Following the previous concert, I rejoiced in having the PSO take center stage through an entire program, not sharing the stage with any soloist. I also made the point that it was the only concert of this season "allowing" this great orchestra to do so.
Last concert taught me to "hold my horses" and not jump to conclusions, especially before attending a concert of unfamiliar music.
The title of Massiaen’s orchestral poem was deceiving to the uninitiated: ‘Turangalila-Symphony for Piano, Ondes Martenot and Orchestra’, Not ever having heard this music before & reading the title, where the piano & the ondes martenot precceded the word ‘orchestra, I concluded that the pianist, Marc-Andre Hamlin and Jean Larendeau, the performer of the ondes martinot, will surely be the star soloists. I was wrong.
‘Turangulila’ is a monumental orchestral work where the "official" soloists are integrated in the orchestra as I haven’t ever experienced before.
As I usually do prior to listening to unfamiliar music, I did not read the program notes, wishing to absorb it without any written text, even those of the composer. I did, however go on stage prior to the concert & observed Jean Laurendeau introducing the unique instrument: ondes martenot, and was amazed of the range of its sounds & variety of pitch. I welcomed Daniel Meyer’s pre-concert introduction to the music’s main theme: Wagner’s adopted mythological narrative of Tristan & Isolde and Sir Andrew Davis’ commentary on the composer & his music.
But, when the music started all vanished and I was left to absorb the music filling up the space. The experience was so overwhelming in its enormity that I became totaly detached from the physical environment. It was a unique feeling, hard to articulate in words: Time past without feeling Time. Was it a glimpse of knowledge of infinity? the Divine? the entire universe? It was all those and even more. It was the power of music, live music, which as far as I feel, is the ultimate expression of Being One with world. Later, reading the program notes, I accepted Messiaen’s religious absorption in the existence of God. For me, his music expressed the only language of humanity experencing love.