In his previous works Hakola was inspired by classic, central European modernism, but from the start of the 1990s the composer began to familiarise himself more widely in musical heritage.
The Piano Concerto (1996) was a major work, which was followed by a number of inspired works, but all these seem to have been pointing the way to the nominated work: The oratorio Le Sacrifice, which draws its inspiration from what was to be the last film made by the great Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, ‘The Sacrifice’, from 1986.
The work, which is divided into 7 movements, was commissioned by IRCAM in Paris and performed for the first time by the Ensemble Intercontemporain there in 2002.
This is not an oratorio in the usual sense. The work is written for a chamber orchestra with soprano and violin solos and electronics. The latter consists of computer processed clips with famous deceased singers.
The relation to Tarkovsky’s film is not a direct composition of the events in the film but rather a musical re-writing of the atmosphere and thematic elements.
In this way Tarkovsky’s film is an obvious musical inspiration as the action is often precisely and closely interwoven with heavy atmospheric and allegorical pictures.
Hakkola himself considers Le Sacrifice to be the synthesis of all that he has written to date. This must thus be the initial culmination of an original composer’s career which started with private lessons in composition with Einojuhani Rautavaara before he was accepted at the Sibelius Academy, where he studied under Eero Hämeeniemi and Magnus Lindberg.
Kimmo Hakola was also nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize in 2000.