Discover the Power of Faith in Music with Kaija Saariaho’s La Passion de Simone

Exploring Faith through Music: A Deep Dive into Kaija Saariaho’s “La Passion de Simone”

As music lovers, we often lose the art in the experience of concert-going, as the performance becomes less about the music and more about how we perceive it as an opportunity to strengthen our egocentricity. In this article, we take a deep dive into Kaija Saariaho’s “La Passion de Simone,” an oratorio that questions the mystery of faith to reinforce the inexplicable experience of being human. Through this article, we explore the biography of Simone Weil, Saariaho’s musical textures, and the meditative state that the work induces to understand faith through music.

The Deception of Concert-Going

The Hell-Is-Other-People Experience

As music lovers, attending a live performance can often result in a sense of competition and a loss of the art itself. The unspoken sense of competition that seems to come through in the concert hall can often take away from the art and turn the experience into a hell-is-other-people situation.

Deceiving Ourselves into Thinking We Are Developing Spiritually

Borrowing from Buddhist master Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, we often deceive ourselves into thinking we are developing spiritually when instead we are strengthening our egocentricity through spiritual techniques.

La Passion de Simone

Weil’s Biography and Love for Christian Mysticism

Simone Weil, the eponymous subject of Saariaho’s oratorio, was born to agnostic parents of Jewish heritage and developed a love for Christian mysticism, making her an intriguing character to explore through music.

A Spiritual Journey through Music

Incorporating Saariaho’s musical textures, the narrative arc of La Passion de Simone becomes a spiritual journey to understand the dichotomy of Weil. As a result, the work induces a meditative state, questioning the mystery of faith to reinforce the inexplicable experience of being human.

The Inexplicable Experience of Being Human

Sound as a Key to Understanding Faith

As a divinity school student raised Episcopalian, converted to Judaism, and studying Tibetan Buddhism, music has been one of the main entry points to understanding any faith. Sound is a key means of understanding, in full resonance, that moment of fall-on-your-knees awe inherent with most religions.

Exploring More Questions and Fewer Answers

Instrumental in exploring faith through music is approaching it with a mindset of questioning more and answering less. Music that asks questions and offers fewer answers creates a profound experience for listeners and allows them to connect with a particular faith in their own unique way.


Kaija Saariaho’s “La Passion de Simone” is more than just music; it is a spiritual journey that questions the mystery of faith to reinforce the inexplicable experience of being human. By going beyond the art of music and exploring the biography of Simone Weil, we can experience faith in a profound and uniquely personal way. By questioning more and answering less, we can approach faith through music and connect with it in ways that speak to our own spirituality.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is La Passion de Simone?

La Passion de Simone is an oratorio by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho that explores the life and spirituality of philosopher and activist Simone Weil.

What makes music a key means of understanding religion?

Sound is a key means of understanding religion as it allows for a full resonance with the moment of awe that is inherent with most religions.

Why is questioning more and answering less important in experiencing faith through music?

By asking questions and offering fewer answers, music creates a profound experience for listeners and allows them to connect with a particular faith in their own unique way.

How does La Passion de Simone induce a meditative state?

Saariaho’s musical textures, combined with the narrative arc of the piece, create a meditative state that allows listeners to explore their own spiritual journey and connect with the music and its subject matter on a deeper level.

What is the importance of exploring different spiritualities when studying religion?

Exploring different spiritualities when studying religion allows for a deeper understanding of the universal aspects of faith and helps individuals connect with their own spirituality in a more profound way.


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