Gweneth Ann Rand, an acclaimed Messiaen interpreter, performs all three of his great song cycles across this Festival – beginning with his “song of love and death”, the Peruvian-inflected Harawi.

Harawi – Chant d’amour et de mort (60’)

Gweneth Ann Rand soprano
Simon Lepper piano
Rachel Jones and Cynthia Igbokwe artwork

Simon Lepper

Credit: Edward Black

Main image: Gweneth Ann Rand © Christa Holka

In 2002 at Orford Church, Gweneth Ann Rand and Simon Lepper gave an Aldeburgh Festival performance of Messiaen’s Harawi. It is a great pleasure to welcome them back two decades later, this time to the Britten Studio, beginning a series of three Messiaen song cycles across the Festival.

As with the other two song cycles that Rand will perform in this year’s Festival (on 14 and 17 June), Harawi was written for a “grand, dramatic” soprano, and the composer very often took the piano parts himself. A “harawi” is a genre of Peruvian folk music and poetry, akin to a tragedy, often dealing with lost love and the contemplation of death. The cycle of 12 songs, written in the composer's native French but featuring words from the indigenous Quechuan languages of Peru, is the last of his three song cycles for soprano and piano.

Acclaimed British artist, Rachel Jones, collaborates with curator Cynthia Igbokwe and soprano Gweneth Ann Rand for the three Messiaen recitals during the Festival (on 8, 14 and 17 June). Jones’ animated painting projections will form immersive backdrops to the performances.

General booking opens Saturday 27 January at 10am.

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