Songs of Earthly and Divine Inspiration

January 2019
Past event (2019)

This residency explores Olivier Messiaen’s Chants de terre et de ciel and Oliver Knussen’s Op. 25, Whitman Settings, two works that speak to each other, not only through the universal scope of their texts, but also through their rhythmic rigor and carefully developed harmonic language.

In Chants de terre et de ciel, for which he also wrote the poetry, Messiaen celebrates his earthly but eternal bond to his wife, Claire Delbos, and their exuberance and excitement at the birth of their son, Pascal. A devout Catholic, Messiaen weaves this expression joy with his deep sense of the sacred throughout the work.

The texts for Oliver Knussen’s Whitman Settings are more explicitly earthbound, although each of the four songs muses on things in space or the sky. The narrator addresses the mysterious reach of the stars and the rain, compares himself to the spider, blindly sending out filament in search of something on which to anchor, and observes two eagles finding themselves in fiercely loving alliance.

Residency Concert

Friday, January 11 | 7:30pm