La Passion De Simone
I found this book in the bookshop in Finland, and I was very impressed by her tireless attempt to approach the mysteries of human life through philosophy but also through mathematics and ancient Greek mythology.1 There was something — she used all her sensitivity and brain capacity, which was enormous, to try to approach the mysterious parts of our life. And I didn’t feel I much understood about her thoughts, but I was captivated by them. And then when much later, 10 years later, maybe a little bit less, I moved to Germany to continue my compositional studies. That was the only book I took with me. I think I took Walter Piston’s Orchestration and Rimsky Korsakov’s orchestration book. And then I took this Gravity and Grace with me.
And so she followed me for many, many years, and I moved to Paris, I learned to speak French, and I started reading more of her writings in French. And then I wrote my first opera. And in the rehearsals of my first opera, I suddenly — her books with Peter Sellars, who had been — who was using some of her sentences in the rehearsals. And I was surprised that he knew about her, and we started discussing her. So, this became our subject, and then still several years later, then Peter wanted to commission Passion for the Vienna Festival, which was celebrating Mozart. And he wanted to have something which could be combined with the Mozart Requiem.2 And then we together had this idea of coming back to Simone Weil who had been always so important for me.