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Karen Kamensek / Denise Biffar

The Elements

Brussels Philharmonic, Karen Kamensek, Eline Groslot

The four elements inspire and intrigue us. Earth, air, fire and water – they are all around us, permanently present and tangible, but also full of mysteries and secrets. In many religions, such as the Tibetan, there is a fifth element that brings everything together: “Vajrayāna or Ether is the all-embracing state of equilibrium and calm,” according to the young French composer Camille Pépin. He based Vajrayāna on the five elements, with a separate musical motif for each element and a rhythm that symbolises the heartbeat of nature.

A homage to nature and scientists that study its secrets can be seen in The Light by Philip Glass. “A musical portrait of Albert A. Michelson and Edward W. Morley, whose experiments in 1887 unravelled the speed of light, as well a portrait of a historical turning point and the birth of modern science.”

Nature, the source of the elements, also served Claude Debussy as an inexhaustible source of inspiration. In La Mer, he shows that he is a master of suggestion: he does not paint an exact portrait of the sea, but evokes an atmosphere. Airy and smooth – with menacing clouds, splashing water and a wind that casts a silty haze over the surface of the water.

Flagey, Brussels Philharmonic

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