The cantata The Plague is based on the novel of the same name by Albert Camus, an author with whom Robert Gerhard always showed a great affinity. In the words of the composer, “The Plague is a fable and, as in all fables, animals stand in for humans. This is not a tale of rats, but of humans. It is a tale of our time. However, it cannot be a story with a victorious ending, but rather an eternal defeat.” With music of extraordinary intensity and with the same absolute validity and topicality as the novel by Camus, The Plague is one of the composer’s greatest works, the synthesis of the musical and human journey throughout a whole life by the most internationally-renowned Catalan composer. Carry on reading
Les illuminations (The Illuminations), by Benjamin Britten, is based on a collection of fragments of poetic prose by Arthur Rimbaud. The reading of Rimbaud’s poetry by the composer was deeply striking, to the point of being one of the mainstays of all his work: a universe filled with visions and enigmatic and suggestive figures. The phrase “J'ai seul la clef de cette parade sauvage” (“I alone have the key to this savage parade”), which closes the “Parade”, the eighth movement of the play, becomes a key foreshadowing access to the fascinating world of Britten, far beyond Les illuminations.