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  • Messiaen House in Fuligny | Olivier Messiaen

    Messiaen House in Fuligny © Malcolm Ball This is the 18th century house where Messiaen's aunts (Agnès and Marthe) lived and where he spent his summer vacations for many years from 1922 onward. Here he notated his first bird songs (later saying in his view the Aube region was the best location in France for larks) and composed, among others, Preludes for piano, Le Banquet Céleste , Le Banquet Eucharistique , Les Offrandes Oubliées , Le Tombeau Resplendissant and possibly Diptyque and Trois Mélodies as well as many more sketches that would find themselves in later works. Messiaen continued to visit his aunts in this house throughout his life. The current owner has decided to sell this house and the couple who wish to buy it intend to demolish it in view of the costs for its restoration. The Association LA QUALITE DE VIE reacted immediately, and is doing everything possible to have this "house of character" become an historical monument. The idea is to have this house bought by those who are interested in the world of BIRDS, in HERITAGE, in CONTEMPORARY MUSIC, in the ORGAN, in Olivier MESSIAEN... A FOUNDATION LE CHANT DES OISEAUX DE FULIGNY will make this place a concentration of Culture : "the grown-ups" and "the school children" will be able to learn and recognise the birds, their song, their life... One can imagine a specialised media library... and in a small auditorium one can listen to all the music and songs of the bird world... And maybe a care centre for injured birds and animals... © Thomas Bloch © Malcolm Ball Olivier's father, Pierre Messiaen (1883-1957) was born in Flanders - *one of Charles and Marie Messiaen's seven children (three brothers: Pierre, Léon and Paul; and four sisters: Marthe, Madeleine, Marie and Agnès). In 1900, the Messiaen family moved to Fuligny, in the Aube region, east of Troyes. Among the Messiaen children, one of the most artistically gifted was Léon, born 1884, a graduate of the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts; he was at the start of a promising career as a sculpture when killed in action in 1918. The Messiaen family tomb, in the churchyard of La Chaise near Fuligny, is surmounted by a striking sculpture after Léon Messiaen entitled L'Énergie fauchée ('Energy spent')*. Léon reworked the sculpture a copy of which can be seen close to the cathedral in Troyes that commemorates the one hundredth anniversary of the 1914-18 war. *Peter Hill & Nigel Simeone - MESSIAEN pp. 7-8 © Malcolm Ball © Malcolm Ball © Malcolm Ball Léon Messiaen Madeleine was the longest-lived of the seven children (b.1890) and married Paul Guéritte in 1912 and died in 1987. Here is Messiaen's own recollections of the house: 'My memories [of nature] go back to the age of fourteen or fifteen, chiefly to a period when I went and stayed in the Aube with aunts who owned a rather odd farm, with sculptures by one of my uncles [Léon], a flower bed, an orchard, some cows and hens. [...] To 'restore' my health, my brave aunts would send me out to tend a little herd of cows; it was really a very small herd ( there were only two or three cows) but even so I looked after them very badly, and one day they managed to escape and wrought havoc in a field of beetroot which they munched through in a few hours. I was told off by everyone in the village. The Aube countryside is very beautiful and very simple: the plain, its big fields surrounded by trees, magnificent dawns and sunsets, and a great many birds. It was there that I first began noting down birdsong'. Samuel 1967 pp.24-5; Samuel 1986, pp34-5. Peter Hill & Nigel Simeone - MESSIAEN pp.8 © Thomas Bloch © Thomas Bloch © Thomas Bloch © Thomas Bloch Watch video of the house and listen to the birds! Here

  • Writings | Olivier Messiaen

    Writings, Articles and Archive Material WritingsTop Jean-Rodolphe Kars ~ Wartime Letter ~ Nicholas Armfelt ~ Ruth Cole ~ Miriam Carpinetti ~ Jeffery Wilson ~ Thomas Lacôte ~ Lerie Dellosa ~ Cardinal Lustiger ~ Jennifer Bate ~ Robert Grenier ©Robert Grenier personal collection Robert Grenier (bass) rehearses with Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod Robert Grenier was understudy for the part of Frère Bernard in St.François d'Assise premier run in 1983. He made two appearances in place of Jean-Philippe Courtis on the 3rd and 18th December 1983 at the Palais Garnier. All the vocal soloists were coached by Messiaen himself and Robert recorded his session on cassette tape. He had all but forgotten about the 40 odd year old cassette until recently and was surprised that it still played for 16 mins before the sound disintegrates. Robert has very kindly shared this precious document with us. The quality is rather Lo-Fi but it gives us great insight into how Messiaen (and Loriod) worked with the soloists in preparation for performance. RGrenier/Messiaen 00:00 / 16:15 © Robert Grenier. Reproduction of audio is strictly forbidden without permission of the owner. Later in 2002 Robert produced an essay for Opera Quarterly entitled: Recollections on Singing Messiaen's Saint François d'Assise. Download the pdf below. RecollectionsStFranRG2002.pdf ©2002 Oxford University Press RGrenier Concert Programme of Trois Tala performed in Spain 22 February 1949 Père Jean-Rodolphe Kars maintained a close relationship with Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod and shares these documents from his personal archive. A Prayer composed by Olivier Messiaen Père Kars wrote the following about this rare and personal document: ''Some words of this prayer announce the poem of the third “petite liturgie”, and are very much influenced by some writings of St Thomas of Aquinas. This prayer is remarkable, with a real mystical ending which announce very precisely the last prayer of St Francis in the opera. It’s a testimony of how much Messiaen kept things in his memory and would use them in due time, sometimes decades later, after having matured them''. Prière inédite rédigée par Olivier Messiaen en septembre 1943, alors qu’il s’apprêtait à composer ses « Trois Petites Liturgies de la Présence Divine » (1943-1944). On reconnaît, sous une forme différente, beaucoup d’éléments du poème de la troisième « petite liturgie » (poème dont il est aussi l’auteur). Unpublished prayer written by Olivier Messiaen in September 1943, when he was preparing to compose his " Trois Petites Liturgies de la Présence Divine " (1943-1944). We recognize, in a different form, many elements of the poem of the third "little liturgy" (poem of which he is also the author). English translation here. OMPrayer.pdf Jean-Rodolphe Kars These are two extracts of Messiaen’s diary, which Yvonne sent to me many years ago. On the right part, dated 29-11-86, Messiaen mentions the event of my priestly ordination on that very day (see on the top). Of course he was not present (he was in Paris and the ordination took place in the little French town of Paray-le-Monial), but he did assure me that he would very much pray for me (“ de tout mon coeur”) on that occasion. And so he noted that in his diary. The left part dated 21-12-86, concerns the very first mass I celebrated in the église de la Sainte Trinité, three weeks after my ordination. Messiaen was at the organ. I did publicly pay homage to him, thanking him for the immense impact his works had on my spiritual journey. On the left part in the middle, one can read that I shall celebrate the 11h45 mass. And on the right part of the same date, nearly above, he did note that I “publicly thanked him”. You find that just under the indication “51e sem. 355:10”. And on the same side, but below, there is a mention of Jennifer Bate, probably in relation with the project of her playing the first Paris performance at the Trinité of the “Livre du Saint Sacrement” in May or June 1987. P. Jean-Rodolphe Kars Here is Père Kars description: These two letters were written to me by Messiaen in 1986, after I informed him about my conversion (which he didn’t know about up to that time) and about my future ordination, first as deacon (February 1986), then as priest (November 1986). In the first letter (January 1986), one can read his joy to hear about that; he also writes that “being priest is the most “great” thing on this earth”; and also a recommendation for me to care in my future ministry about the quality of the liturgy, giving preference to Gregorian Plain-Song (in fact, I never had any influence later in those matters). The second letter (August 1986) was written to me between the two ordinations. After interesting details about his activities during those months, (and also his expression of thanksgiving for the spiritual impact of his works in my life and in my vocation), the subject is primarily about a theological comment (very personal comment) I wrote about the Trinitarian dimension I discovered in the second half of his magnificent “Combat de la mort et de la vie” (Corps Glorieux IV). In this article I also wrote a paragraph about the theological dimensions of the sound of the organ. So Messiaen writes first about all this matter, and then he comes back to my priestly ordination, a few months later. A letter of thanks from Messiaen to Harry Halbreich for his book 'Messiaen' that remains one of the seminal and revealing tomes in print. Père Kars points out that interestingly the date on the letter is the same day and month as Messiaen's death 12 years later. A Wartime Letter An important wartime autograph letter signed by Olivier Messiaen ("Messiaen"), February 15, 1940, to his friend and musical supporter Virginie Schildge-Bianchini, thanking her for a care package, advising her on her musical pursuits, and shedding light on his own devotion to music even in the midst of a war. Translated from the French, in part: "Thank you for your very kind letter and magnificent package. It will all be appreciated: from the good jam to the Lu Petit-Beurres, by way of the cheese, wafers, gingerbread, [.] honey (my passion!), the good salted butter, the chocolate and the cognac. Many, many thanks again. I am very touched! It's a very good idea to learn Bach by heart. It is also very good to take harmony and counterpoint lessons with J. P. Hennebains: you won't find a wiser and more devoted teacher. and that will allow you to resume composition again more fruitfully and easily. I am so happy to see you cultivating music with such zeal. My wife and my little son are freezing in glacial Auvergne. For my part, I must forget our physical ailments and return gradually to my rainbow of modes, of rhythms, and of resonance, living two lives simultaneously: that of 'my brother the body' and 'that of the spirit." Written just four months before the composer's capture by German forces, and his two-year stay in a prisoner of war camp where he composed his Quartet for the End of Time, the letter demonstrates Messiaen's strength of purpose -- sustained, no doubt, by his strong religious faith -- in the worst of circumstances. Virginie Schildge-Bianchini (later Zinke-Bianchini) had been a regular supporter of Messiaen's work since the 1930's. After his return from the war, she took lessons from him in Paris and also hosted several concerts of his music at her house. Wartime Letter A postcard to boulez Nicholas Armfelt A letter of thanks Nicholas Armfelt kindly contributed this letter that he received from Olivier Messiaen thanking him for sending recordings of birdsongs indigenous to New Zealand. Nicholas met sound recordist Kenneth Bigwood while teaching in New Zealand in 1963 where they recorded the songs of the Bellbird, Grey Warbler and others, but most importantly the Tui that made a great impression on Messiaen who subsequently included its song in Couleurs de la Cité Céleste . More recentlty the Tui is featured in Un oiseau des arbres de Vie famously orchestrated by Christopher Dingle and premiered at the BBC Proms in 2015. Nicholas Armfelt 'Three Little Parcels'. Since his introduction to the music of Olivier Messiaen in the 1940s, Nicholas Armfelt has remained an ardent enthusiast of his music and through this has become a keen ornithologist in his own right. Over a period of time Nicholas made several recordings of birds native to New Zealand and sent three little parcels of such recordings to Messiaen to which the composer responded in the following three letters kindly submitted by Nicholas. Nicholas sent the first parcel to Messiaen in early 1963 and Messiaen's reply was as follows: 17 juin 1963 Cher Monsieur, J'ai bien reçu votre disque d'oiseaux de Nouvelle-Zélande. C'est merveilleux! J'ai apprécié particulièrement les chants extraordinaires de l'oiseau-Tui, de l'oiseau-cloche (bellbird), du Riroriro (grey warbler), du Kiwi, du Kéa, de l'ocydrome Weka, du Takahé (notornis) -etc, etc.. Ce cadeau me fait un immense plaisir. Merci de tout mon coeur! Avec une très grande reconnaissance. Olivier Messiaen. 17th June 1963 Dear sir, I have safely received the recording of the "Birds of New Zealand". It is marvellous! I particularly appreciated the exraordinary songs of the Tui, the Bellbird, the Riroriro (grey warbler), the Kiwi, the Kea, the wood-rail Weka, the Takahe (notornis) etc. etc. This present gives me immense pleasure. Thank you with all my heart! With very great gratitude. Olivier Messiaen Nicholas sent the second parcel in late 1976 and was delighted to receive the following reply: le 6 février 1977 Cher Monsieur, Je suis couvert de confusion à la pensée que vous avez attendu si longtemps ma réponse. J'etais absent pour tournées de concerts, et à mon retour, j'ai trouvé plusieurs centaines de lettres, et je n'ai pas encore pu répondre à tout. Un immense merci pour cette bande magnétique extraordinaire! Quelle variété, quelle beauté! J'ai déjà commencé une première notation de ce que vous m'avez envoyé. Effectivement c'est l'enregistrement (C) qui est le plus extaordinaire. L'Oiseau-Tui surtout est prodigieux, comme rythme, comme ligne mélodique, et comme variété de timbres. J'ai été absolument renversé par le KOKAKO (Blue-wattled Crow, Callaeas cinerea). Je ne connais pas cet oiseau. Est-il de la meme famille que les corbeaux fluteurs (Gymnorhina)? En tout cas, cet oiseau prodigieux fait ce que les flutistes et les clarinettistes ont découvert depuis peu, c'est-à-dire des double-sons! Si vous pouviez m'en donner une description, cela me rendrait grand service. Je connaissais déjà l'Oiseau-Tui, l'Oiseau-Cloche, et le Mohoua à tete jaune. Mais beacoup d'autres oiseaux que vous m'avez envoyés sont pour moi une révélation. Spécualement l'Oiseau-Tui que je connaissais mal, et le Kokako que je ne connaissais pas du tout. Avec encore tous mes remerciements, je vous prie de croire, cher Monsieur, à ma profonde reconnaissance. Olivier Messiaen. 6th February 1977 Dear sir, I am embarrassed by the thought that you have had to wait so long for my reply. I was away on concert tours, and on my return I found several hundred letters, and I haven't been able yet to reply to them all. A huge thank-you for this amazing tape! What variety! What beauty! I have already begun my first notations of what you have sent me. indeed it is section C of the tape which is the most extraordinary. The Tui especially is prodigious - for rhythm, melodic line, and variety of timbres. I was absolutely bowled over by the KOKAKO (Blue-wattled Crow). I don't this bird. Is it in the same family as the Australian bell-magpies? At any rate, this prodigious bird does what flautists and clarinetists have discovered only recently, namely double-sounds! If you could give me a description of it that would be of great service to me. I was already acquainted with the Tui, the Bellbird, and the Yellowhead; but many of the other birds you have sent are for me a revelation. Specially the Tui, which I didn't know well, and the Kokako, which I didn't know at all. With all my thanks. I beg you to believe, dear Sir, in my profound gratitude. Olivier Messiaen. Nicholas says of the third letter that 'it moved me the most, for the composer was very old and frail - and his hand writing is a delight!' 18 mars 1991 Cher Nicholas Armfelt, Merci de tout coeur pour votre cassette de chants d'oiseaux de Nouvelle-Zélande. Je l'ai déjà écoutée plusieurs fois, avec joie. Le Kokako est très original, avec ses sons lourés descendants, et la note grave enflée crescendo vers un suraigu grinçant. J'aime le glissando tremblé en cascade descendante, le bruit d'eau du Kea. L'Oiseau-Tui a des sons tantot flutés, tantot grinçants, absolument extraordinaires. J'ame encore l'Oiseau-cloche, le Notornis, le Riroriro, les sons étranges et primitifs du Kiwi du Nord a tete jaune, la trompe grave du Kakapo. Les cris des oiseaux de mer sont aussi tres interessants. Merci encore pour ce troisiéme envoi, qui m'a fait un immense plaisir. Croyez, je vous prie, a tous mes sentiments bien amicaux et tres reconnaissants. Olivier Messiaen. 18th March 1991 Dear Nicholas Armfelt Thank you with all my heart for your cassette of New Zealand birdsongs. I have listened to it several times, with joy. The Kokako is very original, with its sliding descending notes, and its deep note that swells in a crescendo up to a high shrill sound. I like the glissando trembling in a cascade, like cascading water, of the Kea. The Tui utters sounds that are sometimes flutelike, at other times grating, absolutely extraordinary. I also like the Bellbird, the Nototnis, the Riroriro, the strange and primitive calls of the North Island Kiwi, the cretic rhythms and cooings of the Yellowhead, the deep boom of the Kakapo. The cries of the seabirds are also very interesting. Thank you again for this third present, which has given me great pleasure. I assure you of my warm and grateful best wishes. Olivier Messiaen. It is thanks to Nicholas that Messiaen went on to transcribe and use these birdsongs in three of his works: Couleurs de la cité céleste (indeed the first few bars are the song of the Tui), Éclairs sur l'au-dela and Concert à quatre . 