The initial idea of the work consisted in making a choice of some letters from various authors and susceptible of engendering different forms of lyrical expression conveyed by the soprano voice and the large symphonic orchestra.
Short interludes are sometimes used as bindings between these letters, the first of them is preceded by a poem by the Indian author Prithwindra Mukherjee, "Cosmic dance", poem which may itself appear as a kind of address (ode), of message to Shiva…
The following episode is based upon the main passages of a letter from Soljenitsyne to Mstislav and Galina Rostropovitch (1984, February 9th), evoking his trials, the one in the camps, ten years before, and overcame thanks to the heroic support of his friends Slava and Galina, and to his own faith as well.
It is from the letters of Vincent Van Gogh to his brother Theo that excerpts such as: "I have a great need of religion, so I go out at night to paint the stars…" are drawn out. This episode is preceded by the evocation of a very short poem by Rainer Maria Rilke named Gong.
So different are these texts, in their form and in their content, in common they reflect an equal inclination toward the mystical thinking by their authors. Together with the idea of the Cosmos, this is what seemed a unifying element to the composer.
The work's general title, "Correspondances", beyond the different meanings which could be given to this word, refers to Baudelaire's famous poem, "Correspondances" and to the synaesthesias he himself evoked. On another hand, the "baudelairian" idea that in our world, the divine finds inevitably its image in a devilish world, catches up Van Gogh's thought when, from Arles, he wrote to his brother that "next to the sun (the good Lord), unfortunately there is the Devil Mistral".
Each of these episodes is object of a slightly peculiar orchestration privileging such or such family of instruments. So, the evocated images, colours in Vincent Van Gogh's letter will mainly find their echo in the wood timbres and in the brass section as well. Soljenitsyne's letter to Slava and Galina will be backed in a dominative way by the strings, especially by the celli, often in a celli quartet. As for "Danse Cosmique", it's the whole orchestra which will surround the singer. On the contrary, the piece III Gong, sort of interlude hardly includes half of the large orchestra.
Finally, a remark: at the very end of Soljenitsyne's letter, as a watermark, as in a mist is a quotation from "Boris Goudounov" when is heard the Holy Fool (Innocent or Simpleton)'s grief about the misfortunes of the Russia.
In the same way, in the centre of the pages devoted to Van Gogh's letter, the composer used, as a quotation, the main motive of his own score "Timbres, Espace, Mouvement ou la Nuit étoilée " written in 1978 under the influence of the famous painting "The starry Night". (Henri Dutilleux)