Magazine article Opera Canada

Poeme Pour Mi/trois Petites Liturgies

Magazine article Opera Canada

Poeme Pour Mi/trois Petites Liturgies

Article excerpt



Seattle Symphony: SSMI0I6

The Seattle Symphony under its Music Director Ludovic Morlot delivers impressive performances of these two quasi-religious works by the devout French master Olivier Messiaen, both to texts penned by the composer.

Poeme pour mi (1936-37)--which takes its tide from the tone "mi" in the solfege system and the highest string on the violin, and which also served as the affectionate nickname Messiaen gave his first wife, Claire Arrieu--is a setting of nine poems on the institute of marriage and Christian faith. Sadly, Claire suffered a brain injury near the end of WWII and spent the remainder of her life confined to a psychiatric hospital, passing away in 1959.

The work was originally designed for piano accompaniment, but this reading of the composers orchestral version brings out the unique colours and harmonies that are a hallmark of his style. Paul Schiavo, writing in the CD booklet program note, rightly points out that much of the orchestration "reflects Messiaen's lifelong vocation as a church organist. …

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