“TORONTO — Death-haunted, drawn to danger and desperate for connection, with his ceremonies in sound charting transitions from life to something beyond it, the Canadian composer Claude Vivier should be the great downer of modern music.
But so shimmering are Vivier’s drones, so sweetly childlike his invented languages and mystical geographies, so energetic his need to communicate his cravings and insecurities, that the effect is one of warmth rather than dread. He’s not trying to scare or sadden us; he wants to be our friend.
Beginning in 1971, when he wrote “Music for the End,” Vivier created a series of solemn yet quirky rituals of passing on, the core of his output. This is Halloween music, not in the jack-o’-lantern-and-candy sense, but harkening back to the ancient observance of the time when the line separating our world and those beyond momentarily blurred.”