Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus
With his Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus, Olivier Messiaen wrote an overwhelming masterpiece, a twenty-part cycle lasting no less than two hours. The music demands the utmost from a pianist: from whisper-soft chords full of mystery to overwhelming ecstasy in which the fortissimos turn the grand piano into a sound cathedral.
Ralph van Raat was scheduled to play the Vingt Regards. Unfortunately we had to reschedule the concert to March because of the lockdown. He turned out to be unavailable due to his full agenda. We found the Spanish pianist Alfonso Gómez willing to fill his place. Gómez is a prominent interpreter of 20th century and new music. For the CD label Kairos he made a magnificent recording of the Vingt Regards. He is coming to the Netherlands especially for our festival.
Messiaen started his cycle in 1944, when Paris was still occupied by the Germans. He completed the Vingt Regards a year later, after the liberation. The story of Christmas is illuminated from all angles: from the motherly love of Mary to a vision of the future in which the triumphant Jesus rushes on a fiery horse through a wild sky filled with lightning.