Walking in Beauty


A concert-ritual

The ensemble Variances under the baton of Thierry Pécou formed the most experimental point in the program. (...) The music became an all-encompassing spatial experience. Frenetic applause from the audience.

Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, 2018

The score by Thierry Pécou, Changing Woman, Cantata of the Four Mountains for two contraltos and ensemble, is inspired by his encounter with the culture and spirituality of the Navajo Indians. Their fascinating healing ceremonies have the function of restoring the Hozho, a word that is difficult to translate: it signifies harmony, balance and beauty. For the Navajos, health has many facets: physical, mental, spiritual and social, because the individual must be cured as well as the entire community, to find a state in which “one feels that everything is in its place“. During the performance, the musicians circle around the audience, marking the four cardinal directions that symbolize the Four Sacred Mountains of the Navajo homeland.  Sound resonates from all around and the “music becomes an all-encompassing spatial experience...” (Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, June 2019) where the beauty of Hozho resonates with the blessings brought by Changing Woman, a holy woman.

Six centuries earlier, Glagolitic clerics of the Dalmatian islands, a kind of half-shamans, halfpriests, wrote down a curious mixture of pagan and Christian lore: prayers, exorcisms, formulas of magic and traditional medicine, descriptions of amulets, maledictions for chasing bad spirits or diseases, bad weather and the possessed. Their notebooks full of clumsy drawings are the basis of a creation by Katarina Livljanić and Ensemble Variances in the form of dramatic miniatures, the musical language inspired by the tradition of the Dalmatian Glagolitic chants.
Arranged by Thierry Pécou for Ensemble Variances, Paseo de la Reforma is a work by composer and guitarist Guillermo Diego, inspired by the vibrant Amerindian dances of Mexico, and is also a sort of idealistic portrait of Mexico City.

This program is designed as a ritual, creating an atmosphere in which the healing powers and wisdom of shamans and priests will be brought to life. Come closer, gather around the fire. It’s time to listen...


Kokla kokabula

A creation according to pagan and Christian Dalmatian exorcism

Katarina Livljanić


Walking in Beauty takes Modulus Festival to new realms.

The Georgia Straight, 2018


Le Volcan, Le Havre, 2021

Femme changeante, Cantate des Quatre Montagnes: Performance recording in 2021 by Arpeggio Films.

Co-production Ensemble Variances and Le Volcan - Scène nationale du Havre, supported by the fund Diffusions alternatives du Centre national de la musique. Co-commissioned by Festival Arabesques Hambourg and Festival d’Ambronay.


Option 1

Duration: 1h30 with intermission

Thierry Pécou

Danse en cercle for percussion

Thierry Pécou

Chö for bass clarinet, piano, alto flute, cello and percussions

Thierry Pécou

Changing Woman, cantata of the Four Mountains for two contraltos and instrumental ensemble

Option 2

Duration: 1h40 with intermission

Guillermo Diego, Thierry Pécou

Paseo de la reforma for flute, clarinet, saxophone, cello, double bass and percussion

Katarina Lilvjanić / Ensemble Dialogos

Kokla Kokabula, incantation based on Christian and pagan exorcisms from medieval Croatia

Thierry Pécou

Changing Woman, cantata of the Four Mountains for two contraltos and instrumental ensemble

The cast

Guest artists, Option 1

Irina de Baghy mezzo-soprano
Noa Frenkel contralto

Guest artists, Option 2

Katarina Livljanić vocalist and musicologist
Noa Frenkel contralto

Ensemble Variances

Thierry Pécou direction
Anne Cartel flute
Carjez Gerretsen clarinet
Nicolas Prost saxophone
David Louwerse cello
Laurene Durantel double bass
Elisa Humanes percussions
Marie Vermeulin electric piano


Co-production Festival d’Ambronay, Deutsch-Französisches Kulturfestival Arabesques, Théâtre de Cornouaille - Quimper. In partnership with Ensemble Dialogos.