Overture Magazine - 2018-19 Season BSO_Overture_JanFeb_19 | Page 15

piano soloist, another soloist playing the exotic— and only recently invented — electronic instrument the ondes Martenot and an augmented percussion section containing everything from vibraphone to glockenspiel to drums and Turkish cymbals. The Boston Symphony premiered the Turangalîla on December 2, 1949, under the baton of Leonard Bernstein. Today this symphony is one of the legendary works of the 20 th century. Because of its formidable demands, a performance of it is a rare occasion. And, because of its mind-blowing effects, it is always an unforgettable one. In his almost graphic depiction of the power of love, Messiaen will introduce you to amazing orchestral colors you have never heard before and to a range of dynamics from the edge of audibility to the absolutely deafening. In the musical textures, layers upon layers of different rhythms and melodic themes are superimposed. The best way to take it all in is to simply open up your ears and your heart and drink in the sensual experience. Although much of Messiaen’s music was inspired by religious themes, Turangalîla is one of his secular works: a human love story based on the myth of Tristan and Isolde. In the 1940s, the composer, already married to the violinist Claire Delbos who was now chronically ill, met the phenomenal young pianist Yvonne Loriod in a class he taught at the Conservatoire de Paris. The two gradually fell in love, and after Delbos’ death in 1962, they finally married. But at this time, they realized their love was forbidden, just as Tristan and Isolde’s was. The rapture and tensions of this love filled the music of the Turangalîla. The exceptionally difficult piano part that is one of its most stunning components was written for Loriod herself to perform. Throughout his career, Messiaen was fascinated with Eastern cultures, especially those of India and Southeast Asia. The title “Turangalîla” comes from two Sanskrit words. As Messiaen explains, these words have multiple meanings: “Lîla literally means a game, but a game in the sense of divine workings in the cosmos, the game of creation, destruction and reconstruction, P E AB ODY SYMPHONY O RCHE STR A Saturday, February 16 at 7:30 pm Joseph Young, conductor Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Artistic Director of Ensembles Yunling Zhang, piano Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58 Aaron Copland: Billy The Kid: Ballet Reserve your FREE seats at peabody.jhu.edu/events or by calling 667-208-6620. JA N – F E B 201 9 / OV E R T U R E 13