'Emotion in the Music of Messiaen' Messiaen scholar and enthusiast Nicholas Armfelt wrote this article in 1964 which was subsequently published in The Musical Times in November 1965. Messiaen’s music demands an extraordinary intensity of response; and each piece demands entire acceptance. It has the quality of a statement rather than an argument or question. It is a statement expressed emphatically and intensely. The critical listener is disturbed by this. He wants to question the validity of the statement; he regards music as an argument. But Messiaen’s music seems not to allow this: it demands all or nothing. Indeed it seems to demand all. That is why it has often provoked such violent reactions. Many listeners, while admitting the expression to be forceful, have found it hard to cope with a music so extreme in its emotive demands. One way of coping with the emotive demands is simply to ignore them. At one extreme there are some intellectual up-to-date people for whom Messiaen is significant only as the man behind Boulez and some other younger composers. Above all they admire the piano study, Mode de valeurs et d’intensités (1949) , and judge his other works by the extent to which they anticipate or fall away from that ideal. In it four series are used simultaneously: 36 pitches, 24 durations, 12 attacks, and 7 degrees of loudness and softness. These make a complex mode, the coherence of which is aurally obvious (e.g. The lower notes have the longer duration). This is rightly acknowledged as the first European work of total serialism (in which all elements are used serially). It lasts four minutes, and like all the works of the composer, was completely imagined aurally. But it led on to complex serial works by other composers in which the conjunction of the various elements was too complex to be imagined in detail beforehand. So Messiaen’s piece has historical importance in two related recent developments of music: total serialism and music of chance. But for me its significance is its beauty: the low notes like night, the notes above sparkling like fireworks. At the other extreme are some organists who, perceiving the technical brilliance, effectiveness, and workmanship of Messiaen as an organ composer, cull pieces from L’Ascension (1933) or La Nativité (1935) to show off their virtuosity in a recital. Fair enough I suppose. After all, it does draw attention to the fact that Messiaen is so effective. And it also draws attention to the traditional element in Messiaen’s pieces, their relationship to the great tradition of French organ music, the tradition of Franck, Widor, Dupré. Better to come to his music from the traditional past that from the fashionable future. But the trouble is that these recitals tend to obscure the originality and intense sincerity of the works by referring back to old familiar forms and to old, familiar, comfortable, worn-out emotions. So often one hears the fourth and final piece of L'ascension tripped off at twice its proper speed as if it were some pleasant little pastorale. In fact it is an intense, ecstatic piece, representing with characteristic literalness the prayer of Christ as he ascends to His Father. At a good performance the sympathetic listener will find himself almost entranced. The movement is very slow, the chords ascending with parallel harmonies. Indeed it is so slow that one can forget the ‘melody’ as such and become absorbed in each chord as a separate experience, tensing oneself in readiness for the next chord, the next step upward. The harmonies have a certain hardness to them, which should be brought out in the registration. Some listeners find the harmonies ‘soupy’ or ‘honeyed’. I think this is due to a failure to listen to the actual sounds. It is the tough element in the harmonies that causes the slow upward motion to be almost unbearable, till, at about two-thirds of the way through, the piece achieves its climax. Heaven, one feels is in sight. Thereafter the ascension continues, but with less strain – though even the long final chord is inconclusive, yearning to go higher. It is only when the piece is over that one realises one has experienced the beautifully phrased melody and form of the piece. Both these types of approach, as I have described them, the trendspotting-historical and the extrovert-workaday, fail to take proper account of the emotive demands of the music. The trouble is not so much that these people fail to respond fully to the particular pieces they admire; but more that they fail to admire Messiaen’s boldest pieces. Even the most ardent admirers of Messiaen find their powers of acceptance severely strained by some works. There are the more obvious failures, such as parts of the early Diptyque for organ and the Fête des belles eaux (1937) for six ondes Martenots. (It is fortunate that the beautiful sections of each are preserved as the ‘louange’ movements of Quatour pour la fin du temps (1941) . But then there are parts of other works which seem terrible bathos when the listener is all critical and emotionally below par, but which at other times seem to come off. David Drew , in his absorbing ‘Messiaen – a provisional study’ in The Score (Dec 1954. Sept and Dec 1955) , has cited L’Êchange from Vingt regards sur l’enfant Jésus (1944) as an example of an obvious failure. On paper it does indeed look mechanical, and the long pause towards the end can seem ridiculous. But personally, when I am in a sympathetic mood, I find the sustained crescendo and the amount of variation sufficient to hold my interest – especially in the context of the whole cycle. More frequent, though, than such dubious cases as L’Êchange are the passages that do come off, but are wrongly accounted failures by unsympathetic listeners – such daring effects as the notes of the chiffchaff at the climax of the Le Loriot and the 18-part birdsong polyphony for solo strings in the Epode section of Chronochromie (1960) . Contrary to some critics’ opinion, Messiaen’s peculiar excellence manifests itself in the form of his works. He uses a closed form, conceived rhythmically as the relationship of the parts to the whole. The material is often disparate and asymmetrical, involving unexpected phrase-lengths and lengthened or shortened note-values. More and more he uses the ‘catalogue principle’, where unrelated material is juxtaposed or superimposed. The success depends on taste and dramatic sense, above all on proportion, with effective contrasts and unexpected correlations. His music is proportioned by a literalness and truth to nature. The piece from L’Ascension was precisely symbolic in form. So are many other of his religious pieces. Take, for example the final movement of Les Corps Glorieux (1939) , where the thrice-three form symbolises the Holy Trinity, the three Persons registered so far apart yet integrated into the whole. Sometimes he uses the palindromic form of the non-retrograde rhythm, with its constant central value, to suggest the Star or the Cross. At other times he paraphrases plainsong for its traditional associations. The love-music is also unusually literal. One cannot naively distinguish it from his religious music, since he views life as a whole. In Amen du désir (Visions de l’Amen 1943) he chooses a mode of limited transposition for the charm of its impossibilities – it works up to a frenzy, but the desire remains as desire since the mode cannot rest on any modulation. True, the frenzy subsides into the harmonies of the more ‘celestial’ theme. But for the real resolution and sense of fulfilment one has to wait for the final piece of the cycle, Amen de la consommation. In the third of the Cinq Rechants (1949) the sexual act is presented with a literalness that equals Lady Chatterley’s Lover. It is all there: the male and female elements, the varying moods, the working up to a climax, the primitive universal shout at the moment of climax. Time seeming to halt at the moment of Love. One is reminded of certain Polynesian action-songs where the women sing in languorous harmony while the men shout and dance with urgent primitive gestures. This Rechant is extraordinarily compressed, its length corresponding to the act it represents. The earlier Turangalila Symphonie (1946-48) presents some of the same emotions in grander, more extended form. The fifth movement, for example, Joie du sang des étoiles, presents what takes only a few instants in the Rechant – frenzied joy, joy of the blood, joy of the blood universalised and linked with Death, joy of the blood of the stars. Messiaen uses big general words such as ‘joy’ to describe emotion. But in the music the emotions are more precise and complex. Each theme, as placed in context, has a precise emotional force. This can be realised in the music based on birdsong, notably Catalogue d’oiseaux (1958) . Each song is associated for Messiaen with a particular place and time, and consequently with a dramatic emotion. He recollects them in tranquillity, moulds them into musical form, always tending to organize and compress, and allows the sequence of events and birdsongs to guide the form of the compositions. The material may or may not be musically related, but dramatically it represents a true sequence of the composer’s emotions. Messiaen says he ‘takes his lessons from nature’. He trusts nature and the coherence of its larger rhythms. As for the more detailed rhythms, the birdsongs have inspired Messiaen to compose for piano a work unsurpassed in meaningful variety of rhythms, melodic contours, and sonorities. The most obvious of the larger rhythms determining the form of his pieces is the combination of symmetrical and asymmetrical elements in the passage of each day. An illustration of this is La Rousserolle effarvatte where various events of the first half are repeated irregularly in reverse order in the second half. Yet how irregular it is, and how complex and satisfying the form! This basic rhythm is also a clue to the overall form of some of the larger cycles of Messiaen’s middle period – for example, Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant Jesus . If in this article I emphasize the serene and joyful emotions in the music, it is because I feel that optimism predominates. I must mention, though, that this optimism would be comparatively meaningless were it not for the strong contrasting presence of disturbing emotions. Messiaen’s life has often been hard. The wonder is that his faith in life and human nature has so triumphantly survived. These disturbing emotions are as deep as anything in his music and are never cancelled out by the optimism: they remain as an integral part of the complex total vision. One thinks of the Abyss music in the third movement of Quatour pour la fin du temps and Livre d’Orgue , and of the frightening presence of death in certain of the Cinq Rechants . One of the most frightening effects is obtained in the mysterious death-cries and night-music of La Chouette Hulotte (The Tawny Owl) in Catalogue d’Oiseaux. One of the most striking features of some of Messiaen’s music is that it makes one conscious that everything in it is within the context of something bigger. There is the sound behind the sound, the longer duration behind the shorter one, the slower rhythm behind the quicker one. And behind all movement there is an awareness of stillness, behind all sound an awareness of silence, and behind all measured time an awareness of eternity. The silence is not mere silence. It is composed of various colours. The composer of Chronochromie (1960) and Couleurs de la Cité Céleste (1963) sees music in terms of colour and visa versa. At the end of the piano piece Je dors mais mon Coeur veille the sounds are progressively converted into silence. One knows exactly what the ‘missing’ sounds are. In Regard du silence special sonorities, some of them quite violent, are used to suggest the potential sounds that are within all silence. Some people dislike the static quality of a music that hearkens to the End of Time. They wish that it could be lighter, more critical, less absolute. It is true that many techniques are used to break down one’s sense of the temporal, among them extremely slow tempos, pedal-rhythms or ostinati, the disruptive effect of irregular note-values, and the combination of modes of limited transposition and non-retrograde rhythms. But to call the music plainly static seems to me altogether too simplified an interpretation. The characteristic effect of Messiaen’s music is to induce in the listener a trance-like state of heightened response to every instant, a state where he experiences simultaneously several different rates of time-flow. This is sometimes achieved, of course, by superimposing several rhythms. More amazingly, it is also often achieved by juxtaposition of contrasting rhythms, where one’s sense of the first rhythm continues to be effective long after it has been succeeded by another. Paradoxically, the result of all this is to make the listener feel outside time, so that all the movement seems but a complex decoration of an eternal stillness behind all things. Messiaen, humble before the vast diversity of Nature, has embraced this diversity in all its rhythms and colours to express his Faith in its Creator. Whether or not we share his Faith, we can welcome the richness and sincerity of its expression. © Nicholas Armfelt A letter of encouragement Ruth Cole This a short letter written by Olivier Messiaen in 1947 to Ruth Ellen Cole, (pictured at the time) kindly contributed by her daughter Sue Ellen (Matthews) Fealko. Ruth Cole Matthews (maiden name, Ruth Ellen Cole) was the first of her family to go to college, graduating from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor of Arts in 1946. She was then accepted into the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where she majored in music theory. She completed her Master of Arts in 1949, and her thesis was titled "An Analysis of Three Piano Preludes of Olivier Messiaen ." Sibley Music Library at Eastman has a copy of it (under Ruth C. Matthews). Ruth went on to live a life filled with music. For years, she taught piano, organ, and music theory at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. She performed as a pianist in countless concerts and recitals, and she also was a church organist for over fifty years. Her true love really was organ music and she even went on several tours to see famous organs of Europe. Ruth died last October aged 89. Among her things, Sue Ellen's sister was surprised to find this letter from Olivier Messiaen written to her while she was at Eastman. Evidently she wrote to him first with questions concerning her thesis. His reply is just a simple, short letter, but it certainly shows what a kind and considerate man he was that he would take the time to write to a young American music student. My sincere thanks go to Sue Ellen (Matthews) Fealko for sharing this. Miriam Carpinetti Universidade Estadual de Campinas, INSTITUTO DE ARTES, Department Member Advisors:Denise Hortência Lopes Garcia PAPERS - ARTIGOS 15 Considerações sobre materiais compositivos utilizados em Méditations sur le mystère de la Sainte Trinité de Olivier Messiaen see details and pdf An article for our Norwegian readers! "Olivier Messiaen. – music, time, and eternity ." Thanks to Jon Mostad Miriam Carpinetti From Bloomsbury to Paris British Musician and composer Jeffery Wilson reminisces with Malcolm Ball on his time spent with Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatoire. My first encounter with Jeffery Wilson was on a hot summer’s day in central London at a rather ‘tired’ meeting of fellow music examiners having to moderate several graded music exams on video for standardisation purposes. It was near the end of the day after discussing a particularly poor performance by a grade 4 violin that the chief examiner asked if we should watch this video again at which point Jeffery commented that he would rather have his eyes pierced with hot needles than to be subjected to a further hearing! I soon discovered that Jeffery’s spontaneous wit and dry humour was well known and a source of often needed light relief at such occasions. Our path’s had crossed briefly at other meetings and events but it wasn’t until the examiner’s conference in 2009 where Jeffery was awarded the much coveted service award when I discovered that he had studied with Olivier Messiaen. Having got to know Jeffery more over time I was particularly keen to meet up and discuss not only his time with Messiaen but also the fact that he was a like minded musician having an apprenticeship in Jazz and going on to more classical study. Not quite as most Messiaen scholars the more traditional musically established Conservatoire and University route. He revealed that, like myself during college days of the 70’s and 80’s, it didn’t seem right to be attracted to the music of Messiaen (and other contemporary ‘serious’ composers) while at the same time enjoy listening (and in our case) performing charts by Charlie Parker, Ellington, Basie etc. As far as I was concerned I never mentioned my ‘altered state’ as a jazz musician (and particularly a drummer) when speaking with Messiaen scholars and aficionados at college. A large broom came in handy to sweep such things under the proverbial carpet! Times have of course changed and views nowadays are not nearly