Commissioned by Estonian Music Days Festival 


Triin Ruubel, Juta Õunapuu-Mocanita


Solo Instrument(s) and orchestra

​Sub category

String Orchestra




11 minutes


2 solo violins, str(


First performed

12 April 2015, Studio 1 of Estonian Public  Broadcasting, by Triin Ruubel (violin) and Juta Õunapuu-Mocanita (violin), by Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Atvars Lakstīgala

Program notes
Stiihia is a state characterized by uninterrupted action of forces; existence of elements of chaos in a system and the freedom that follows. Thematic material of the piece has been derived from such phenomena, initiating from the etymology of the word στοιχεῖον/stoicheion (stiihia as equivalence in composers’  native language), used in ancient philosophy for basic elements. Plato counts up Fire, Water, Air and Earth, Aristotle adds a fifth element – aether, or quintessence. According to Japanese Buddhist tradition, the elements (godai, “five greats”) are Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Void – emptiness or heaven. 
​The piece was commissioned by Estonian Contemporary Music Festival Estonian Music Days for the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and Estonian two of the most spectacular violinists −  Triin Ruubel-Lilleberg (present concertmaster of Estonian Symphony Orchestra) and Juta Õunapuu -Mocanita (violinist of Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne and member of Cologne Chamber Soloists).

Elis Hallik took a similarly focused and direct approach to texture in her Force of Nature (ed. Elements). Here, the guiding idea was a rhythmically irregular bariolage effect, in sudden outbursts that bounce back and forth between adjacent strings of the instrument. This idea was also passed around, both between the two soloists, and from them to the individual players of the ensemble. The resulting sounds were brittle, often aggressive, but just as often imbued with a gentle, almost spectral radiance.”
Gavin Dixon, Bachtrack