KAIJA SAARIAHO (b.1952): La Passion de Simone.
Catalogue Number: 04O076
Reference: ODE 1217-5
Description: This is Saariaho's impassioned musical response to the life and thoughts of an extraordinarily idealistic and uncompromising ascetic philosopher, Simone Weil (1909-43) who repeatedly during her brief life put herself in harm's way the better to understand the contrasts between lofty spiritual and intellectual ideas and the frailty of a human being dealing with society, politics and war. The work is structured in fifteen 'stations', dealing with different aspects of Weil's life and writings. While many of Saariaho's works revel in the luminous beauties of sound, a surprising aspect of this oratorio is that the composer's familiar vast and inventive palette of light and color is placed at the service of a far from abstract narrative, lending the work a potent sense of urgency and sense of direction. Warlike and mechanical passages of pounding ostinato rhythms contrast with achingly beautiful lyricism - the soprano role as narrator, commentator and character is especially rich in gorgeous, buoyant melody - and richly harmonized choruses, the whole illuminated by the glowing orchestration, in Messiaen-like chords and fluid incandescent timbres that are uniquely Saariaho's. Text and translation included. French-English texts. Dawn Upshaw (soprano), Tapiola Chamber Choir, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Esa-Pekka Salonen. SACD hybrid