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The title in Sanskrit signifies a love that in its desire and pleasure surpasses life and death. Messiaen was also inspired by religious mysteries and Mexico’s ancient stone monuments when he wrote the symphony for the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the late 1940s.
Magnificent music for a large orchestra that includes the tamtam, vibraphone and celesta with a virtuoso piano part and solos for the ghostly electronic instrument ondes martenot, a forerunner of the synthesizer.
The ondes martenot (in french “Martenot waves”) is an early electronic musical instrument invented in 1928 by Maurice Martenot. The original design was similar in sound to the theremin. The sonic capabilities of the instrument were later expanded by the addition of timbral controls and switchable loudspeakers. The instrument’s eerie wavering notes are produced by varying the frequency of oscillation in vacuum tubes.