as pedantic or ostentatiously learned as they were back then. It is well known that Messiaen abhorred jazz for a variety of reasons but it is encouraging that this did not deter Jeffery and that other jazz luminary Quincy Jones from making the trip to Paris. Jeffery Wilson studied composition with John Lambert and Herbert Howells, and later with Aladar Majorossy, Gordon Jacob and Olivier Messiaen, and while at the Royal College of Music he also studied clarinet, saxophone, piano and percussion. It was while studying with John Lambert at the Royal College of Music that Jeffery was encouraged to attend a concert at the Bloomsbury theatre, London in 1979 where Messiaen was to be present. John Lambert himself could be thought of as a ‘British Messiaen’. He had studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris and held a composition class at the RCM for over 20 years beginning in 1970 where a plethora of British composers as diverse as Javier Alvarez, Simon Bainbridge, Gary Carpenter, David Fanshawe, Oliver Knussen, Jonathan Lloyd, Carlos Miranda, Barrington Pheloung, Mark-Anthony Turnage and of course Jeffery Wilson passed through his class. The diversity of these composers was reflected in those that attended Messiaen’s classes in Paris. Under the auspices of John Lambert Jeffery was introduced to Messiaen at the Bloomsbury and after asking Messiaen twice if he could study with him, twice Messiaen said ‘non’. However, after some persistence on Jeffery’s part, Messiaen finally said yes – he may visit him. Indeed Jeffery was to make two visits to Paris first in 1979/80 and again in1983. The ‘back door’ element for Jeffery was as Saxophonist and after some frantic swatting up of the solfege system, to pass the entrance exam, Jeffery was enrolled as a saxophonist and upon invitation attended the so called harmony and analysis classes of Messiaen. Commenting on the impression that Messiaen made, Jeffery says, “one of the most underestimated elements of Messiaen’s personality is breadth of understanding in a broad sense. For example his knowledge of German music. He often commented on the music of Hindemith and quartal harmony (which – by the way is very much a modern jazz harmonic language) citing and playing examples. But by far the deepest impression that Messiaen made was a religious one”. He says meeting Messiaen was “truly a personal and deep religious experience because he knew so much; understanding Aramaic and Hebrew for example and sharing the narrative of the entry into the Temple – the generous translation of that from the original text: ‘my stomach bile turns over at the very thought of you’ was what Jesus said not ‘woe unto you’ (King James) – that sort of thing matters to me enormously”. Jeffery was often moved by Messiaen’s “incredible textual skill”- “because he is able to look at Greek mythology and say what he says about that and yet paraphrase it in terms of Roman Catholicism – a sort of intellectual inclusivity” Messiaen had a great regard for the music of Roussel and indeed in the 1930’s said that Roussel’s was the finest example of French music at that time. Jeffery goes on to say that “Messiaen analyzed Roussel’s Pan for flute and he spoke of the myth in the same breadth as it were, as the assimilation of colour, light and God…. It was part of his speech”. Perhaps the highlight on his first visit its conclusion - Messiaen’s comments on Jeffery’s composition Three English Songs. The middle song is set to words by Shakespeare and after dismissing some attendants in the church at La Trinité Messiaen proceeded to improvise on the opening theme of the song and as he was doing so, Jeffery “could hear his improvisational devices working and you could hear him ‘smile’ as the improvisation progressed”. Curiously enough or perhaps typically, Messiaen finished the improvisation, locked the organ loft and left by the rear door and Jeffery never saw him again until his second visit in 1983. From 1983 Messiaen was in a state of considerable exhaustion after the composition of Saint-François d’Assise but after Jeffery Wilson’s second visit to Messiaen he came away with that valuable ‘knowledge base’ that students today are able to tap into and access which allows them to engage, research, question and deal with the art-form that is so rich in the oeuvre of Messiaen. Unlike many composers for example, “Scriabin, where once you can play, say, one of the Sonatas you’ve got a hook, so to speak, on to the language -base of the composer and you use this as a tool for understanding much of his music. Although this may be true of Messiaen to some extent where one can perceive a language base, he reveals more. Not in his mathematics so much as his words. So his rhythms that are derived less from symbiotic relationships with mathematics as the deep relationship with Holy texts, and that for me, is the heart and soul of the rhythmical ambient nature of his music. I hear performances (for example in Vingt Regards) that calculate the compositional devices rather than more subtle rhythmic interest. I believe that performers would benefit from this more intimate approach and perhaps gain more of the vision”. Jeffery got to know the church officials at La Trinité much better than he did any musician at the classes - a testimony to the religious impact made from meeting Messiaen. We spoke as two Englishmen often bewildered at the mentality of the French conservatoire hierarchy. For example the way Messiaen was treated on his last day at the establishment where nothing was said or celebrated after such long service at the conservatoire seems unthinkable to us. To all intents and purposes it was just another day. Jeffery Wilson sums it up superbly by saying that; “The light he shone was far greater than the shadows cast by other people”. No amount of thanks is ever enough to Jeffery for sharing his very personal thoughts about his time with Olivier Messiaen. ©Malcolm Ball. May 2009 Jeffery Wilson Reviving Messiaen's improvisations: An encounter with Thomas Lacôte around the Cavaillé-Coll organ of the Church of the Trinity,Paris. Rarely recorded, the improvisations of Messiaen constitute the least known part of the creative activity of the French composer and pedagogue, also titular organist at the Church of the Trinity from 1931 to his death. Based on improvisation notes recently deposited at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Thomas Lacôte pays tribute to his illustrious predecessor on the Cavaillé-Coll organ on April 23, in an approach that combines research, experimentation and musical virtuosity. Meeting around the mythical instrument and figure of the French musical heritage. What is the place of improvisation in Messiaen's creative approach? The organist training that Messiaen received was essentially focused on improvisation, and his duties in the Trinity led him to improvise regularly throughout the course of his life, but also, rarely, in concert. Messiaen claimed that several of his organ works were directly related to his improvisations: the Messe de la Pentecote, the Meditations sur le Mystere de la Saint Trinite, for example. However, it seems to me quite likely that his most famous works, such as the Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant Jesus or the Turangalila-Symphonie, could also have been marked by this practice. The main challenge seems to be to understand how Messiaen was able to have a very organized theory of composition interact with his intimate, intuitive, keyboard and creative relationship "in the moment". His earliest improvisations recorded today and accessible, date from the late 1960s; For the preceding decades, we were reduced to conjectures. That is why I wanted to advance research on these issues. Can you describe the preparatory notes for the improvisation of Messiaen kept at the BnF? What were you able to achieve with a view to a "replenishment"? The personal archives of Olivier Messiaen and his wife, deposited recently at the BnF, constitute an immense mine, one of the most extraordinary testimonies on artistic creation in the last century. During the very first stages of identification and ranking in which I participated, I stopped on a few very old handwritten manuscripts, dating from the years 1940-1950: these were lists of "registrations" for verses (That is to say, brief improvisations between the sung parts) during the Sunday afternoon vespers, about thirty in total. Messiaen notes very precisely the registration (organ sounds) to be used, associated with a very brief reminder corresponding to musical ideas: « chant suraigu », « bouger un doigt puis l’autre à chaque main », « trois cors dans le medium en louré », etc. To truly "speak" this document, the only solution is to "put it into action" on its place of origin, the organ of the Trinity: to pull the stops requested by Messiaen, to be guided by its brief indications, and thus make it possible to hear a buried musical idea that this single instrument allows to "decode", with obviously a very good knowledge of its techniques of composition at that time. It is as much research as creation, reconstruction or invention, because the blanks left are enormous, but it is the only way to make this document anything but a piece of paper ... What are the peculiarities of the Cavaillé-Coll church of the Trinity? How did they influence the technique of writing the Messe de la Pentecote, a work specifically composed from the sounds of this instrument? Before Messiaen, the way of associating organ tones (what is called registration) is more a matter of convention than of invention. He reverses this fact: for him, to compose a play, it is, most often, to invent a registration or several registrations unpublished. Of course, this can only be done during experiments on the instrument itself, again by a special relation to improvisation which my research has enabled me to clarify and which has changed my way of interpreting this work. The incredible quality of each set of this organ of the Trinity leads him to work not in large masses but essentially in "pure colours". A stop, two stops only to create mixtures and crossings unpublished, sometimes even a single note! It is thus that he represents in his Mass the horrible "beast of the Apocalypse": a peculiar pipe, with a terrifying sonority, happily preserved as such up to us. Not one visitor to the organ of the Trinity who does not want to hear this sound become almost mythical! Besides the important musical corpus, what is the legacy of Messiaen in aesthetic terms, of roads of research? Is it still a model for the young generation of composers? It seems to me that for the young composers of today, Messiaen is an ancestor already very distant. But, paradoxically, his very voluminous Treatise in 7 volumes appeared gradually after his death is still a recent work and relatively unread. It is this paradox that, together with my colleagues Yves Balmer and Christopher Brent Murray, we have sought to address, and have been working since 2010 on an in-depth re-examination of his compositional techniques. The results of this research, which will appear in the form of a book at Editions Symétrie in October 2017, seem to me to go beyond a work of history or musical analysis. By showing how Messiaen really collects musical materials in all the music he loves to transform and build his own, I believe that we can bring (thanks to him) some elements of reflection at a time tormented by the conflict between inheritance, system and creation. Like Messiaen, you are organist, composer, improviser but also professor of analysis at the Conservatoire de Paris and musicologist. Do you claim this complementarity in your musical approach as a form of engagement? I must especially say that I do not imagine doing otherwise! From then on, I had to think about what seemed to me to be an obvious fact, and to realize that it was not for everyone. Today, it is important for me to defend these necessary conjunctions, to understand why the gaps have widened between these practices, and to build musical projects impossible to classify! It is not a matter of returning to the former "master of music" but rather of the conviction that to think and create through categories is a permanent necessity for musical invention to remain alive. Nicolas Schotter, 11 April 2017 Thomas Lacôte at the organ of La Trinité. Thomas Lacôte Messiaen's Musical Language: Technique and Theological Symbolism in Les Corps Glorieux, "Combat de la mort et de la vie" Lerie Dellosa would like to contribute a copy of her DMA dissertation (158 pp.) entitled: Messiaen's Musical Language: Technique and Theological Symbolism in Les Corps Glorieux, "Combat de la mort et de la vie." It was her research for her DMA in organ performance degree from the University of North Texas in 2015; it focuses on Messiaen's melodic and harmonic techniques, which are less studied than his rhythms. Download full pdf document here . Lerie Dellosa The remarkable talk of the late Cardinal Lustiger, (former Archbishop of Paris), given in Notre Dame de Paris, for the Paul VI Prize received by Messiaen in 1989 and other texts of Lustiger. LE CARDINAL LUSTIGER ET OLIVIER MESSIAEN ​ (Trois Documents Précieux) I- REMISE DU PRIX PAUL VI A OLIVIER MESSIAEN Allocution du Cardinal Jean-Marie LUSTIGER NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS, MARDI 28 MARS 1989 Maître, En vous décernant son grand prix, l'Institut Paul VI rend hommage à votre œuvre. Elle a ce mérite de toucher une âme religieuse d'aujourd'hui avec peut-être plus de force encore que les œuvres du passé : précisément parce qu'elle est à la fois religieuse et d'aujourd'hui. Plus que religieuse, chrétienne. Ce faisant, elle touche tout homme, chrétien ou non. Comment comprendre ce paradoxe ? Paul VI avait clairement formulé le fondement dans la foi de cette intime corrélation de l'humanisme et du christianisme : « Est-ce la tâche de l'Eglise de travailler à l'extension de la culture ? A cette question continue le Pape, on ne peut répondre qu'affirmative­ment. II y a là une sorte d'œcuménisme de la culture et l'Eglise en a ouvert les portes toutes grandes... Tout ce qui est humain, tout ce que l'homme divulgue, imprime et diffuse, l'Eglise l'accueille. Cela témoigne combien elle est mère, combien son âme est universelle. Rien ne lui semble étranger, rien ne peut lui être indifférent, ses yeux sont ouverts sur tous les phénomènes humains... Que tout se transforme en hymne, en louange de Dieu - même si cette louange est d'abord confuse et inconsciente -, en reconnaissance au Verbe qui fait pleuvoir sur les choses humaines son intelligence et sa cognoscibilité ». Master, By awarding you its grand prize, the Paul VI Institute pays tribute to your work. It has the merit of touching a religious soul of today with perhaps even more force than the works of the past: precisely because it is both religious and of today. More than religious, Christian. In doing so, it affects every man, Christian or not. How to understand this paradox? Paul VI had clearly formulated the foundation in faith of this intimate correlation between humanism and Christianity: “Is it the task of the Church to work for the extension of culture? To this question the Pope continues, we can only answer in the affirmative. There is here a kind of ecumenism of culture and the Church has opened its doors wide ... Everything that is human, everything that man discloses, prints and disseminates, the Church welcomes. . It testifies how much she is a mother, how universal her soul is. Nothing seems foreign to him, nothing can be indifferent to him, his eyes are open to all human phenomena ... May everything turn into a hymn, into praise of God - even if this praise is at first confused and unconscious -, in gratitude to the Word which makes rain on human things its intelligence and its cognoscibility ”. Et, en 1967, dans Populorum Progressio (§ 42), reprenant l'expression de Maritain d'un « humanisme plénier qu'il faut promouvoir », Paul VI écrivait : « Qu'est-ce à dire sinon le développement intégral de tout l'homme et de tous les hommes ? Un humanisme clos, fermé aux valeurs de l'esprit et à Dieu qui en est la source, pourrait apparemment triompher. Certes, l'homme peut organiser la terre sans Dieu, mais - et le pape Paul VI cite ici le Père de Lubac - ‘sans Dieu il ne peut en fin de compte que l'organiser contre l'homme. L'humanisme exclusif est un humanisme inhumain’ ». II n'est donc d'huma­nisme vrai qu'ouvert à l'Absolu, dans la reconnaissance d'une vocation, qui donne l'idée vraie de la vie humaine. Loin d'être la norme dernière des valeurs, l'homme ne se réalise lui-même qu'en se dépassant. Selon le mot si juste de Pascal : « L'homme passe infiniment l'homme ». A mon tour, je dois remercier l'Institut Paul VI de vous avoir conféré ce prix international. Jamais, en effet, je n'avais imaginé qu'il me serait accordé de vous dire, en cette cathé­drale Notre-Dame de Paris, ma fervente admiration et ma reconnaissante amitié. Que ces derniers mots ne vous surprennent pas. And, in 1967, in Populorum Progressio (§ 42), taking up Maritain's expression of a “plenary humanism that must be promoted”, Paul VI wrote: “What does that mean if not the integral development of everything? man and all men? A closed humanism, closed to the values ​​of the spirit and to God who is their source, could apparently triumph. Of course, man can organize the earth without God, but - and Pope Paul VI quotes Father de Lubac here - ‘without God he can ultimately only organize it against man. Exclusive humanism is inhuman humanism ". There is therefore no true humanism except open to the Absolute, in the