Gates is the second section from the ballet MAA, scored for Chamber group, tape and live electronics. Written in 1991, commissioned by the Finnish National Opera, this work beautifully demonstrates the poeticism of Saariaho's music with a sensuous calm that permeates throughout.
MAA translates from Finnish into world, earth or country. It is a complimentary title as the ballet does not have a plot as such, rather it is built around thematic archetypes such as doors, gates, stepping into new worlds, journeys and the crossing of waters.
Gates can be played either as an acoustic or, often preferably, an amplified version. The acoustic version is suitable for small and resonant halls, or in a context of e.g. an early music program, in which case the piece can also be played on original instruments. This is the Full Score for one of Kaija Saariaho's most major works to date.