Harawi is a song cycle for soprano and piano, written by Olivier Messiaen in 1945.
Harawi is the first part of Messiaen's 'Tristan Trilogy', preceding the Turangalîla-Symphonie and the Cinq Rechants (both completed in 1948). The cycle takes its name from the 'Harawi' or 'Yaravi', a love song genre of Andean music which often ends with the death of the two lovers, thus providing a vehicle from the composer's exploration of the theme of love-death central to the myth of Tristan and Isolde. These themes are explicitly stated in the work's subtitle: "Chant d'amour et de mort" ("Song of love and death"). The ideas of love-death may have had a deeper personal significance to Messiaen, whose first wife, Claire Delbos had begun to suffer from mental illness in the years preceding Harawi's composition. Though the work bears no explicit dedication to Delbos, it is impossible to consider that her condition cannot have been at the forefront of the composer's mind while working on the cycle.
The text of Harawi is Messiaen's own (as is the case for all almost all of the composer's vocal works) following Wagner's music dramas of and Debussy who set his own symbolist poetry in his four Proses Lyriques . Messiaen's text is highly surrealist, and generally comprises isolated symbols, raised to the ultimate symbolic ideal in that they are emancipated from grammatical on syntactical constructions, as demonstrated by the cycle's second movement 'Bonjour toi, colombe verte': "Etoile enchaînée, Ombre partagée, Toi, de fleur, de fruit, de ciel, et d'eau, Chant des oiseaux" ("Enchained Star, Shared shadow, Thou of flower, fruit, sky and water, Bird song.") In addition to the French text, Harawi also uses Quechua [ unreliable source? ] words, not for their semantic meaning, but for their sound, that is, their timbral qualities. For example, the fourth movement, 'Doundou Tchil', uses these two words onomatopoeically to represent the ankle bells used by Peruvian-Indian dancers. The eighth, 'Syllabes', uses repetitions of the word 'pia' to simulate the cries of apes, descending from a Quechua legend in which these animals' cries rescued a prince from danger.
A typical performance of Harawi lasts about 50 minutes; the cycle's twelve movements being as follows:
Marie Kobayashi, mezzo-soprano, and Fuminori Tanada, piano:
Yvonne Loriod, piano, and Rachel Yakar, soprano:
Carl-Axel Dominique, piano, and Dorothy Dorow, soprano:
Olivier Eugène Prosper Charles Messiaen was a French composer, organist, and ornithologist, one of the major composers of the 20th century. His music is rhythmically complex; harmonically and melodically he employs a system he called modes of limited transposition, which he abstracted from the systems of material generated by his early compositions and improvisations. He wrote music for chamber ensembles and orchestra, vocal music, as well as for solo organ and piano, and also experimented with the use of novel electronic instruments developed in Europe during his lifetime.
Jean-Henri-Alphonse Barraqué was a French composer and writer on music who developed an individual form of serialism which is displayed in a small output.
Yvonne Loriod was a French pianist, teacher, and composer, and the second wife of composer Olivier Messiaen. Her sister was the Ondes Martenot player Jeanne Loriod.
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