recognition of a vocation, which gives the true idea of ​​human life. Far from being the ultimate standard of values, man only realizes himself by surpassing himself. According to Pascal's apt word: "Man infinitely passes man". In my turn, I must thank the Paul VI Institute for conferring this international prize on you. In fact, I never imagined that I would be allowed to tell you, in this Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, my fervent admiration and my grateful friendship. Don't let these last words surprise you. Dans cette assistance, ce soir, sont présents quelques-uns des musiciens - vos cadets - avec qui j'ai souvent discuté et « célébré »; c'est le mot qu'il faut employer puisque c'est la liturgie qui nous réunissait, eux à leur tribune d'orgues et moi à l'autel. Ils savent quelle joie et quelle communion spirituelle nous étaient données lorsque l'une de vos œuvres retentissait dans la célébration liturgique. In this audience this evening are present some of the musicians - your cadets - with whom I have often discussed and "celebrated"; this is the word that must be used since it is the liturgy that brought us together, them to their organ gallery and me to the altar. They know what joy and what spiritual communion we were given when one of your works resounded in the liturgical celebration. Pourquoi une œuvre musicale comme la vôtre, Maître, aussi originale et novatrice, savante et, pour certains, provocante, est-elle accueillie et aimée d'un si grand nombre de nos contemporains ? Why is a musical work like yours, Master, so original and innovative, scholarly and, for some, provocative, received and loved by so many of our contemporaries? On se figure assez naïvement, du moins dans la jeunesse, que l'expérience esthétique est essentiellement la projection de la subjectivité poussée à son plus haut point, et, finalement, le refus de toute autre contrainte que celle d'obéir au jaillissement obscur du cœur de l'homme. We imagine fairly naively, at least in youth, that the aesthetic experience is essentially the projection of subjectivity pushed to its highest point, and, finally, the refusal of any constraint other than that of obeying the obscure outpouring of the human heart. Depuis au moins un siècle, ce subjectivisme que le romantisme pensait inspiré, a fait porter tout son effort contre l'académisme. Je nomme ainsi les contraintes d'un apprentissage répétitif des formes et des règles dont les fruits, souvent élégants et raffinés, offrent au public la sécurité et la joliesse du déjà connu, au lieu de la grandeur toujours déconcertante du Beau et de son inépuisable nouveauté. Or, ne faisiez-vous pas remarquer que cette œuvre des années 30 que nous venons d'entendre paraissait peut-être aujourd'hui classique ? Et, nous le savons bien, tout au long de ces années de création où vous avez accumulé des œuvres si singulières et novatrices, votre musique, bien que sonnant moderne et déconcertante pour l'académisme de certains est apparue, dès le départ, comme entrant dans le classicisme. Qu'est-ce à dire ? For at least a century, this subjectivism that romanticism thought inspired, has focused all its efforts against academicism. I thus name the constraints of a repetitive learning of forms and rules whose fruits, often elegant and refined, offer the public the security and the prettiness of the already known, instead of the always disconcerting grandeur of Beauty and its inexhaustible novelty. . However, did you not point out that this work of the 1930s that we have just heard perhaps seems classic today? And, we know it well, throughout these years of creation in which you have accumulated such singular and innovative works, your music, although sounding modern and disconcerting for the academicism of some, appeared, from the start, as entering. in classicism. What to say? D'abord, contrairement à ce qu'imagine l'illusion subjective, l'art véritable sait se donner des règles et y obéir. Car l'art est une langue; même lorsque - comme souvent aujourd'hui - chacun doit se créer son vocabulaire et sa grammaire. La vraie question esthétique de notre temps, après les ruptures opérées depuis plus d'un siècle, est d'éprouver si la langue que se crée chaque artiste, n'est qu'un cri solitaire, si elle ne fait qu'expri­mer la déconcertante énigme de chacun, enfermé en lui-même, ou bien si elle permet le langage entre les humains, si adaptée, elle est entendue par le peuple qu'elle entraîne au-delà de lui-même. Cette épreuve fait comprendre comment le créateur dans le domaine esthétique rejoint l'expérience du prophète - le vrai et le faux - et la reconnaissance sociale de l'art a pour paradigme le miracle des langues de la Pentecôte. L'écriture musicale exige un travail d'élaboration que certains imaginent vainement inutile et contraire à l'inspiration spontanée et irrépressible. En réalité, le compositeur, comme tout créateur, doit se consacrer à un travail savant, pénible, réfléchi - ô combien ! - qui articule l'indicible pour en faire un discours dont la cohérence est à rechercher non dans sa seule rigueur, mais aussi dans sa beauté et son intuition. First, contrary to what the subjective illusion imagines, real art knows how to give itself rules and obey them. Because art is a language; even when - as is often the case today - everyone has to create their own vocabulary and grammar. The real aesthetic question of our time, after the ruptures operated for more than a century, is to test whether the language that each artist creates for himself is only a solitary cry, if it only expresses the disconcerting enigma of each, locked in himself, or if it allows language between humans, if adapted, it is understood by the people that it leads beyond itself. This test makes us understand how the creator in the aesthetic domain joins the experience of the prophet - the true and the false - and the social recognition of art has as a paradigm the miracle of the tongues of Pentecost. Musical writing requires a work of elaboration that some people vainly imagine useless and contrary to spontaneous and irrepressible inspiration. In reality, the composer, like any creator, must devote himself to scholarly, painful, thoughtful work - oh how much! - which articulates the unspeakable to make of it a discourse whose coherence is to be sought not in its only rigor, but also in its beauty and its intuition. Ensuite, qui dit classicisme dit rapport au réel. Non plus seulement lorsque l'artiste dans son jeu narcissique ne fait que se dire et se contempler soi-même au miroir de son apparence. Mais surtout lorsque l'homme en quête du vrai reçoit le réel et sa diversité comme un autre langage. Le croyant, lui, y reconnaît Celui qui parle dans la création Dieu qui est son auteur. Alors, les balbutiements de l'artiste ne sont qu'une obéissance au langage de Dieu qui se dit dans sa création, même s'il lui faut l'accueillir en recueillant précieusement les chants d'oiseaux ! Ce rapport au réel rend l'artiste le plus novateur et apparemment le plus iconoclaste infiniment respectueux des cultures surgies des cœurs et des mains des hommes. Dès lors, il n'y a plus d'exotisme dans la symphonie des cultures humaines. Les débris des cultures passées, les apports des cultures lointaines sont comme revivifiés par celui qui sait y entendre le Créateur de l'homme chanter par la bouche de l'homme, sa créature. Then, who says classicism says relation to reality. Not only when the artist in his narcissistic game does nothing but talk about and contemplate himself in the mirror of his appearance. But above all when the man in search of truth receives reality and its diversity as another language. The believer recognizes the One who speaks in creation, God who is its author. So, the artist's beginnings are only obedience to the language of God which is said in his creation, even if he must welcome it by carefully collecting the songs of birds! This relationship to reality makes the most innovative artist and apparently the most iconoclastic, infinitely respectful of cultures that emerge from the hearts and hands of men. Consequently, there is no longer any exoticism in the symphony of human cultures. The remains of past cultures, the contributions of distant cultures are as if revived by those who know how to hear the Creator of man singing through the mouth of man, his creature. Enfin, dans la culture contemporaine, dans l'expérience esthétique de notre pays, le vrai danger qui menace les créateurs est d'être coupés du peuple. De s'adonner à un art de « chapelle », un art d'esthète, un art sans public, sinon de mode et d'humeur. Or, vous êtes un musicien d'église. Et vous êtes parmi les seuls musiciens contemporains dont l'œuvre, au gré des organistes et des assemblées, est, de dimanche en dimanche, jouée, donnée, livrée à l'oreille et au cœur de foules non triées de croyants. Et cette œuvre contemporaine - ô combien !- fût-elle parfois surprenante pour certains - est accueillie, acceptée, aimée, reconnue. L'art d'église a cette chance inouïe, qui n'existe en aucun autre domaine de l'art contemporain, de ne pas dépendre des publics choisis par les cooptations fugitives des modes ou des snobismes, des commandes ou de l'argent, mais d'être au service d'un peuple que réunit l'acte du culte, la forme la plus fonda­mentale et la plus désintéressée de la culture. L'œuvre musicale y est un langage; et l'artiste est appelé à accomplir une fonction médiatrice face à l'invisible réalité de Dieu. II se fait entendre à un peuple à l'écoute de cette Parole divine qui lui est adressée dans chaque célébration. Finally, in contemporary culture, in the aesthetic experience of our country, the real danger that threatens creators is to be cut off from the people. To indulge in an art of "chapel", an art of esthete, an art without public, if not of fashion and humor. Now, you're a church musician. And you are among the only contemporary musicians whose work, according to the organists and the assemblies, is, from Sunday to Sunday, played, given, delivered to the ears and the hearts of unsorted crowds of believers. And this contemporary work - oh so much! - even though it was sometimes surprising to some - is welcomed, accepted, loved, recognized. Church art has this incredible chance, which does not exist in any other field of contemporary art, of not depending on the audiences chosen by the fleeting co-options of fashions or snobbery, commissions or money, but to be at the service of a people united by the act of worship, the most fundamental and disinterested form of culture. The musical work is a language there; and the artist is called to perform a mediating function in the face of the invisible reality of God. It makes itself heard by a people listening to this divine Word which is addressed to it in each celebration. Dès lors, ne nous étonnons pas si l'artiste doit dans son œuvre de création pratiquer toutes les disciplines spirituelles qui sont celles de l'expérience chrétienne à propre­ment parler. Platon notait déjà à propos de la musique qu'il y a des bons et des mauvais génies; et que, quoi qu'il en soit de la soumission. aux règles et du talent déployé, l'inspiration intérieure compte et qualifie d'une certaine façon l'œuvre. Et l'œuvre juge l'auteur. J'aurais vivement désiré pouvoir ici recueillir votre sentiment au sujet du jugement de Socrate que Platon nous rapporte dans La République. Y a-t-il ainsi des « harmonies » bénéfiques ou maléfiques ? Plus précisément en accord avec la dignité morale et spirituelle de l'homme, ou bien qui lui seraient contraires ? Laissons de côté cette identification objective entre la manifestation du Beau et l'expression du Bien. Therefore, let us not be surprised if the artist must in his work of creation practice all the spiritual disciplines which are those of the Christian experience properly speaking. Plato already noted with regard to music that there are good and bad geniuses; and that, regardless of the submission. with the rules and talent displayed, interior inspiration counts and qualifies in a certain way the work. And the work judges the author. I would have greatly wished to be able here to collect your feelings on the subject of the judgment of Socrates that Plato relates to us in The Republic. Are there thus beneficial or evil "harmonies"? More precisely in accordance with the moral and spiritual dignity of man, or who would be contrary to him? Let us leave aside this objective identification between the manifestation of Beauty and the expression of Good. ​ Nous pouvons dire, en tout cas, qu'il existe une intime connexion, nécessaire mais non suffisante, entre la recherche de Dieu et l'expression du beau. Je dis bien : non suffisante, sans doute. Car hélas ! dans notre monde cassé entre la recherche de la vérité et l'expression de la beauté, écartelé entre la sainteté et l'esthétique, les discordances ne sont pas rares. Mais, il faut travailler à la réconciliation de ces deux expériences. Et, vous le savez mieux que quiconque, la quête obstinée et patiente de l'artiste véritable, son humble obéissance à la recherche de l'insaisissable et de l'indivisible, l'usure indéfinie des forces et l'incertitude du résultat trouvent comme analogie la montée du mystique qui veut obéir à l'obscure lumière que lui donne le Seigneur et Rédempteur de tous. L'obstination de cet artiste-là n'a de comparable que la patience de celui qui prie, contemple et médite. We can say, in any case, that there is an intimate connection, necessary but not sufficient, between the search for God and the expression of the beautiful. I say: not sufficient, no doubt. Because alas! in our world broken between the search for truth and the expression of beauty, torn between holiness and aesthetics, discrepancies are not rare. But, we must work to reconcile these two experiences. And, you know it better than anyone, the stubborn and patient quest for the true artist, his humble obedience in the search for the elusive and the indivisible, the indefinite wear and tear of forces and the uncertainty of the result are found as analogy the rise of the mystic who wants to obey the obscure light given to him by the Lord and Redeemer of all. The stubbornness of this artist can only be compared with the patience of one who prays, contemplates and meditates. ​ C'est pourquoi je me permets de remercier ici, en cette occasion, tous ceux et celles qui ont voulu contribuer à créer un comité dont j'attends beaucoup. Son nom est un programme : Art, Culture et Foi. II voudrait faire se rejoindre les chemins de la recherche de Dieu et ceux du service du beau. De la sorte, puisse la vraie liberté de l'artiste qui grandit à l'école de la purifi­cation, puisse le vrai désintéressement d'un peuple qui reconnaît un don de Dieu dans les grâces données aux serviteurs de l'art et du beau, se rencontrer et contribuer à ce que notre terre exprime cette Beauté invisible et secrète que nos yeux, un jour, contempleront et que nos oreilles, un jour, entendront. Déjà, les chants célestes plus beaux que tout autre chant en ce monde, associent à leur union dans l'Eucharistie tous les chants du monde par nos voix : « una voce dicentes... » This is why I take the liberty of thanking here, on this occasion, all those who wanted to help create a committee from which I have great expectations. Its name is a program: Art, Culture and Faith. He would like to bring together the paths of the search for God and those of the service of beauty. In this way, may the true freedom of the artist who grows up in the school of purification, may the true disinterestedness of a people who recognize a gift from God in the graces given to the servants of art and beauty, to meet and contribute to our earth expressing this invisible and secret Beauty that our eyes, one day, will contemplate and that our ears, one day, will hear. Already, the heavenly songs, more beautiful than any other song in this world, associate with their union in the Eucharist all the songs of the world through our voices: "una voce dicentes ..." Que le Seigneur de gloire vous bénisse, Maître, lui qui vous a fait la grâce de le servir et de servir son Peuple par votre art. Paris le 28 mars 1989 May the Lord of glory bless you, Master, he who has given you the grace to serve him and to serve his people through your art. Paris March 28, 1989 Cardinal Jean-Marie LUSTIGER II- MESSE DE REQUIEM POUR OLIVIER MESSIAEN Extrait de l’Homélie du Cardinal Jean-Marie LUSTIGER EGLISE DE LA SAINTE TRINITE, PARIS ; 14 MAI 1992 Olivier Messiaen voyait le passage énigmatique de la mort comme un accès à la gloire divine tant désirée et peut-être anticipée par les mystères de son art. Olivier Messiaen saw the enigmatic passage of death as an access to the divine glory so longed for and perhaps anticipated by the mysteries of his art. Toute vie d'homme est un signe de Dieu. Les unes ne sont déchiffrables que dans le secret ultime évoqué par saint Jean dans l'Apocalypse (chapitre 2, verset 17) : au jour de « révélation », chacun recevra le nom nouveau, connu de lui seul, gravé sur une pierre blanche que le Maître de toutes choses lui donnera. D'autres, au contraire, ont cette grâce d'être en ce monde des révélateurs, des êtres par qui apparaît ce qui est caché. Parfois, cela coïncide avec le génie ou le talent extrê­me, avec des destins hors du commun. All human life is a sign from God. Some can only be deciphered in the ultimate secret mentioned by Saint John in the Apocalypse (chapter 2, verse 17): on the day of "revelation", each will receive the new name, known only to him, engraved on a white stone that the Master of all things will give him. Others, on the contrary, have this grace of being in this world