A Song of Love and Death
I am ecstatic to announce that on January 16, 2014, pianist Karl Larson will be performing Olivier Messiaen's Harawi in Ann Arbor, Michigan - at Kerrytown Concert House!
Olivier Messiaen’s immense song cycle Harawi (1945) is the first part of what has become known as the “Tristan trilogy” - followed by Turangalîla Symphony and Cinq Rechants. Exploring tropes of love and death, Messiaen ecstatically blends borrowed Peruvian folklore and melodies with themes from the Tristan/Isolde fated-love story. The project was extremely personal for Messiaen – as he composed Harawi, his wife Clair Delbos was beginning to succumb to the long illness which eventually took her life. Additionally, the pianist for whom he wrote this and many other works, Yvonne Loriod, later became his second wife. His text explores ideas of fated love and death, invoking surreal images and descriptions of color, exotic sounds and incantations. Harawi makes monumental demands of both singer and pianist, and we are thrilled to present this true treasure of 20th century literature.
The text to mvt. X of Harawi, “Amour oiseau d’étoile”, describes the above painting -Sir Roland Penrose’s “Seeing is Believing (L'Ile Invisible)”. Having viewed the painting in an art journal, Messiaen considered this image to symbolically represent the whole of Harawi.
“…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”
Samples of our work on Harawi: Audio, mvt. II