Lauri Porra, Dalia Stasevska, Vantaan Viihdeorkesteri – Matter and Time (2024) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Lauri Porra, Dalia Stasevska, Vantaan Viihdeorkesteri – Matter and Time (2024)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 50:26 minutes | 535 MB | Genre: Classical Crossover
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Platoon

Revered Finnish composer and musician Lauri Porra has announced his new album Matter & Time, out April 19 th via Platoon. The composition is a musical love letter to the universe, using the words of the celebrated astronomer and writer Esko Valtaoja, as spoken by the actor, author and broadcaster Stephen Fry. It also features lyrical contributions from Paula Vesala.

Scored for narrator, large orchestra, choir, electric ensemble and vocal soloist, Lauri Porra’s Matter&Time takes us on a voyage from the very beginnings of the universe, the birth of the carbon atom and the first murmurings of life on earth. Over its 40 minutes across 10 tracks, we travel through the lifespan of our solar system and 100s of billions of years onward as the universe starts to die. What survives us is the love we have for one another—spelt out in binary ones and zeros. Science and human experience in perfect harmony.

Despite its scientific theme, Porra’s inspirations for his ambitious work were church mass settings, composed centuries ago when the creation story was the accepted explanation of life on earth, and everything was predestined by a supreme deity. “When you listen to music by Bach, you can sense this immense gratitude and love towards God,” says Porra.

“I wasinterested in this, the depth of love and this sacredness, but I wanted my piece to be a testament of love and gratefulness towards the universe.” Porra embarked on a quest to discover whether a person could love the universe with the same intensity of devotion. “Instead of a religious text,” he says, “I started to wonder whether I could use one based on scientific ideas.”

Originally composed in 2018, Matter & Time was commissioned and premiered by Finland’s Vantaa Orchestra, and draws on many of Porra’s musical influences, from rock and pop to cinema, and the great orchestral scores of the 20th century. In 2024 it is now released in recorded form for the very first time.

“I always think of music as a toolbox,” says Porra of his diverse musical background in classical, rock, metal, jazz and film music. “People create sound to evoke a reaction – that is the basis of music. It doesn’t change because of its style or purpose, or because of where the music is made. For me, all music is the same.”

Matter & Time opens at the dawn of time itself with ‘Beginning’. “Here we are. Here is life, here is the universe. Welcome.” Stephen Fry’s amiably authoritative voice sets us on our existential path while all around, orchestral sounds emerge like primordial life, coalescing, rising as if from nothing. Elements start to form in ‘Attraction’, where breathy vocals from singer Ringa Manner draw parallels between human interaction and the movements of atoms and particles.

We move seamlessly to ‘Energy’, with thrumming strings, drums and vocal melody, again sung by Ringa Manner, all jostling and colliding in different tempos and rhythms, mirroring the fluctuation of time throughout the universe. ‘Evolution’ takes us on a dizzying ride through billions of years from the birth of stars and planets to the beginnings of biological life, and onwards to the ascent of man, “a child of the stars, a grandchild of the universe”.

Porra’s music follows the trajectory of Fry’s powerful narration, molecules dividing and evolving to the sound of skittering woodwind and digital chatterings. And as man looks towards the stars and announces to the universe, “I am”, Porra marks this seminal moment with a hypnotic, anthemic rock motif while fantastical film music accompanies the “dance of natural selection” in what Porra calls his “ballet scene”. As man conquers space, the movement ends in a glorious union of rock and orchestral music.

A lusciously orchestrated pop song frames ‘Consciousness’, exploring the idea of the awakening mind, the realisation of self and the search for meaning. We return to Fry’s narration with ‘The End’, as the sun dies after “a thousand billion mornings” and the story of life on earth comes to a violent close.

“Perhaps,” says Fry, “matter is not the only thing that exists.” ‘Fall Of Man’ heralds a cinematic soundscape of organ, full orchestra, percussion and wordless vocals, the music descending into cacophony and chaos, on a path to self-destruction. And ‘Requiem Mundi’ (Requiem for the World) rises from the ashes, a hushed chorale scored for strings, and a lone heartbeat and culminates in a state of deep love and gratitude.

For the ‘Epilogue’, Fry theorises on the future of humankind: “Our life continues in our children and in our deeds, the life of the cosmos continues in us. How high will the fifth stage of evolution reach? Now we transform the Earth; perhaps in the far future we will transform the Universe.” But what is our true legacy? In ‘Future’, a choir intones in binary, the zeros and ones spelling out “rakkaus”, the Finnish word for “love”, wrapped up in orchestral and electronic music of ever increasing, driving energy – and pure joy. “Most of our life is a celebration of love,” says Porra. “and it’s love that gives us meaning and purpose.”

01. Lauri Porra, Dalia Stasevska, Vantaan Viihdeorkesteri – Beginning (04:24)
02. Lauri Porra, Dalia Stasevska, Vantaan Viihdeorkesteri – Attraction (01:30)
03. Lauri Porra, Dalia Stasevska, Vantaan Viihdeorkesteri – Energy (04:43)
04. Lauri Porra, Dalia Stasevska, Vantaan Viihdeorkesteri – Evolution (08:35)
05. Lauri Porra, Dalia Stasevska, Vantaan Viihdeorkesteri – Consciousness (05:59)
06. Lauri Porra, Dalia Stasevska, Vantaan Viihdeorkesteri – The End (03:22)
07. Lauri Porra, Dalia Stasevska, Vantaan Viihdeorkesteri – Fall of Man (07:39)
08. Lauri Porra, Dalia Stasevska, Vantaan Viihdeorkesteri – Requiem Mundi (06:20)
09. Lauri Porra, Dalia Stasevska, Vantaan Viihdeorkesteri – Epilogue (02:21)
10. Lauri Porra, Dalia Stasevska, Vantaan Viihdeorkesteri – Future (05:29)

Vantaan Viihdeorkesteri
Lauri Porra, direction
Dalia Stasevska, conductor
Stephen Fry, narrator


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