revelators, beings through whom what is hidden appears. Sometimes it coincides with genius or extreme talent, with extraordinary destinies. La vie d'Olivier est certainement de celles-là. En lui – par ce qu'il a été, et par ce qu'il a fait – apparaît avec une pleine clarté une réalité que nous avons du mal à saisir. L'expérience proprement spirituelle, c'est-à-dire dans l'Esprit Saint, l'expérience de la foi (le Christ Messie, doux et humble de cœur, Seigneur de gloire, Fils éternel et Verbe de Dieu, nous fait entrer par le don de l'Esprit dans le mystère ineffable du Père des cieux), cette expérience de la foi, dis-je, dans son insondable beauté et son déploiement dont l'être humain explore peu à peu les richesses insoupçonnées, coïncide avec un autre type d'expérience, celle de l'esthétique, de la musique, pour prendre les termes les plus familiers. Olivier's life is certainly one of them. In him - by what he was, and by what he did - appears with full clarity a reality that we have difficulty grasping. The properly spiritual experience, that is to say in the Holy Spirit, the experience of faith (Christ the Messiah, meek and humble of heart, Lord of glory, Eternal Son and Word of God, brings us into by the gift of the Spirit in the ineffable mystery of the Father in Heaven), this experience of faith, I say, in its unfathomable beauty and its unfolding, of which the human being gradually explores the unsuspected riches, coincides with a another type of experience, that of aesthetics, of music, to use the most familiar terms. ​ Lorsque nous disons qu'Olivier Messiaen a été un musicien liturgique, un musicien d'Église, un croyant musicien, nous trébuchons sur les mots. Car il ne s'agit pas seulement d'une convergence accidentelle, mais d'une concentration, d'une focalisation sur l'essentiel de la vie et de l'intelligence humaine et divine. En réalité, ces deux chemins s'entremêlent et se recouvrent. Et Olivier Messiaen ne confiait-il pas : « Le drame de ma vie, c'est que j'ai écrit de la musique religieuse pour un public qui n'a pas la foi ». When we say that Olivier Messiaen was a liturgical musician, a church musician, a believing musician, we stumble over words. Because it is not only an accidental convergence, but a concentration, a focus on the essentials of life and human and divine intelligence. In reality, these two paths intertwine and overlap. And Olivier Messiaen did not confide: "The drama of my life is that I wrote religious music for an audience that does not have faith". Olivier Messiaen a été l'un de ces hommes en qui la coïncidence entre l'œuvre musicale et le chemin spirituel s'est expri­mée avec une telle sérénité, une telle assurance, que sont dépassées les séparations, les divisions, les hostilités, les incom­préhensions parfois mortelles qui ont pu exister entre cette Église que Messiaen aime tant et qu'il nous aide à aimer, et l'art avec ses obscurités et ses lumières, ses allées et venues, ses échecs et ses foudroyantes découvertes. Olivier Messiaen was one of those men in whom the coincidence between the musical work and the spiritual path was expressed with such serenity, such assurance, that separations, divisions, hostilities, misunderstandings are overcome. sometimes deadly that may have existed between this Church that Messiaen loves so much and that he helps us to love, and art with its obscurities and its lights, its comings and goings, its failures and its lightning discoveries. Avec Olivier Messiaen, nous comprenons mieux l'amour mutuel que nous devons nous porter. Nous mesurons la recon­naissance que le peuple des croyants doit à l'artiste capable non pas d'illustrer la foi, mais de faire chanter à des oreilles humaines le plus insondable et le plus inconnaissable langage. With Olivier Messiaen, we better understand the mutual love that we must have for each other. We measure the gratitude that the people of believers owe to the artist capable not of illustrating the faith, but of making human ears sing the most unfathomable and the most unknowable language. L'art est ici comme un vêtement, comme une chair de surcroît à cette chair qu'est la Parole divine, le Verbe incarné. L'art est ici surabondance de la Parole qui nous fait pénétrer dans l'au-delà de la Parole. Art is here like a garment, like a flesh in addition to this flesh which is the divine Word, the Incarnate Word. The art here is an overabundance of the Word which makes us penetrate into the beyond of the Word. Olivier Messiaen nous montre aux uns et aux autres comment avancer dans le chemin qui est le nôtre. Il nous invite et nous encourage à obéir à la Vérité qui est aussi Beauté. Paris le 14 mai 1992, Eglise de la Sainte Trinité Olivier Messiaen shows us both how to move forward on our path. He invites us and encourages us to obey the Truth which is also Beauty. Paris May 14, 1992, Church of the Holy Trinity III- OUVERTURE DU FESTIVAL MESSIAEN, 1995 Intervention du Cardinal Jean-Marie LUSTIGER EGLISE DE LA SAINTE TRINITE, PARIS ; 8 MARS 1995 Extrait de l’intervention du Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, lors de la soirée inaugurale du Festival Messiaen, à l'église de la Sainte-Trinité, Paris. Ces paroles traitent essentiellement de l'œuvre d'orgue du maître, qui avait été intégralement donnée au cours de ce festival. Nous conservons le style oral de cette intervention. « Olivier Messiaen n'a pas été un « fabricant de liturgie ». Il n'a rien fait qui soit utilisable dans ce registre. Mais il acréé un nouveau genre, puisque l'œuvre d'orgue est comme une place, qui brusquement est prise dans le culte catholique [par] la musique seule, qui ne se substitue pas à l'acte du culte, mais qui y ajoute comme une nouvelle dimension„Ÿ analogue et comparable à ce que fut la cantate, sans doute, dans le culte luthérien, mais qui se déploie à l'intérieur de l'espace sacramentaire et eucharistique du culte catholique. C’est, me semble-t-il, non seulement un nouveau genre musical mais un nouveau genre liturgique, où l'œuvre d'orgue n'est pas là seulement pour accompagner une action et couvrir les bruits d'une assemblée... n'est pas là comme soutien plus ou moins renforcé d'un chant plus ou moins déficient... n'est pas là comme pour donner voix à un chœur ou à une foule qui cherche sa voix ou ses voix... Il se fait entendre comme la voix, oserais-je dire, d'un concélébrant, « cocélébrant », qui par lui-même ajoute le déploiement de la méditation contemplative, devenue communicable à une foule par la grâce du langage esthétique et de la musique. Extract from the intervention of Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, during the inaugural evening of the Messiaen Festival, at the Church of the Holy Trinity, Paris. These lyrics mainly deal with the master's organ work, which was given in full during this festival. We keep the oral style of this intervention. “Olivier Messiaen was not a“ maker of the liturgy ”. He did nothing that could be used in this registry. But he created a new genre, since the organ work is like a place, which is suddenly taken in Catholic worship [by] music alone, which does not replace the act of worship, but adds to it. as a new dimension „Ÿ analogous and comparable to what the cantata was, no doubt, in Lutheran worship, but which unfolds within the sacramental and Eucharistic space of Catholic worship. It is, it seems to me, not only a new musical genre but a new liturgical genre, where the organ work is not there only to accompany an action and cover the noises of an assembly. . is not there as a more or less reinforced support for a more or less deficient song ... is not there as if to give voice to a choir or to a crowd which seeks its voice or its voices ... It is heard like the voice, dare I say, of a concelebrant, "co-celebrant", which by itself adds the deployment of contemplative meditation, which has become communicable to a crowd by the grace of aesthetic language and music. Et [le] caractère savant [de cette musique] est une garantie de sa rectitude spirituelle, de sa rigueur spirituelle. Nous ne sommes pas là devant le déploiement abusif du sentiment religieux; nous sommes là devant une œuvre qui, s'appuyant sur la sensibilité et l'esthétique, veut nous mener jusqu'aux rigueurs pures et saintes de la contemplation du mystère ineffable ». Paris le 8 mars 1995, Eglise de la Sainte Trinité Petit supplément : « Il se trouve que j’ai été très touché par la musique de Messiaen. J’y entends ce que la Parole peut inspirer à un musicien et ce qu’un musicien peut exprimer d’une Parole reçue ; j’y ai trouvé, dans la méditation exprimée du musicien, des aspects qui m’ont aidé à comprendre la Parole neuve qu’il commentait… » And [the] learned character [of this music] is a guarantee of its spiritual rectitude, of its spiritual rigor. We are not here in the face of the abusive display of religious sentiment; we are there in front of a work which, based on sensitivity and aesthetics, wants to lead us to the pure and holy rigors of the contemplation of the ineffable mystery ”. Paris March 8, 1995, Church of the Holy Trinity Small supplement: “I happened to be very touched by Messiaen’s music. I hear what the Word can inspire in a musician and what a musician can express from a received Word; I found there, in the expressed meditation of the musician, aspects that helped me to understand the new Word that he was commenting on ... " Cardinal Lustiger, extrait d’interview, Janvier 2005. Le Cardinal Aron Jean-Marie Lustiger a été rappelé à Dieu le dimanche 5 août 2007, dans la soirée, en la vigile de la Transfiguration. Cardinal Lustiger Further writings, papers and readings Interview with Messiaen and Edith Walter. First published in French magazine 'HARMONIE' 1970. The interview focuses on La Transfiguration then only recently composed. Cheong, Wai-Ling. "Symmetrical Permutation, the Twelve Tones, and Messiaen's Catalogue d'oiseaux." Perspectives of New Music 45/1 (Winter 2007): 110-37. Christoph Neidhöfer. "A Theory of Harmony and Voice Leading for the Music of Olivier Messiaen." Music Theory Spectrum, Vol. 27 Issue 1, pp. 1-34. 2005. Gareth Healey: "Messiaen and the concept of 'Personages'. Tempo (October 2004) Nigel Simeone: 'Messiaen and the Concerts de la Pléiade: "A Kind of Clandestine Revenge on the Occupation" ' Music & Letters (November 2000) Nigel Simeone: 'Offrandes oubliées: Messiaen in the 1930s', (Musical Times, Winter 2000) Nigel Simeone: 'Offrandes oubliées 2: Messiaen, Boulanger and José Bruyr', (Musical Times, Spring 2001) Nigel Simeone: ‘Daniel-Lesur’, Musical Times (Winter 2002), pp.6–8 [obituary, including the first publication of a speech by Messiaen about Daniel-Lesur] Nigel Simeone: ‘An Exotic Tristan in Boston: The First Performance of Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie’, King Arthur in Music, ed. R. Barber [Arthurian Studies, vol.52] (Boydell and Brewer, 2002), 106–125 [book chapter]. Nigel Simeone: 'Towards "un succès absolument formidable": the birth of Messiaen's La Transfiguration'. Musical Times (Summer 2004) pp.5-24. N. Simeone: ‘”Chez Messiaen, tout est prière”: Messiaen’s appointment to the Trinité in 1931,’ Musical Times (Winter 2004)pp.36-53 Vincent Benitez: Simultaneous Contrast and Additive Designs in Olivier Messiaen's opera St. François d'Assisie. Music Theory Online 8.2 (August 2002) Vincent Benitez: A Creative Legacy: Messiaen as Teacher of Analysis. College Music Symposium 40. 2000 117-39 Vincent Benitez: Aspects of Harmony in Messiaen's Later Music: An Examination of the Chords of Transposed Inversions on the Same Bass Note. Journal of Musicological Research 23 no.2 (April-June 2004): 187-226. ​ Jean Barraqué: 'Rythme et dévéloppement', Polyphonie (1954) Jonathan Bernard: 'Messiaen's Synaesthesia: the Correspondence Between Color and Sound Structure in His Music'. Music Perception, IV (1986) Pierre Boulez: 'Olivier Messiaen' Anhaltspunkte (Stuttgart and Zurich, Belser 1975) Leonard Burkat: Turangalila Symphonie, Musical Quarterly, xxxvi (1950) Norman Demuth: 'Messiaen's Early Birds', Musical Times (1960) David Drew: 'Messiaen, a Provisional Study', The Score (1954) Adrian Evans: Olivier Messiaen In The Surrealist Context: A Bibliography Part One Brio Vol 11 No 1 Spring 1974 IAML UK Olivier Messiaen In The Surrealist Context: A Bibliography Part Two Brio Vol 11 No 2 Autumn 1974 IAML UK ‘Messiaen and Surrealism’ see article Bennett Gardiner: 'Dialogues with Messiaen'. Musical Events xxii (1967) Hellmut Heiss: 'Struktur und Symbolik in 'Reprises par interversion" und "Les mains de l'abîme" aus Olivier Messiaen's Livre d'Orgue'. Zeitschrift für Musiktheorie (1970) Trevor Hold: 'Messiaen's Birds'. Music and Letters. (1971) Messiaen issue of Melos xxv/12 (1958) Messiaen issue of Musik-Konzept, 28 (1982) Roger Nichols: 'Boulez on Messiaen'. Organist's Review (August 1986) Roger Nichols: 'Messiaen's "Le Merle noir": the Case of a Blackbird in a Historical Pie'. Claude Samuel: 'Discographie compléte', Diapason-Harmonie (December 1988) Roger Smalley: 'Debussy and Messiaen', Musical Times cix (1968) Harriet Watts: 'Canyons, Colours and Birds: an Interview with Olivier Messiaen', Tempo 128 (1979) Les Editions de Minuit, CONTREPOINTS. No 1, Janvier 1946. Revue de Musique dir. par Fred. Goldbeck. Paris, 1946,128 pages. Contient: OEUVRES DE DARIUS MILHAUD, par Francis Poulenc. FRANCIS POULENC, MUSICIEN FRANCAIS, par A, Schaeffner - LA PROPAGANDE ALLEMANDE ET LA MUSIQUE, par Marc Pincherle - MUSIQUE ET RESISTANCE , par H. Barraud, Olivier Messiaen musicien mystique ?, Eric Satie évoqué a Londres .... War Music. A play by Bryan Davidson Directed by Jessica Kubzansky b ased upon dramatic events in the lives of composers Frank Bridge, Anton Webern, and Olivier Messiaen Vincent Benitez: Narrating Saint Francis's Spiritual Journey: Referential Pitch Structures and Symbolic Images in Messiaen's Saint François d'Assise. (In Poznan Studies on Opera Vol 4, Theories of Opera, ed. Maciej Jablonski, 363-411. Poland; Publishing House of the Poznan Soc. for the Advancement of the Arts and Sciences. Section of Music and Fine Arts, Publication of the Committee for Musicology, Vol 16 2004.) Jennifer Bate Jennifer Bate and Olivier Messiaen Jennifer is famous for her interpretation of both modern and romantic music. In particular, she enjoys a unique reputation as the world authority on the French composer Olivier Messiaen, and was his organist of choice. Indeed, she “may claim honors as THE Messiaen player of this generation” . In 1975, when Jennifer was due to broadcast a programme of Messiaen’s music, the BBC invited the composer to hear her preparing it. She played to him and Mme Messiaen at St James’s Church, Muswell Hill. Messiaen immediately made a dedication on the scores she played and also gave her the following written recommendation: “Jennifer Bate is an excellent organist, not only for her virtuosity, but also for her musicianship and sensitivity in choosing her timbres. She is a really accomplished musician who loves what she plays and knows how to make others love it too”. This visit marked the beginning of a close artistic association and friendship with both Olivier Messiaen and his wife, Yvonne Loriod. The press reviews of her début recording (the three great works of Liszt) were so outstanding that the Gramophone magazine arranged an interview when her second record (Elgar and Schumann) was released. The Gramophone quoted Messiaen’s opinion of her artistry and John Goldsmith, of Unicorn records, immediately offered to record with her the complete organ works of Olivier Messiaen on the instrument of her choice. Having by now played many times in France, she chose the recently-built organ at Beauvais Cathedral. The recording took place between 1980 and 1982, appearing first on LP and cassette in six volumes, and subsequently on CD. Each volume was heard by Messiaen prior to release; he endorsed them all with enormous enthusiasm. All won international acclaim. The success of these recordings led to a number of Messiaen recitals, many attended by the composer. In 1983, Messiaen took her to his Paris agent and asked him to re-allocate to Jennifer all organ recitals scheduled for him. At this stage, he also started annotating all her scores with his personal nuances of interpretation. The high point came when he sent her the manuscript of his last masterpiece for organ, Livre du Saint Sacrement. She gave the British première at Westminster Cathedral in 1986, to a capacity audience with the composer present, receiving a 20-minute standing ovation and unanimous critical acclaim. The concert was filmed and shown on Channel 4 later that year. One week after this performance, she opened the Radio France complete Messiaen cycle, broadcast live in his presence and, while working together, he invited her to make the world première recording of Livre du Saint Sacrement on his own instrument in Paris, arranging his schedule to attend all rehearsals and recording sessions. This recording had exceptional international success, including the award of a Grand Prix du Disque. Jennifer gave 25 performances of Livre du Saint Sacrement round the world before the score was published. Jennifer was the Artistic Advisor to, and performed in, the LWT South Bank Show television programme about Messiaen in 1985. This programme has been shown all over the world. There were three screenings at the Barbican in 1999 as part of Visions – The Music of Olivier Messiaen. Jennifer gave the second London performance of Messiaen’s Livre du Saint Sacrement at the Royal Festival Hall in 1988. A full house, again with the composer present, gave her another prolonged standing ovation and her playing attracted more magnificent press notices. Following the great success of the filming of the première of Livre du Saint Sacrement , Channel 4 commissioned a further programme. La Nativité du Seigneur was filmed in concert at the 1989 Norwich and Norfolk International Festival and shown on Christmas Day. La Nativité du Seigneur is distributed worldwide and is currently being promoted for 2002 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Messiaen’s death. In 1990, Jennifer’s outstanding ability and contribution to music received international recognition with the award of Personnalité de l’Année by the French-based jury. She was the first British woman to win the award and only the third British artist to do so after Sir Georg Solti and Sir Yehudi (later Lord) Menuhin; Sir Simon Rattle has since won it. In 1995, Jennifer opened a special festival at l’Eglise de la Sainte Trinité, Paris where Messiaen’s complete organ works were performed. The cycle was recorded by Jade Records; the boxed set of six CD’s received great acclaim, and Jennifer’s recording was also released as a separate CD winning, among other awards, the Diapason d’Or (France), Prix de Répertoire (France) and the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (Germany). In 2001, she opened the new season of concerts at the Royal Festival Hall with a programme that included the UK première of a newly-discovered piece by Messiaen, Offrande au Saint Sacrement . In November, she was invited to Avignon by the Association Orgue hommage à Messiaen to give a recital and participate in the dedication of a plaque at the church where the composer was baptised. This was such a success that she was immediately re-engaged to repeat her programme in the 2002 Acanthes Festival. This is one of her many concerts around the world commemorating both the 10th anniversary of Messiaen’s death and the centenary of Maurice Duruflé’s birth. Regis Records has re-released all Jennifer's Messiaen recordings, made by Unicorn-Kanchana, as a boxed set of six CDs (RRC6001). These are also available as two single and two double CDs. All are at budget price and carry the Penguin CD Guide Top Recommendation, a judgement endorsed by The Gramophone (May 2002). Visit Jennifer's home page Back to top

