Crimes of the Past


Crimes of the Past is a twelve-minute duo work for alto saxophone and piano. The piece studies the possibilities of combining dodecaphonic composition techniques with the expressive possibilities of jazz. In dodecaphony, the feel of freedom and independence can be achieved through avoiding the use of a functional harmonic hierarchy. A similar kind of effect may be arrived at in jazz through improvisation. The compositional starting point of the piece was the search for parallels between these two different musical worlds so that both may share the above-mentioned effects of independence and freedom.. The composer comments on the outcome: “in Crimes of the Past combining the elements of dodecaphony and jazz seemed to be leading to a somewhat “romantic” result. That was really a surprise.”

The piece begins and ends with an affective and improvisatory-like saxophone solo passage which brings a sense of symmetry to the piece’s form. The middle section is expressive and virtuosic in texture, and is often uncompromising in nature. In Crimes of the Past, the piano and the saxophone are equal; the idea of treating the piano as an ‘accompanying instrument’ has been totally abandoned.

The enigmatic title refers to the composer’s complex relationship with the genres of jazz, dodecaphony and romanticism, also suggesting that, on the personal level, the musical crimes of the past were identified, confronted and, eventually, reconciled during the course of the compositional process.

The piece also exists in an arrangement for clarinet (in A) and piano.


for alto saxophone and piano


Joonatan ja Olli 2009

Olli Virtaperko and Joonatan Rautiola at the recording session of Crimes of the Past on 28 December 2007.


Crimes of the Past Score


Crimes of the Past

Crimes of the Past, performed by Joonatan Rautiola & Marko Hilpo. Recorded December 2007 at M2 Studio of Yle Broadcasting Company; used with permission.


Duration  12’

First performance

6 July 2007 Time of Music Festival
Joonatan Rautiola, saxophone and Marko Hilpo, piano
Viitasaari, Finland

Commissioned by

Time of Music Festival, Viitasaari

Published by

Music Finland


Last performance

10 November 2012
Joonatan Rautiola, saxophone & Mikko Merjanen, piano
Tampere-talo, Chamber Music Hall, Tampere, Finland

Upcoming performances

All past performances of Crimes of the Past

6 July 2007, Joonatan Rautiola (sax) & Marko Hilpo (pno), Viitasaari, Finland
22 November 2007 (Rautiola & Hilpo), Sibelius-Academy, Helsinki, Finland
28 November 2007 (Rautiola & Hilpo), London, UK
6 December 2011 Oleg Tantsov (cl in A) & Mikhail Doubov (pno) Voronez, Russia
26 March 2012, Katia Beaugeais (sax), Sydney, Australia
10 November 2012 (Rautiola & Merjanen), Tampere Hall, Tampere, Finland