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Messiaen Éclairs sur l'Au-delá

Sir Simon Rattle/London Symphony Orchestra

Photo of Sir Simon Rattle conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in the Barbican Hall

Éclairs sur l’Au-Delà … is the last piece Messiaen ever completed, and it’s monumental in all senses of the word.  

‘I imagined myself in front of a curtain, in darkness, apprehensive about what lay beyond: Resurrection, Eternity, the other life.’ That’s how Messiaen described his inspiration for Éclairs sur l’Au-Delà … . Scored for a gigantic orchestra of over 120 musicians, it melds the composer’s fascinations with Roman Catholic theology and ornithology, the study of birds.

Densely orchestrated chorales mingle with rushing birdsong notated by Messiaen in the Australian countryside. At the centre of the work sits the seventh movement, ‘Seven Angels with Seven Trumpets’, which displays the composer at his most theatrical. With grave-cracking drum strikes and loud brass, this is a truly cosmic vision of what an afterlife might sound like.

Duration to be confirmed closer to the event.

Supported by the Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne

Barbican Hall