  • French composer Messiaen | Olivier Messiaen 20th Century music

    Olivier Messiaen "My faith is the grand drama of my life. I'm a believer, so I sing words of God to those who have no faith. I give bird songs to those who dwell in cities and have never heard them, make rhythms for those who know only military marches or jazz, and paint colours for those who see none". (Olivier Messiaen) © Copyright protected 1908 - 1992 © Copyright protected Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen 1924 - 2010 Bio READ MORE © Copyright protected © Malcolm Crowthers OLIVIER-EUGENE-PROSPER-CHARLES MESSIAEN (b. Dec. 10, 1908, Avignon, France.d. April 27, 1992, Clichy, near Paris), Olivier Messiaen was the son of Pierre Messiaen, a scholar of English literature, and of the poet Cecile Sauvage. Soon after his birth the family moved to Ambert (the birthplace of Chabrier) where his brother, Alain was born in 1913. Around the time of the outbreak of World War 1, Cecile Sauvage took her two sons to live with her brother in Grenoble where Olivier Messiaen spent his early childhood, began composing at the age of seven, and taught himself to play the piano. On his return from the war, Pierre Messiaen took the family to Nantes and in 1919 they all moved to Paris where Olivier entered the Conservatoire. Bio © Copyright protected UK Premiere of a work by Yvonne Loriod: Grains de cendre (1946) for Ondes Martenot, Piano and Voice Details of performance here . New Release of the Complete Messiaen Organ Works including a previously unpublished and unrecorded transcription 'Vie pour Dieu des Ressuscités', by organist Jon Gillock Read more here . New items in the 'Yvonne Loriod' page New items in the 'In the Press' page Crowdfund Alert!!! See here for full details of how to be part of this unique Messiaen project by Fugue State Films Des Canyons aux Étoiles... Performed by the Utah Symphony directed by Thierry Fischer under the stars and in the canyon at Zion Park which was one of the places that most influenced Messiaen at the time of writing. See: In The Press here Mount Messiaen The story and reminiscences ( here) . Rescue of MESSIAEN HOUSE in FULIGNY - Aube - Champagne area. This is the house where Messiaen's aunts lived and where he spent his summer vacations for many years. Here he notated his first bird songs and composed, among others, Preludes for piano, Le Banquet Céleste, Le Banquet Eucharistique, Les Offrandes Oubliées, Le Tombeau Resplendissant... and many more sketches that would find themselves in later works. Messiaen continued to visit his aunts and this house throughout his life. The current owner has decided to sell this house and the couple who wish to buy it intend to demolish it in view of the costs for its restoration. The Association LA QUALITE DE VIE reacted immediately, and is doing everything possible to have this "house of character" become an historical monument. The idea is to have this house bought by those who are interested in the world of BIRDS, in HERITAGE, in CONTEMPORARY MUSIC, in the ORGAN, in Olivier MESSIAEN... A FOUNDATION LE CHANT DES OISEAUX DE FULIGNY will make this place a concentration of Culture : "the grown-ups" and "the school children" will be able to learn to recognise the birds, their song, their life... One can imagine a specialised media library... and in a small auditorium one can listen to all the music and songs of the bird world... And maybe a care centre for injured birds and animals... In order to save the house and the property please help by purchasing a share of the SCI (Société Civile Immobilière) at 50 euros and help us to make this house an Historical Monument. This acquisition does not involve any financial risk. It does not concern future investments, that will be the responsibility of the future FONDATION LE CHANT DES OISEAUX DE FULIGNY, which will be the counterpart of LA MAISON MESSIAEN in Isère. Michel Gueritte, who himself has family connections with the Messiaen's, is spearheading this project so if you wish to partake and help, please email Michel at: Read more here . !Two publications worthy of note! see Bibliography page HERE The Cleveland Museum of Art invited Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod to perform a two-piano concert on October 13, 1978, in the Gartner Auditorium. The Museum has recently unearthed the recording made of the occasion. See news page . A prayer composed by Olivier Messiaen A rare document submitted by P. Jean-Rodolphe Kars HERE Matthew Schellhorn's special film for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2021 HERE 15th January 1941 QUATUOR POUR LA FIN DU TEMPS at Stalag VIIIA Gorlitz by Messiaen and fellow musician prisoners Henri Akoka, Étienne Pasquier and Jean Le Boulaire. The memorial and visitor centre at the site of Stalag VIIIA Rodrigo De la Prida introduces Messiaen's Modes for Electric Guitar See Media page Robert Grenier (bass) rehearses with Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod see Writings page Tom's Messiaen vlog - Episode 1 Organist Tom Bell is keeping a video diary as he prepares Messiaen's Livre du Saint-Sacrement for a performance scheduled for November 2020. In his weekly vlog he will be exploring the learning process, the music itself, and the questions around how you perform it. Messiaen commissioned sculptor Josef Pyrz to create a work on St. François d'Assise see Gallery page St. François and a passing bluebird. A rare and happy flash by Jim Frazier. This sculpture was made by FRANK C. GAYLORD and is located in the city of CHICAGO-ILINOIS/USA. Special Offer! This Limited Edition publication explores the 20 year history of the Festival Messiaen au pays de la Meije. The book pays tribute to the commitment of its founder and artistic director, Gaëtan Puaud and editor/author Raphaëlle Blin highlights the artistic, social and political experiences that maintained and supported creative music making and activities in the landscape that was so dear to Olivier Messiaen. The 160 stunning photographs by Colin Samuels and the testimonies of the performers, composers, musicologists, volunteers and members of the public reveal all the uniqueness of this adventure. ​ 1998-2018: born of the utopian idea of playing the work Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum for orchestra by Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) according to his wish, at the foot of the glacier in front of which he liked to compose, the Messiaen festival in the land of Meije has become an essential place of contemporary musical life, bringing together the greatest performers and composers. A book of more than 300 pages with magnificent photos and images by Colin Samuels , retracing the 20 years of the festival with many testimonies of artists and of festival-goers. With Swiss binding and soft cloth cover : a signed copy to the UK or anywhere in Europe for £31 or €35 including shipping. Any other country including USA and Japan: £36 or €40 includes shipping. Orders can be made directly from Colin Samuels via Paypal at: Multiple copies or questions, please email Colin at: ​ Check out the 'writings and articles ' page that includes contributions from Père Jean-Rodolphe Kars ~ Thomas Lacôte ~ Nicholas Armfelt ~ Jeffery Wilson and more. In The Press In the Press READ MORE Reviews of events, concerts, books & CDs. Any contributions to this page would be welcome. So if you would like to submit a review of any Messiaen related feature please get in touch. Contact Us Thanks for submitting! Submit Contact Events etc. READ MORE © Copyright Events Concert Calendar ~ CD New Releases and more!!

  • List of Works | Olivier Messiaen

    List of Works Messiaen wrote a vast amount of music including many test and sight reading pieces when he was teaching at the Ecole Normale de Musique during the 1930s and many early works were either discarded or considered as 'mere student exercises and not worth publishing'; so some of these works and others that are unpublished to date appear in blue . 1917 La dame de Shalott - Piano 1921 Deux ballades de Villon I. Épître à ses amis II.Ballade des pendus - Voice & Piano Ballade des pendus (poeme by François Villon) 1925 La tristesse d'un grand ciel blanc - Piano 1926 Fugue - (sur un sujet d'Henri Rabaud) Orchestral 1927 Esquisse modale - Organ 1927 Pièce pour orgue sur un thème de Laparra - Organ 1927 Adagio - Organ, Violin and Cello 1926/27 Andantino (String Quartet) 1928 Fugue en ré mineur (Orchestra) 1928 L'hôte aimable des âmes - Organ 1928 La banquet eucharistique - Orchestral 1st and only performance on 22-1-1930 in an event called 'Exercice des éleves' at the Paris Conservatoire cond. by Henri Rabaud. 1928 Le banquet céleste - Organ (Leduc) The first edition of 1934 was written in 3/4 metre with no metronome mark. Messiaen revised this in 1960 with a metre of 3/2 and MM of quaver = 52. 1928 Variations écossaises - Organ 1928 Jésus (Poème symphonique) c.1929 Prélude en trio sur un thème de Haydn - Organ 1928-29 Préludes - Piano (Durand)1st private performance 28-1-1930 at Editions Durand by Messiaen 1st public performance 15-6-1937 by Bernadette Alexandre-Georges at Ecole Normale de Musique Paris 1930 Sainte-Bohème (Extrait des Odes funambulesques)-a setting for chorus and orchestra of a text by Théodore de Banville. 1930 Fugue pour le Concours de Rome (sur un sujet de Georges Hüe) 1930 Diptyque - Organ (Durand) 1st public performance 20-2-1930 Les Amis de l'Orgue, Eglise de la Trinite, Messiaen 1930 La mort du nombre - Vocal/Chamber - sop, ten, violin, piano (Durand) 1st public performance 1931 Societe Musicale Independante, Ecole Normale de Musique Paris. Georgette Mathieu (S), Jean Planel (T) Monsieur Blareau (vl) Messiaen (pn) 1930 Les offrandes oubliées - Orchestral -;;timp,perc,strings (Durand) 1st public performance 19-2-1930 Theatre des Champs Elysees, Les Concerts Straram dir. Walter Straram 1930 Les offrandes Oubliées - Piano version (Durand) LOWTop 1930/35 Offrande au Saint Sacrement - Organ (Leduc) 1929/30 Simple chant d'une âme - Orchestral 1930 Trois mélodies - Voice & Piano (Durand) 1st public performance 1930 Societe national de musique, Louise Matha and Messiaen 1931 Le Tombeau resplendissant - Orchestra - 3.3(1 cor ang).3(1clB).3- - strings(Durand) 1st public performance 12-2-1933 Salle Pleyel Paris dir Monteux c.1931 Fugue pour le Concours de Rome 1931 L'Ensorceleuse Cantate- sop, ten, bass and piano (or orchestra) Played through for the judges at the Prix de Rome competion 4 July 1931 1931 La Jeunesse des vieux - a short choral setting of a poem by Catulle Mendés 1932 Apparition de l'église éternelle- Organ (Lemoine) 1932 Fantaisie Burlesque - Piano (Durand)1st public performance 8-2-1933 by Robert Casadesus Concerts de la Societe Musicale Independante, Ecole Normale de Musique 1932 Hymne au Saint Sacrament - Orchestral -;,timp.perc,strings (Bro) 1st public performance 23-3-1933 cond. Walther Straram Théatre Champs-Élysées 1932 Thème et variations - Chamber - violin & piano (Leduc) 1st public performance 22-11-1932 at Cercle Musical de Paris Claire Delbos and Messiaen 1932-33 L'Ascension - Orchestral -;,timp,perc; (Leduc) 1st public performance 9-2-1935 at Salle Rameau, Concerts Siohan cond Robert Siohan 1933 Fantasie- Chamber - violin & piano (Durand 2007) First known performance:Schola Cantorum, paris 18 - 3 - 1935 (Messiaen and Delbos). Rediscovered in 2007 and published. 1933 Mass - Vocal - 8 sopranos 4 violins 1933-34 L'Ascension - Organ (Leduc) 1st public performance 29-1-1935 at saint-Antoine-des-Quinze-Vingts by Messiaen 1934 5 Leçons de Solfege a chanter - treble clef & piano accom. (Lemoine) 1934 Morceau de Lecture à vue for Piano 1935 La Nativité du Seigneur - Organ (Leduc) 1st complete public performance 27-2-1936 concert by Les Amis de l'Orgue at Trinité by Daniel Lesur mvt 1-3, Jean Langlais mvts4-6 and Jean-Jacques Grunenwald mvts7-9 1935 Pièce pour le tombeau de Paul Dukas - Piano (Durand) 1st public performance by Joaquin Nin-Culmell 25-4-1936 Ecole Normale de Musique Paris 1935 Vocalise - Voice & piano (Leduc) 1st public performance 18-5-1936 by Hennriette Quéru-Bedel and Messiaen 1936 Poèmes pour Mi - Vocal - sop & piano (Durand) 1st public performance 28-4-1937 Les Concerts de la Spirale, Marcelle Bunlet (s) Messiaen (pno) 1937 O sacrum convivium - Vocal SATB or sop & organ (Durand) 1st public performance 17-2-1938 Les Amis de l'Orgue at Trinité 1937 Poèmes pour Mi - Sop & Orchestra -;;3 perc;strings (Durand) 1937 Fêtes des Belles Eaux - 6 Ondes Martenots (Leduc) 1st public performance 25-7-1937 at Fete de la lumiere Paris 1938 Chants de terre et de ciel - Vocal sop & piano (Durand) 1st public performance 23-1-1939 Les Concerts du Triton, Ecole Normale de Musique, Paris. Marcelle Bunlet (s) Messiaen (pno) 1938 Deux monodies en quarts de ton - Ondes Martenot. Unpublished, the Deux Monodies in ¼ tones for Ondes Martenot were written when he was a professor at the École Normale de Musique in Paris. 1939 Les corps glorieux - Organ (Leduc) 1st private performance 22-7-1941 at Trinité 1st public performance 15-11-1943 at Trinité by Messiaen 1939 Vie pour Dieu des Ressuscités - Organ. A transcription of L'eau Movement 4 of Fêtes des Belles Eaux and later movement 5 of Quatuor pour la fin du temps. It is believed that Messiaen was to have used it as the second movement of Les corps glorieux but later deleted it. The first performance after its discovery was March 17th 2019 by Thomas Lacôte at La Trinité in Paris. 1940-41 Quatuor pour la fin du temps - Chamber - violin,clarinet,cello,piano (Durand)1st public performance during captivity 15-1-1941 in Stalag VIIIA, Gorlitz by Jean Le Boulaire, Henri Akoka, Etienne Pasquier and Messiaen. Then 24-6-1941 by Jean Pasquier, Andre Vacellier, Etienne Pasquier and Messiaen at Theatre des Mathurins, Paris (There is an arrangement of Louange a l'eternite de Jesus by Clytus Gottwald for 19 voices) 1941 Choeurs pour une Jeanne d'Arc I. Te Deum II.Impropères pour grand chœur et petit chœur mixtes, a cappella The choruses were written for Portique pour une fille de France a pageant by Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Barbier. 1942 Musique de scène pour un Oedipe [Dieu est innocent]- Electronic (1 Ondes Martenot) 1943 Rondeau - Piano (Leduc) 1943 Visions de l'Amen - 2 Pianos (Durand)1st public performance by Yvonne Loriod and Messiaen at Galerie Charpentier, Les Concerts se la Pleiade Paris 10-5-1943 1943-44 Trois Petites liturgies de la présence divine - Vocal/Orchestral - 36 womens voices,piano solo, ondes martenot solo, celesta, vibraphone, 3 perc; (Durand) 1st public performance 21-4-1945 Les concerts de la Pleiade, Salle du Conservatoire, Y Loriod, G Martenot Desormiere dir. 1944 Vingt regards sur l'enfant-Jésus - Piano (Durand) 1st public performance by Yvonne Loriod 26-3-1945 Salle Gaveau, Paris 1945 Harawi - Vocal - sop & piano (Leduc) 1st private performance 26-6-1946 at Étienne de Beaumont's house, Paris by Marcelle Bunlet and Messiaen 1st public performance 27-6-1946 at Galerie Georges Giroux, Brussels. 