(Hysterical Mystery play)
7 solo voices : Sop, Mez, Alt, Ct ten., Ten, Bar, Bass.
Poem by Edmond Haraucourt : “Eden”, in The Legend of sexes.
Duration : 24’
Commissioned by Solistes XXI.
First performance on october 19th 2002 in La Chapelle Largeau (Festival Eclats de Voix), Solistes XXI conducted by Rachid Safir.
Publisher : Editions Billaudot
Recording : CD Soupir (Nocturne) – Les Jeunes Solistes (à centrer dans la version française)
Original pleasure opens with the motion of regular breathing, immersing us in a mysterious atmosphere of « infinite ether»; it is the original breath, the breath of God. The musical note D, a vibration born of this breath will gradually unfurl, and spread in chromatic style to greet the light of the sun, before its harmonies build up to «the concert bursting with life» resounding with great profusion. All this bears strong resemblance to the creation of the world; yet it is simply a new day dawning in Eden where we discover the first man alone and still asleep.
The breathing motion is heard again; Is it Adam snoring or the breath of his creator continuing to echo in his dreams? For God has come in the night to take a rib from him and mould his companion. Indeed there is Eve standing by him; she looks at him for a while, then becoming impatient wakes him by throwing apples. After the initial surprise («Who on earth is this new animal?»), they engage in conversation and slowly – but surely – Adam and Eve get to know each other through direct, yet ingenuous mutual observation, with the innocent curiosity of two children.
The solemn, mystical beginning slides towards a veritable erotic whirlwind: where man and woman have at last learned how to know each other and share the first pleasure of love in History.
After this, the return of the breathing at the end of the work is perceived with a much more hedonistic ear.
Eden is the third text written by Edmond Haraucourt and opens the collection of «hysterical poems » entitled The Legend of the sexes (a necessary completion of Victor Hugo’s unfinished work, according to our author).
A text with such varying moods and in such a mischievously elegant style called for a musical interpretation which is enriched by splitting the dialogue up for the seven voices of a vocal ensemble; obviously a cappella, as only the human voice can convey the warm sensuality of this first awakening with such purity.