soprano and piano

Silence must precede everything

Claude Vivier

A progressive, universal poetry. Vivier never used those words but he did design the literary form and artistic practice in which poems are put together with music. In this case, Vivier used the work of turn of the 18th and 19th century German poet Novalis (author of the Hymnen an die Nacht) as his creative inspiration. The work is short—commissioned by the Tremplin Canadian Music Competition—but it takes its time with a calm that admirably reflects the significance of the poem. The piece describes a terrestrial paradise that is not the Judeo-Christian Eden but rather a state of grace, a fear of men and of protection from German parent Gods. The long held notes, penetrating silences and soft whispering contrast with the flavorful, soaring melodies. Although, a microscopic look into Vivier’s universe; this hymn can be enjoyed due to it’s gorgeous use of the German language or rather, through the pure beauty evoked by the music and his subtle interpretation of the poetic text.

Martine Rhéaume [English translation: Andrew Kobus, ii-13]

Performances