1945 Piéce , for oboe and piano 1945 Tristan et Yseult - Théme d'Amour - Organ 1945 Chant des déportés - Vocal & Orchestra -;;3 perc, piano, glock, strings (in large numbers) 1st public performance 2-11-1945 at Palais de Chaillot cond Manuel Rosenthal 1946-48 Turangalîla-Symphonie - Orchestral;; piano solo, ondes martenot solo; glock, celeste, vibraphone, 5perc; (Durand) 1st public performance 2-12-1949 Symphony Hall Boston USA Y.Loriod, G Martenot dir. Bernstein 1948 Cinq Réchants - Vocal 3S 3A 3T 3B (Salabert) 1st public performance 1949 Salle Erard Paris. Ensemble vocal Marcel Couraud dir. 1949 Cantéyodjyâ - Piano (UE) 1st public performance 23-2-1954 at Petit Théatre Marigny by Yvonne Loriod 1949-50 Messe de la Pentecôte - Organ (Leduc) 1st incomplete public performance 13-5-1951 at Trinité by Messiaen 1949-50 Quatre Études de rythme - Piano (Durand) 1st public performance by Messiaen, 6-11-1950 Alliance Française Tunis 1951 Livre d'orgue - Organ (Leduc) 1st public performance (France) March 1955 by Messiaen 1952 Le merle noir - Chamber - flute & piano (Leduc) 1952 Timbres-durées - Electronic/Musique Concrete 1953 Chant donneé {Leçon d'harmonie:Hommage à Jean Gallon} unspecified instrumentation, written in open score SATB. c.1953 Réveil des oiseaux - Orchestral -;; Piano solo, celeste, xylo, glock, 2 perc; (Durand) 1st public performance 11-10-1953 Donaueschingen Festival Germany. Loriod pno. Rosbaud dir. 1955-56 Oiseaux exotiques - Orchestral -;; piano solo, glock, xylo, 5 perc (UE) 1st public performance 10-3-1956 at Petit Théatre Marignt, Paris cond Rudolf Albert, Y.loriod pno. 1956-58 Catalogue d'oiseaux - Piano (Leduc) 1st public performance 15-4-1959 at Salle Gaveau by Y. Loriod 1959 Conférence de Bruxelles - Text (Leduc) 1959-60 Chronochromie - Orchestral -;; glock, xylo, marimba, 3 perc; (Leduc) 1st public performance 16-10-1960 at Donaueschingen cond. Hans Rosbaud 1960 Verset pour la Fête de la Dédicace - Organ (Leduc) Composed as a test piece for the Paris Conservatoire. 1961 La Fauvette Passerinette - Piano (performing realization by Peter Hill) 1962 Sept haïkaï - Orchestral -;; piano solo, xylo, marimba, 4 perc; (Leduc) 1st public performance 30-10-1963 at Odéon Theatre de France cond P.Boulez, Y.Loriod pno. Orch du Domaine Musical. 1963 Couleurs de la Cité Céleste - Orchestral -;; piano solo, xylo, xylorim,, marimba, 3 perc. (Leduc) 1st public performance 17-10-1964 at Donaueschingen, orch. Domaine Musical cond. Pierre Boulez, Y.Loriod pno. 1963 Monodie - for Organ (Leduc) 1964 Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum - Orchestral -;;6 perc. (Leduc) 1st public performance 7-5-1965 at Saint Chapelle cond. Serge Baudo 1964 Prélude for Piano - ed. Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen (Durand) 1st public performance by Yvonne Loriod 8-12-2000 Conservatoire national superieur de musique de Paris 1965-69 La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus - Vocal/Orchestral - Choir: (10 voices per part). Orch: piano solo, cello solo, flute solo, clarinet solo, xylorimba solo, vibraphone solo, marimba solo;;;6 perc; (Leduc) 1st public performance 7-6-1969 at Coliseu Lisbon cond. Serge Baudo 1969 Méditations sur le mystère de la Sainte Trinité - Organ (Leduc) 1st private performance 8-11-1971 by Messiaen at Trinité. 1st public performance 20-3-1972 at Basillica of the Immaculate Conception, Washington USA by Messiaen 1970 La fauvette des jardins - Piano (Leduc) 1971 Le tombeau de Jean-Pierre Guezec - Horn solo 1971-74 Des Canyons aux étoiles - Orchestral -;; piano solo, horn solo, glock, xylorim, 5 perc; (Leduc) 1st public performance 20-11-1974 at Alice Tully Hall New York USA by Musica Aeterna Orch cond, Fredric Waldman, Y.Loriod pno. 1975-83 Saint-François d'Assise - Opera - Choir: (15 voices per part). Orch:;; xylo, xylorimba, vibraphone, marimba, glock, 5 perc; 3 ondes martenot; (Leduc) 1st public performance 28-11-1983 at Paris Opera cond. Seiji Ozawa 1977 Conférence de Notre - Dame - Text (Leduc) 1977 Improvisations (for L'Âme en bourgeon - texts by Cécile Sauvage) 1982 Sigle - a short piece for unaccompanied flute which has been published for the first time as an illustration in the French edition (Paris, Fayard, 2008) of the biography by Hill and Simeone. This was reused in "Éclairs sur l'au-delà" 1984 Livre du Saint Sacrament - Organ (Leduc) 1st public performance 1-7-1986 by Almut Rossler at Metropolitan Methodist Church Michigan USA 1985 Petites esquisses d'oiseaux - Piano (Leduc) 1st public performance 25-1-1987 in Paris by Y.Loriod 1985 Conférence de Kyoto - Text (Leduc)Feuillets inédits arr. for ondes Martenot & piano (No date of composition) (Durand) 1986 Un vitrail et des oiseaux - Orchestral -;; piano solo, xylo, xylorim, marimba,5 perc. (Leduc) 1st public performance 26-11-1988 at Theatre des Champs-Elysees cond. Pierre Boulez 1986 Chant dans le Style Mozart - Clarinet & Piano 1987 La ville d'En-haut - Orchestral -;, piano solo, glock, xylo, xylorim, marimba, 4 perc. (Leduc) 1st public performance 17-11-1989 at Salle Pleyel, BBCSO cond. P.Boulez 1988-92 Eclairs sur l'au-delà - Orchestral -;; crotales, glock, xylo, xylorim, marimba,, 10 perc; (Leduc) c.1987-91 Un oiseau des arbres de Vie (Orchestrated by Christopher Dingle). 1st performance 7 August 2015, Royal Albert Hall, BBC Philharmonic, Nicholas Collon. 1989 Un Sourire - Orchestral -;;xylo, xylorim,2 perc; (Leduc) 1st public performance 5-12-1991 1990-91 Concert à Quatre - Orchestral - flute solo, oboe solo, cello solo, piano solo and large orch. (Leduc) 1991 Pièce pour piano et quatuor à cordes - Chamber (UE) 1st public performance in Vienna 19-11-1991 Discovered in 1997 (composed c.1928) Prélude - Organ (Leduc) 2017 (based on Messiaen's notes taken from 1958) Fauvettes de l'Hérault - concert des garrigues - (Leduc) Piano (work reconstructed by Roger Muraro édition non répertoriée) 1st performance Toppan Hall, Tokyo, Japan. June 23 2017 Hymne des passereaux au lever du jour - solo clarinet (unknown date of composition) Feuillets inédits, quatre pièces pour Ondes Martenot et Piano. Discovered and arranged by Yvonne Loriod, these four short pieces date from the 1930's and published in 2002.(Leduc) Prélude pour orgue - c. 1928 published 2002 (Leduc) 2011 LECTURE AT KYOTO – KONFERENZ VON KYOTO (TEXTE ANGLAIS ET ALLEMAND) LEDUC AL 30473. German translation by Almut Rößler. English translation by Timothy Tikker Back to top

  • Bibliography | Olivier Messiaen

    This is not a definitive bibliography but rather a selection of key publications by scholars and authors from around the world. BibTop Olivier Messiaen par Gaëtan Puaud Bleu nuit éditeur EAN : 9782358840989 Horizons N°77 Parution : 01/2021 176 pages Format : 140 x 200 mm Gaëtan Puaud is a long-time champion of Messiaen and his music and has held the position of director of the Festival de la Meije dedicated to Olivier Messiaen for 20 years. This first biography for the 'horizons collection ' not only traces Messiaen's life in music and the arts but also reveals how Messiaen's work was received and promoted outside of Europe. In particular the efforts of Russian pianist Gregory Haimovsky who single handedly introduced the music of Messiaen to the Soviet Union, with great courage and in spite of several persecutions. He himself was spiritually transformed by the music of Messiaen and premiered several works in Russia and made a couple of recordings for Melodiya, Russia's national record label. Gregory Heimovsky: A Pianist's Odyssey to Freedom University of Rochester Press; Illustrated edition (25 Jun. 2018) Language ‏ : ‎ English Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 280 pages ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1580469310 ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1580469319 Interlacing material from previously unknown Russian archives, original recordings, photographs, and essays, Gregory Haimovsky: A Pianist's Odyssey to Freedom is the story of an extraordinary Russian concert pianist who, fighting the cultural prohibitions of the USSR, eventually succeeded in performing and recording major works by the prominent French composer Olivier Messiaen. At the lowest point of his life, expelled from Moscow and exiled to a small provincial city, Haimovsky discovered Messiaen's oeuvre uncatalogued and hidden in the library of the Union of Soviet Composers. Haimovsky's intense studies and Soviet premieres of these banned compositions healed and liberated his mind, spirit, and artistic imagination. Messiaen's music also deepened and fueled Haimovsky's fierce personal and musical opposition to Soviet political and cultural doctrines. Told partly in Haimovsky's own words and supplemented by interviews with several performers who worked with him between 1960 and 1972 as well as stories from his correspondence with major Russian artists, writers, and musicians of the time, Marissa Silverman's vivid narrative sheds new light on relationships between twentieth-century Russian music, Soviet politics, and the culture wars that raged during and after Stalin's barbaric rule. Here is a very moving letter from Messiaen to Haimovsky, thanking him with all his heart for having struggled to introduce his music in Russia. (from Gregory Heimovsky's personal archive) Boydell Press ISBN-10: 1783270136 ISBN-13: 978-1783270132 The music critic Felix Aprahamian (1914-2005) was a remarkable self-made man whose enormous influence in musical circles was deeply founded in his practical experience of promoting music in London, notably British and French composers. Early on he became interested in the organ and was soon corresponding with the leading French names of the day - André Marchal, Charles Tournemire, Maurice Duruflé and the young Olivier Messiaen. Et Exspecto... Festival Messiaen au pays de la Meije - 20 ans d'utopie Raphaëlle Blin with the photos of Colin Samuels Gaëtan Puaud , fondateur du Festival Olivier Messiaen au Pays de la Meije Raphaëlle Blin , auteure et élève musicologue du Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris Anne Roubet, responsable des Éditions du Conservatoire See Home page for Special Offer purchase details. ​ Roderick Chadwick and Peter Hill give a detailed account of the evolution of Olivier Messiaen's Catalogue d'oiseaux and illuminates the Catalogue from a variety of angles: its historical significance, as a study of how mimicry of nature can be transformed into music of mesmeric originality, and as a guide that offers a wealth of fresh insights to listeners and performers. Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 9781107000315. Messiaen: Texts, Contexts, and Intertexts (1937-1948) t he late French literature scholar Richard Burton examines nine of Messiaen's works in the context of the broader French Catholic intellectual tradition. Burton creates a vivid picture of the previously unexamined spiritual and philosophical inspirations behind Messiaen's pivotal mid-century compositions. Oxford University Press ISBN: 9780190277949. Le Modèle et l'Invention. Olivier Messiaen et la technique de l'emprunt. Yves Balmer, Thomas Lacôte et Christopher Brent Murray - préface deGeorge Benjamin. This book shows that Olivier Messiaen built his unique compositions by transforming the music he loved. Messiaen drew compositional material from eclectic sources ranging from the melodic curves of Mozart and Rameau to the irrational rhythms of Debussy and Jolivet; Publisher : Symétrie ISBN 978-2-36485-045-3 Four Last SongsAging and Creativity in Verdi, Strauss, Messiaen and Britten by Linda Hutcheon and Michael Hutcheon Though it exhausted him physically and emotionally, Messiaen at the age of seventy-five finished his only opera, Saint François d’Assise, which marked the pinnacle of his career. Britten, meanwhile, suffering from heart problems, refused surgery until he had completed his masterpiece, Death in Venice. For all four composers, age, far from sapping their creative power, provided impetus for some of their best accomplishments. University of Chicago Press. ISBN: 9780226420684 Olivier Messiaen: A Research and Information Guide, Second Edition, presents researchers with the most significant and helpful resources on Olivier Messiaen, one of the twentieth century's greatest composers. With multiple indices, this annotated bibliography will serve as an excellent tool for librarians, researchers, and scholars sorting through the massive amount of material in the field. The second edition has been fully revised and updated. Routledge ISBN 9781138106505. The Doctoral dissertation “The Sounds of the Rainbow” i s a study on La Nativité du Seigneur for organ by Olivier Messiaen. The work inquires especially: History of La Nativité Analysis of the musical language Relation between the musical language and Messiaen’s theological mind.The dissertation inquires expecially in depth the relationship between Messiaen and the synaesthetic painter Charles Blanc-Gatti, who painted nine pastels on La Nativité. A theology of the organ is also remarked. In Italian by Dario Paolini Quartet for the End of Time by Johanna Skibsrud Windmill Books,Language: English ISBN-10: 0099558629 A mesmerising tale of love, justice and the connections that transcend the passage of time, from the Giller prize-winning author Johanna Skibsrud. Visions of Amen: The Early Life and Music of Olivier Messiaen Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company Language: English ISBN-10: 0802807623 ISBN-13: 978-0802807625 This book explores the enormous web of influences in the early part of Messiaens long life. The first section of the book provides an intellectual biography of Messiaens early life in order to make his (difficult) music more accessible to the general listener. The second section offers an analysis of and thematic commentaries on Messiaens pivotal work for two pianos, Visions of Amen, composed in 1943. Schloessers analysis includes timing indications corresponding to a downloadable performance of the work by accomplished pianists Stéphane Lemelin and Hyesook Kim. IL SAINT FRANÇOIS D'ASSISE DI OLIVIER MESSIAEN Book by Carola Lambruschini - 450 pages, 90 musical examples, a wealth of synoptical tables - italian language ABEditore, Milano, 2013. Collana: Saggistica musicale. ISBN-10: 8865511389 ISBN-13: 978-8865511381 Messiaen Perspectives 1: Sources and Influences. Ashgate ISBN: 978-1-4094-2695-0 Edited by Christopher Dingle , Birmingham Conservatoire, UK and Robert Fallon , Carnegie Mellon School of Music, USA Sources and Influences presents many new primary sources, including discussion of Messiaen’s birdsong cahiers, sketch and archival materials for his Prix de Rome entries and war-time Portique, along with performance practice insights and theological inspiration in works as diverse as Visions de l’Amen, Harawi, Timbres-durées and the organ Méditations. The volume places the composer within a broader historical and cultural framework than has previously been attempted, ranging from specific influences to more general contexts. As a centrepiece, the book includes an examination of the impact of one of the greatest influences upon Messiaen, Yvonne Loriod. Messiaen Perspectives 2: Techniques, Influence and Reception Ashgate ISBN: 978-1-4094-2696-7 Techniques, Influence and Reception explores Messiaen’s imprint on recent musical life. The first part scrutinizes his compositional technique in terms of counterpoint, spectralism and later piano music, while the second charts ways in which Messiaen’s influence is manifest in the music and careers of Ohana, Xenakis, Murail and Quebecois composers. The third part includes case studies of Messiaen’s reception in Italy, Spain and the USA. The volume also includes an ornithological catalogue of Messiaen’s birds, collates information on the numerous ‘tombeaux’ pieces he inspired, and concludes with a Critical Catalogue of Messiaen’s Musical Works. Messiaen's Musical Techniques: The Composer's View and Beyond by Gareth Healey. April 2013. Ashgate ISBN: 978-1-4094-4825- 9 Despite Messiaen's position as one of the greatest technical innovators of the twentieth century, his musical language has not been comprehensively defined and investigated. The composer's 1944 theoretical study, The Technique of My Musical Language, expounds only its initial stages, and while his posthumously published Traité de rythme, de couleur, et d'ornithologie contains detailed explanations of selected techniques, in most cases the reader is left to define these more precisely by observing them in the context of Messiaen's analyses of his own works. Gareth Healey charts the development and interconnections, considers their relationship with formal structures, and applies them in refined and extended form to works for which Messiaen himself left no published analysis. The method of analysing Messiaen's harmonies outlined in this book has been implemented in software available for download at Les Chants du silence Broché – Béatrice MARCHAL Delatour France; Édition : Collection Pensée Musicale dirigée par Jean-Michel Bardez Language : Français-ISBN-10: 2752100671 ISBN-13: 978-2752100672 On a souvent répété, à la suite d'Olivier Messiaen lui-même, que sa mère Cécile Sauvage avait, en écrivant L'Ame en bourgeon, déterminé sa vocation d'artiste et de musicien. Tout n'était pas dit pour autant et la découverte récente de manuscrits longtemps cachés a révélé quel drame intime avait précipité la mélancolie puis la mort de cette femme bien différente de l'image convenue qui nous en est restée. Devant le malheur de sa mère, l'enfant impuissant aurait alors exploité ses dons musicaux hors du commun comme l'opportunité d'instaurer une relation soustraite à l'inavouable, aussi intense que les mots. L'enfermement dans la douleur et le mutisme aurait ainsi trouvé remède dans une musique tissée de silence. Collection Pensée Musicale Birdsong in the music of Olivier Messiaen by David Kraft Arosa Press. ISBN 978-1477517796 In this book, Dr David Kraft surveys and evaluates Messiaen's use of birdsong and formulates a chronological and critical taxonomy of his music, covering