Saint François d’Assise

Saint François d’Assise After the success of Des canyons aux étoiles, which was a large twelve-movement work written by Olivier Messiaen, the composer believed his next project was to write an opera. Messiaen met with Georges Pompidou, the President of France, in 1971, who persuaded the composer to write an opera for Opera de Paris,…

Messiaen and Saariaho: Operatic Underdogs Portraying God Through Chorus

Tom Service’s interview with Kaija Saariaho reveals where the composer found the inspiration and courage to compose an opera, stating “I don’t feel like an operatic composer” (13), but “it was the same with Messiaen’s opera [St. François d’Assise] which gave me confidence to write my first opera, L’Amour de loin” (8). Likewise, Siglind Bruhn…

Musical Process in L’Amour de Loin and Saint Francois d’Assisie

A first glance, the operas Saint Francois d’Assisieby Messiaen and L’Amour de loinby Saariaho, do not seem very related to one another, but there is one key connecting factor between the two: Saariaho saw Saint Francois d’Assisieand decided that she, too, could write an opera. It seems instinctual, upon learning that Messiaen’s work inspired Saariaho,…

Connections from St. François d’Assise to L’Amour de loin

  Kaija Saariaho’s first opera, L’Amour de loin, is known to be inspired by another 20th century opera by Oliver Messiaen, St. François d’Assise. Before she saw the production of this opera, production by Peter Sellars, Saariaho never really thought about composing an opera. So what changed her mind? What did she see or hear…

Music: How Much Does it Matter?

As most people know, it is typical of Western classical music to primarily perform old works by dead composers in different ways, sometimes, to the point where the music ceases to shape the aesthetic world of the work and functions as a separate entity from the music. In an effort to give audiences a new…

Musical Analysis of “Non par Notre Seigneur” from Saariaho’s L’amour de Loin

Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de Loin (“Love from Afar”) tells the tale of the romance between Jaufré Rudel, a French prince and troubadour, and Clémence, the Countess of Tripoli. Their love occurs “from afar” because Jaufré insists that he’s fallen for Clémence merely after hearing of her existence through a traveling pilgrim, who becomes the messenger…

Different Musical Approaches to a Similar Message

Kaija Saariaho is a prolific Finnish composer of 21st century music and has made a huge impact with her works. Saariaho’s first opera, L’Amour de loin, premiered at the Salzburg Festival on August 15th, 2000. The plot can easily be understood by the translation of the title, L’Amour de loin, meaning “love from afar.” This…