The Red Book: Longing and Desire

The Red Book: Longing and Desire

In our Red Book, we selected more than 600 works and grouped them under 23 topics which represent a wide range of fundamental human experiences and emotions. “Longing and desire” are two of these emotions that many of us encounter in an unfamiliar way during these unprecedented times.

Enduring shelter in place and social distancing over an extended period of time can remind us of the importance of the basic freedoms we take for granted. We can long for our ordinary routines, and through this struggle, find new sources of strength and inspiration. As such, music has the unfathomable ability to show us that there is a place in life for beauty, hope, and passion, even during tough times. With that in mind, we present you with a selection of works that illuminate some of the most intimate desires at the core of humanity.

For more inspiration order a free copy of The Red Book and find what you never expected.


Olivier Messiaen

Poèmes pour Mi (1936 – 1937)
for dramatic soprano and orchestra
S - - - 4perc - str
Duration: 27'

Watch an excerpt from Poèmes pour Mi

Jane Archibald (soprano), Berliner Philharmoniker, Christian Thielemann (cond.), 11.03.2012, Berlin. The complete performance is avaliable here.

View score on nkoda 


György Kurtág

Messages of the Late R.V.Troussova (1976 – 1980)
21 poems for soprano and chamber ensemble op. 17
S - -
Duration 27'

Watch the full performance of Messages of the Late R.V.Troussova 

Viktoriia Vitrenko (soprano), Ukho Ensemble, Luigi Gaggero (cond.), 10.2016, Kyiv

View score


Fabio Vacchi

Love’s Geometries (2014)
for string orchestra
str (
Duration: 11'

Watch the WP of Love’s Geometries

Orchestra UniMi, John Axelrod (cond.), 06.09.2014, Vicenza

View score on nkoda


Albert Roussel

Bacchus et Ariane (1930)
Suite no. 2 - - timp.4perc - cel.2hp - str
Duration: 21'

Watch the full performance of Bacchus et Ariane

hr-Sinfonieorchester, Alain Altinoglu (cond.), 22.08.2019, Frankfurt am Main

View score on nkoda


Alexander Zemlinsky

Der Traumgörge (1904-1906)
Opera in 2 acts and an epilogue
5S.3T.2Bar.3B - Chr - - - timp.3perc - cel.2hp.git - str

Watch the documentary about Der Traumgörge

Staatstheater Hannover, Mark Rohde (cond.), 16.04.2016, Hannover

Score of Der Traumgörge 

View score on nkoda


Francis Poulenc

La Voix humaine (1958)
Tragédie lyrique in 1 act
S - - - timp.perc - hp - str
Duration: 40'

Watch the full performance La Voix humaine 

Nathalie Gaudefroy (soprano), Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen, Jan Latham-Koenig (cond.), 28.05.2014, Antwerpen

View score on nkoda


Bernhard Lang

Der Reigen (2012)
Music theater for 5 voices and 23 instruments
libretto by Michael Sturminger
based on Arthur Schnitzler's Reigen
S.Ms.Ct.Bar - - - 2synth - -
Duration: ca. 90' (without intermission)

Picture of Bernhard Lang's 'Der Reigen' at the Bregenz Festspiele
NP of Der Reigen, Bregenz 2019

Find out more information about the work and its Austrian NP at the Bregenzer Festspiele in our blog article.

Score of Der Reigen 

View score on nkoda


Pascal Dusapin

Roméo & Juliette (1988)
opera in 9 numbers
on a libretto by Olivier Cadiot
Ms.Bar.2Act - S.Ms.Ct.T/Bar - Chr - - - timp -
Duration: 78'

Listen to Roméo & Juliette

Recording by Groupe Vocal De France, Orchestre Symphonique de Mulhouse, Luca Pfaff (cond.).

View score


Ernest Chausson

Poème de l’amour et de la mer (1893)
for medium voice and orchestra
Vx - - - timp.perc - hp - str
Duration: 20'

Listen to Poème de l’amour et de la mer

Véronique Gens (soprano), Orchestre National de Lille, Alexandre Bloch (cond.)

View score on nkoda


Florent Schmitt

La Tragédie de Salomé (1907)
a symphonic poem - - timp.5perc - 2hp - str
Duration: 30'

Listen to La Tragédie de Salomé

São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and chorus, Yan Pascal Tortelier (cond.)

View score on nkoda

Illustration: (Longing and Desire): Raul Guillermo "Ice cream with bees", 2017