classical music
contemporary classical

Vivier’s Last Masterpiece

Part of Classical Season 2020/21

Soundstreams presents an immersive evening culminating in Claude Vivier’s mesmeric Musik für das Ende.

In 1983, Vivier was stabbed to death by a young man he had just met in Paris. It would have been a simple tragedy, were it not for the composer’s most recent score.

In the composer’s Do you believe in the immortality of the soul, a narrator named Claude meets a young man before being fatally stabbed by him. Had Vivier staged his own departure?

This immersive, ritualistic evening celebrates the music of doomed genius Vivier, a composer who felt the urge to share the most tender, personal moments of his own life with anyone willing to listen.

In a ritual spectacle staged in the round, we hear a new monologue crafted from Vivier’s letters, and two of his own works: Do you believe in the immortality of the soul for voices and ensemble and Musik für das Ende for vocal ensemble and actor.

Vivier’s musical universe is all his own – stateless and cosmopolitan like its creator, shaped by the ritualism of his Catholic upbringing but amounting to an unflinching representation of the realities of the human experience.

While Do you believe in the immortality of the soul unsettles and provokes, Musik für das Ende carries with it the sense of peace and purity which Vivier tried so hard to find.

Musik für Das Ende [is] a shadowy, otherworldly rite, almost medieval in its soberly overlapping incantations, with drone layered on slow babble.
New York Times


David Fall music director


Zack Russell: Monologue inspired by Claude Vivier's letters and diaries
Vivier: Glaubst du an die Unsterblichkeit der Seele (Do you believe in the immortality of the soul?); Musik für das Ende

Dates & times

15 May 2021
Approximate run time: 50 mins
Run times may vary, find out more


Queen Elizabeth Hall


Booking fee: £3.50 (Members £0.00)


25% off (limited availability)
Find out more about our Concessions policy

need to know

Southbank Centre takes a strong view on secondary ticketing. We require the lead booker to attend (photo ID may be requested). Tickets can only be resold by Southbank Centre or one of its authorised agents.