This is the first section of the five-part Tempest Songbook. Ariel’s Lament is a luminous and beguiling rendering of the air sprite Ariel’s greeting to his master Prospero, with deft instrumentation in the Flute part and virtuosic requirements of the Soprano all suffusing the space with the magical use of harp. As Ariel sings, ‘I charmed their ears.’
Kaija Saariaho is a contemporary Finnish composer living and working in Paris and much influenced by the electronic experimentation of IRCAM, although Ariel’s Lament is entirely acoustic in its instrumentation. She gained international renown for her first opera l’Amour du Loin and continues a prolific compositional life with a wide range of international performances.