Back to All Events

Selections: Messiaen's Harawi

  • SongFest at the Colburn School 200 South Grand Avenue Los Angeles, CA, 90012 United States (map)

An evening of Contemporary Vocal Music featuring Messiaen's Harawi devised by Lucy Shelton. Messiaen's Harawi (Chant d'amour et de mort) is part of his trilogy of "three Tristans". As its subtitle suggests ("Song of Love and Death"), Harawi focuses on "a love that is fatal, irresistible, and which, as a rule, leads to death." Written in 1945, Harawi (for "dramatic soprano" and piano) was inspired by Béclard d'Harcourt's writings on Andean folklore and the Peruvian dialectical word "harawi" meaning "a love song in which the lover dies," as well as the composer's own suffering with his wife's prolonged mental illness that began in the years leading up to and during Harawi's composition. The twelve poems he wrote and set for pianist Yvonne Loriod, who would become his second wife, describe the painting L'Ile Invisible (Seeing is believing) by Sir Roland Penrose, which Messiaen considered a symbolic representation of the entire cycle. Messiaen's words from movement X offer a heartbreaking look in to Messiaen's inner dilemma:“…Your head inverted under the sky Your eye of star, tumbling chains, towards the stars …Far from the tableau my hands sing,Star, augmented silence of the sky. My hands, your eye, your neck, the sky” 

Earlier Event: June 12
Concert of Cage and Kagel