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The coming months see a series of performances of Claude Vivier's music across the Netherlands. The highly charged spiritual theatricality of his works brings stagings of Musik für das Ende in Toronto, Hamburg, Rotterdam and Bruges, following upon the French premiere of Hiérophanie last autumn.

The Netherlands is the focal point for the extraordinary music of Claude Vivier (1948-83) over the coming months, with a concert series presented by the Asko|Schönberg ensemble in Amsterdam, Utrecht and Arnhem. These are under the expert baton of Reinbert de Leeuw who has done much to champion the composer on stage, in concert and on disc. Highlights include a ZaterdagMatinee programme at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam on 29 February with Wo bist du Licht! and Lonely Child. An all-Vivier concert at the Muziekgebouw on 5 March is built around the urban colours of his last completed work Et je reverrai cette ville étrange, coupled with the cityscapes of Bouchara and Paramirabo.

Rotterdam’s OperaDays festival in May includes two performances of Musik für das Ende in the staging by Canada’s Soundstreams ensemble. The production by Chris Abraham combines the title score with Glaubst du an die Unsterblichkeit der Seele – left unfinished at Vivier’s death – and a monodrama written by Zack Russell, Il faisait nuit, drawing on the composer’s letters and diaries to foretell his fateful last night. The European tour, also visiting the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie and the Concertgebouw in Bruges, is preceded by a run in Soundstreams’ home city of Toronto, and plans are underway for a further international tour in 2021.

The continuing fascination with finding theatrical contexts for presenting Claude Vivier’s works brought the French premiere of Hiérophanie to Paris last September. This 40-minute score, composed at the age of 21 and unveiled posthumously in 2010, was performed by the Ensemble Intercontemporain under Matthias Pintscher. Silvia Costa’s production was a highlight within the Festival d’Automne’s second major focus on the composer, travelling onward to Berlin for a performance at the Pierre Boulez Saal.

Hiérophanie offers a window upon Vivier’s emerging talent under the tutelage of Stockhausen but, as noted in ForumOpera’s review, “this work is above all a personal delirium… nothing is too beautiful or too crazy for an artist who finds here the first elements of his poetic and emotional language”.

A new recording of Vivier's chamber works headed by pianist Alessandro Soccorsi, including Shiraz, Pianoforte, Pulau Dewata, Pièce for Cello and Piano and Paramirabo, has been released on the Brilliant Classics label (96082).

>  Further information on Work: Musik für das Ende

Photo: Ensemble Intercontemporain performing Vivier's Hiérophanie at the Festival d'Automne in Paris.

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