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Through the Lens: Long Song of Solitude

On Friday 6 May, we kicked off a weekend dedicated to the music and life of Canadian composer Claude Vivier. The concert featured two of his pieces - Zipangu and his masterwork Lonely Child, also referred to as his 'long song of solitude'. Between the Vivier pieces was a London Sinfonietta commission by fellow Canadian composer Nicole Lizée. The Seeds of Solitude mixed film, recorded sounds and live music to concoct a visually and musically immersive world inspired by Vivier's work and themes of paranoia, voyeurism, nostalgia, insomnia, hypnotic states, and communicating with the dead.

On the night, we were joined by the extraordinary talents of conductor Ilan Volkov, soprano Claire Booth, and the next generation of talent from the Royal Academy of Music Manson Ensemble, who sat side-by-side with London Sinfonietta musicians.

[Claude Vivier's] unmistakable aural imagination was apparent from the first bars of this London Sinfonietta concert, launching the weekend under Ilan Volkov’s expert direction. The Times
The two pieces that Ilan Volkov conducted in the London Sinfonietta’s programme, Zipangu, for 14 strings, and Lonely Child for soprano and orchestra, explore a world of complex harmonies and glowing instrumental colours that clothe the rhythmic unisons of the string piece and support the vocal lines of Lonely Child in a way that is both ritualistic and consoling. The Guardian
The performance tonight was absolutely beautiful. I didn't want it to end. Audience member
...in dealing with such themes as paranoia, insomnia and even communicating with the dead, her [Nicole Lizée] The Seeds of Solitude certainly seemed true to the spirit of Vivier. The Telegraph
In performances as magnificent and compelling as these it’s the reason why his music is by far the best reason to remember him... Opera Today
Photos: Monica Jakubowska

Published: 10 May 2022