting me for some years, and thus force myself to move into something new."