Turangalîla, Turangalîla! The Force, the Force!

Rey, the female hero feeling the awakening Force, is fighting for her Tristan. © Charles Thibo
Rey, the female hero feeling the awakening Force, is fighting for her Tristan. © Charles Thibo

Star Wars at the Philharmonie de Luxembourg? Not quite, but the first movement of Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony truly reminded me of the battle between good and evil, laser swords drawn, and the eery, spacey soundtrack of Episode VII. It was even more impressive yesterday evening, when performed live by the Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela under Gustavo Dudamel with Yuja Wang at the piano and Cynthia Miller  on a device called “Ondes Martenot”  (Martenot Waves) than on my recording of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under Riccardo Chailly. This music is very powerful and has had a lasting impression on me, especially in its many subtle tones.

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