Gweneth Ann Rand and Allyson Devenish perform the third Messiaen song cycle of the Festival and are joined by Daniel Pioro and Nick Pritchard for an atmospheric Messiaen miniature, plus Britten Pears Young Artists perform French song.

Laura Bowler:
Glue, Gravity, Call it what you like... (2024) * First performance (11')
Quatre chansons de jeunesse (Pantomime, Clair de lune, Pierrot, Apparition) (12’)
3 Songs Op. 23 (Les berceaux, Notre amour, Le secret) (7’)
Chanson espangnole (Les filles de Cadix) (4’)
Chants de Terre et de Ciel (32’)
Le Mort du Nombre (10’)

Gweneth Ann Rand soprano
Lindsey Reynolds soprano
Nick Pritchard tenor
Daniel Pioro violin
Allyson Devenish piano
Emily Hoh piano
Rachel Jones and Cynthia Igbokwe artwork
Ben Smalley animation

Lindsey Reynolds is a Mary Mackintosh Award holder.

* Text: Sam Redway, in memory of Deborah Bowler

Main image: Allyson Devenish © English National Opera

Chants de Terre et de Ciel, a celebration of the composer’s faith and his newborn son, sits alongside the “eternal brightness” of his La Mort du Nombre and more French songs performed by Britten Pears Young Artists.

Inspired by the Messiaens’ recent marriage, the “Songs of earth and sky” celebrate the subsequent arrival of their first son. Messiaen gives each song a dedication: “for my wife”, “for my little Pascal”, “for death”, “for Easter Day”. They show the broad sweep of his faith, of his imagination, of the texts which he both wrote and set to music. The six songs together join these heavenly and earthly concepts in what one commentator, echoing the title of the fourth song, calls a “celestial rainbow of innocence”.

His La Mort du Nombre (“The death of number”) is of the same period and subject: a text by Messiaen himself, divided into a dialogue between two spirits, a meditation on the topic of both human and divine love for the newborn son.

The programme is completed by further French song by two current Britten Pears Young Artists, Lindsey Reynolds and Emily Hoh – and by the projection of artworks by Rachel Jones, the British visual artist acclaimed for her “captivating, jitteringly electric” work. She explains that “you can use colour and shape and form to speak to people in a way that isn't about a spoken language – it’s about emotion and inciting feelings that don't have to be explained or expressed. It's responsive, it’s instinctive, and a core part of all of us”.

Dates & times

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