the species involved and his evolving methods of manipulation, instrumentation and harmonic incorporation. He also explores issues relating to authenticity and modification with respect to the incorporation of birdsong in Messiaen's music. Further, he develops appropriate graphical and tabular methods in order to help the reader better to understand his music. MESSIAEN'S FINAL WORKS by CHRISTOPHER DINGLE (Ashgate, ISBN 9780754606338) Messiaen's Final Works examines the seven works which Messiaen completed after Saint François and argues that, following the crisis provoked by the opera, his music underwent a discernible change in style. In addition, the book uses the works in question to examine the characteristics of Messiaen's music, with a particular emphasis on an often overlooked aspect of his technique: harmony. In the process, many other questions are addressed, such as the ways in which Messiaen utilizes birdsong within a larger structure. Messiaen's Final Works is in three parts. Part I begins with a brief historical survey before discussing Saint François d'Assise as the work which defines everything that follows. Part II examines the series of miniatures whose significance belies their (relatively) modest proportions. Not only do they provide an indication of Messiaen's artistic self-confidence, but they also contain important links with his final masterpiece, Éclairs sur l'au-delà.. This sublime eleven movement work for large orchestra is the subject of Part III, and is the focus of the book. Each movement is analysed in turn, before the work is considered as an entity and its hidden structure and motivic cohesion is discussed. OLIVIER MESSIAEN-JOURNALIST: by Stephen Broad. Published Ashgate: (ISBN: 978-0-7546-0876-9) Contents: Preface; Introduction; The Journalism: Articles for la revue musicale; Articles for La Sirène (later La Syrinx); Articles for Le monde musical; Articles for La Page musicale; Articles for various other journals; A catalogue of Messiaen's journalism; Selected personalia; Bibliography; Index. RELIGION UND GLAUBE Religion and Faith as Essential Artistic Energies in the Works of Olivier Messiaen and Other Composers Herausgeber: Goetze, Albrecht U. Hiekel, Jörn P.; Goetze, Albrecht; Hiekel, Jörn P. Published by:Wolke Verlagsges. ISBN 10: 3936000263. Olivier Messiaen THE CENTENARY PAPERS Edited by Judith Crispin In 2008 musicians and scholars world-wide celebrated the centenary of Olivier Messiaen's birth. One of the most influential composers in living memory, Messiaen is remembered as a great nature poet - a mystic whose music had a profound effect on the Twentieth-century avant-garde. This volume of essays, marking the occasion of Messiaen's centenary, was authored by musicologists, performers, composers, ornithologists and researchers from Australia, Germany, France, North America, Japan, New Zealand, Serbia and England. The writers, internationally acclaimed experts as well as emerging scholars, span three generations - living testimony to the diverse and lasting sphere of Messiaen's legacy. ISBN: 9781443824989 - Cambridge Scholars Publishing The Miracle of Stalag 8A. Beauty Beyond the Horror by John William McMullen BIRD BRAIN PUBLISHING ASIN: B0040GJI6C - ISBN 978-0-9826255-2-151995 The Miracle of Stalag 8A is a retelling of the fascinating story of Olivier Messiaen's composition of his Quartet for the End of Time. The enigmatic Messiaen, an avant-garde composer and also a devout Catholic, along with Etienne Pasquier, an agnostic cellist, Henri Akoka, a Jewish Trotskyite Clarinetist, and Jean le Boulaire, an atheistic violinist, become the famous quartet of Stalag 8A. These four very different men collaborated to create musical history in the most unlikely of places. Messiaen's Quartet, composed in a Stalag, transforms man's inhumanity to man with hope. Olivier Messiaen - Dai canyons alle stelle by Peter Hill Pub: Il Saggiatore (Italian) EAN9788842814856 A century after his birth, Messiaen's work was missing in Italy. This gap is now filled by this book edited by the English pianist and musicologist Peter Hill, a former pupil of Messiaon and Yvonne Loriod. Here, broken down by gender, the vast production of the French master is addressed by scholars such as Wilfred Mellers, Jane Manning. Richard Steinitz, Paul Griffith and Hill himself. The work is completed by two introductory articles that emphasize the breadth of the cultural life and work of Messiaen: music of the Greeks, that of India and Japan, the song of birds, and structuralism Darmstadtium and more. Messiaen the Theologian. Edited by Andrew Shenton, Boston University, USA Ashgate. ISBN: 978-0-7546-66400 An international array of Messiaen scholars cover a wide variety of topics including Messiaen's personal spirituality, the context of Catholicism in France in the twentieth century, and comparisons between Messiaen and other artists such as Dante and T.S. Eliot. Interdisciplinary methodologies such as exegesis, theological studies and analysis are used to contribute to the understanding of several major works including Éclairs sur l'au-delá..., Sept Haïkaï and Saint François d'Assise. La Maison Dieu Olivier Messiaen, les couleurs del Parole. Publisher: Cerf (2 July 2009) Articles by: Heller - Toury - Guiberteau - Fort - Girault - Sakharov Language: French ASIN: B001VFNXUC Messiaen: Transcending Time (ISBN: 363909574X / 3-639-09574-X ) Mareli Stolp. Publisher: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller Olivier Messiaen, one of the most prolific composers of the 20th Century, was a devout Catholic whose compositions were very often inspired by the ideals of his faith. A theme that recurrs often in his works is music's relationship to time, and the linear nature of the passage of time as human beings comprehend it. It is Messiaen's ideal to write music that aspires to reach a divine level, free from human constraints. The most important of these constraints is time, music being dependant on the linear passage of time. By using a variety of techniques, Messiaen tries to alter the linear nature of time, thus reaching Divinity on a symbolic level. This book discusses the reasons for Messiaen's attitude towards time in music. It also gives a thorough analyses of two major works, the Visions de l'Amen and the Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant Jesus, as examples of Messiaen's techniques for approaching time in music. Performing Messiaen's Organ Music: 66 Masterclasses by Jon Gillock. Publisher: Indiana University Press English ISBN-10: 0253353734 - ISBN-13: 978-0253353733 Messiaen was the most influential composer for the organ in the 20th century. Shaped by French tradition as well as the innovations of Debussy, Stravinsky, and Bartók, Messiaen developed a unique style that would become his signature. Using Messiaen's own analytical and aesthetic notes as a point of departure, Jon Gillock offers detailed commentary on the performance of Messiaen's 66 organ works. Gillock provides background information on the composition and premiere of each piece, a translation of Messiaen's related writings, and a systematic explanation of performance considerations. Gillock also supplies details about the organ at La Trinité in Paris, the instrument for which most of Messiaen's pieces were imagined. The Reinvention of Religious Music: Olivier Messiaen's Breakthrough Toward the Beyond by Sander van Maas. Fordham University Press ISBN-13: 9780823230587 On the basis of a careful analysis of Olivier Messiaen's work, this book argues for a renewal of our thinking about religious music. Addressing his notion of a “hyper-religious” music of sounds and colors, it aims to show that Messiaen has broken new ground. The work of Olivier Messiaen is well known for its inclusion of religious themes and gestures. These alone, however, do not seem enough to account for the religious status of the work. Arguing for a “breakthrough toward the beyond” on the basis of the synaesthetic experience of music, Messiaen invites a confrontation with contemporary theologians and post-secular thinkers. Starting from an analysis of his 1960s oratorio La Transfiguration de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ, this book arranges a moderated dialogue between Messiaen and the music theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar, the phenomenology of revelation of Jean-Luc Marion, the rethinking of religion and technics in Jacques Derrida and Bernard Stiegler, and the Augustinian ruminations of Søren Kierkegaard and Jean-François Lyotard. Ultimately, this confrontation underscores the challenging yet deeply affirmative nature of Messiaen's music. Italian musician and musicologist Chiara Bertoglio's book, "Per Sorella Musica" deals with the most important musical versions of St. Francis' "Canticle of the Creatures" in 20th century classical music. Sizeable chunks of the book are devoted to Messiaen's St. François d'Assise. ISBN: 8874025157. Publisher: Effatà, Italy. Olivier Messiaen: a bibliographical catalogue of Messiaen's works : first editions and first performances : with illustrations of the title pages, programmes and documents. by Nigel Simeone. Schneider, 1998. ISBN 3795209471, 9783795209476 Olivier Messiaen: Saint François d'Assise. Cammino verso la joie parfaite: With musical examples pp. 146 - cm. 17x24 - Euro 25,00 - - ISBN 13: 978-88-87203-76-9 IN ITALIAN LES VISIONS D'OLIVIER MESSIAEN by SIGLIND BRUHN. Publisher: HARMATTAN ISBN: 9782296056657 in French Ce livre examine l'influence profonde de la religion sur le langage musical d'Olivier Messiaen. Dans la première partie, il décrit la relation pratiquement invariable entre certains motifs, accords et autres composants musicaux et leur signification théologique. Dans les seconde et troisième parties, les intuitions développées autour de ce "vocabulaire musico-théologique" sont appliquées à une analyse détaillée et approfondie de deux cycles fondamentaux de ce compositeur, Visions de l'Amen pour deux pianos (1943) et Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus pour piano seul (1944). Messiaen's Contemplations of Covenant and Incarnation: Musical Symbols of Faith in the Two Great Piano Cycles of the 1940s by Siglind Bruhn Pendragon Press ISBN-10: 1576471292 ISBN-13: 978-1576471296 Messiaen characterized himself as a rhythmician, ornithologist, and theologian. All interpreters concur that his life and work are grounded in a profound faith. This book examines the translation of his faith into his musical language. It centers on a hermeutic analysis of two spiritually motiviated instrumental compositions, Visions de l'amen for two pianos (1943) and Vingt Regards sur l enfant-Jésus for piano solo (1944). Part I introduces the main aspects of the composer s religious environment (the catholic literary revival, his father Pierre and his mentor Charles Tournemire) as well as the components of his idiosyncratic musico-symbolic vocabulary. Parts II and III examine the twenty-seven movements comprised in the Visions< and the Regards, whose thematic material, structure, and musical as well as spiritual function within the whole cycle are interpreted in light of the literary source and imagery that inspired Messiaen. Messiaen's Explorations of Love and Death: Musico-poetic Signification in the Tristan Trilogy and Three Related Song Cycles (Dimension and Diversity: Studies in 20th-Century Music) Pendragon Press ISBN-10: 1576471365 - ISBN-13: 978-1576471364 Messiaen's lifelong quest centered on the colors and rhythms of a music that would serve as a vehicle for his thoughts about time, his love of God, and his enthusiasm for birdsong. An additional topic about which he felt deeply is that of passionate, fated human love and its relationship to death on the one hand, the love of God on the other. During the years 1936-1948, he composed five cycles of vocal music to his own texts as well as the Turangalîla Symphony, the monumental centerpiece of his Tristan Trilogy. The focus of this study is the in-depth analysis and interpretation of these six works on love, with particular regard for their unusual wealth of poetic, sonic, and visual colors and imagery. The wonder of rainbows, the magic of exotic sounds, the fantastic attractiveness of surrealist representations, and the majestic inexorability of fate in myths of various times and cultures define Messiaen s lyrics as much as his idiosyncratic, highly symbolic musical language, which never fails to build bridges between this and another world. Messiaen's Interpretations of Holiness and Trinity: Echoes of Medieval Theology in the Oratorio, Organ Meditations, and Opera by Siglind Bruhn ISBN-10: 157647139X - ISBN-13: 978-1576471395 Three of Messiaen's later works, La Transfiguration de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ, Méditations sur le mystére de la Sainte Trinité, and Saint François d Assise, are linked by the fact that the composer refers to and quotes from Thomas Aquinas. The composer s reception of Thomistic texts is one of the principles guiding the interpretations in this study. On the one hand, Messiaen had been pondering Thomas s thoughts on the role of music in the life of a Christian and on music s possible spiritual content all through his professional life; on the other hand, the oratorio, the organ meditations, and the opera are the only works in which Messiaen quotes extensive Thomistic sentences addressing purely theological subject matter. The first aspect, Messiaen s appropriation of or felicitous congruence with the medieval theologian s views on music underlies all analyses as a kind of background fabric. The second aspect, Messiaen s quotations from the Summa theologica and their musical translation, determines segments of a larger discussion that, in the book s three main chapters, attempts to do justice to the compositions as a whole. While Thomas theological aesthetics appears as a thread woven through a texture in a way that brings it only periodically to the foreground, the statements from Thomas s writings provide essential foundations determining the works content and its musical rendering. Olivier Messiaen, Troubadour by Siglind Bruhn Liebesverständnis und musikalische Symbolik in Poèmes pour Mi, Chants de terre et de ciel, Trois petites Liturgies de la présence divine, Harawi, Turangalîla-Sinfonie und Cinq Rechants EDITION GORZ. ISBN 978-3-938095-07-2 in German Messiaens ‘Summa theologica’ by Siglind Bruhn Musikalische Spurensuche mit Thomas von Aquin in La Transfiguration, Méditations und Saint François d’Assise EDITION GORZ. ISBN 978-3-938095-09-6 in German Messiaen, l'empreinte d'un géant by Catherine Lechner-Reydellet ISBN-10: 2840495112 - ISBN-13: 978-2840495116 Pub. Editions Seguier in French Présentation de l'éditeur Il fut celui par qui tout arriva pour que demeure notre passion, celui pour qui le chant du rossignol en lisière des forêts, de la linotte dans les vignobles de Charente et de la fauvette à lunettes dans les garrigues du Roussillon, redonna le droit d'être musicien Catherine Lechner-Reydellet, écrivain et pianiste, professeur au Conservatoire de Musique et d'Art dramatique de Grenoble, nous présente Olivier Messiaen, revisité par ses anciens élèves, ses illustres interprètes, ses amis, journalistes, chefs d'orchestre et poètes, sous un éclairage inhabituel jamais dévoilé à ce jour. Messiaen ou la lumière by Philippe Olivier Pub.Hermann in French ISBN-10: 2705667253 - ISBN-13: 978-2705667252 THE LIFE OF MESSIAEN by CHRISTOPHER DINGLE (Cambridge University Press, ISBN 052163220X / 0521635470) The Life of Messiaen paints a more nuanced picture of the man and the musician, peering behind Messiaen's public persona to examine the private difficulties and creative struggles that were the true backdrop to many of his greatest achievements. Based upon the latest research, including previously overlooked sources, this book provides an excellent introduction to Messiaen's life and work, presenting a fascinating new perspective of a man whose story is more remarkable than the myths surrounding it. Olivier Messiaen's System of Signs Notes Towards Understanding His Music Andrew Shenton Andrew Shenton's groundbreaking cross-disciplinary approach to Messiaen's music presents a systematic and detailed examination of the compositional techniques of one of the most significant musicians of the twentieth century as they relate to his desire to express profound truths about Catholicism.It is widely accepted that music can have mystical and transformative powers, but because 'pure' music has no programme, Messiaen sought to refine his compositions to speak more clearly about the truths of the Catholic faith by developing a sophisticated semiotic system in which aspects of music become direct signs for words and concepts. Using interdisciplinary methodologies drawing on linguistics, cognition studies, theological studies and semiotics, Shenton traces the development of Messiaen's sign system using examples from many of Messiaen's works and concentrating in particular on the "Meditations sur le mystere de la Sainte Trinite" for organ, a suite which contains the most sophisticated and developed use of a sign system and represents a profound exegesis of Messiaen's understanding of the Catholic triune God.By working on issues of interpretation, Shenton endeavours to bridge the traditional gap between scholars and performers and to help people listen to Messiaen's music with spirit and understanding. Messiaen, a major biography by Peter Hill and Nigel Simeone, published by Yale University Press This book includes extracts from the private diaries and papers of Olivier Messiaen for the first time, along with several hundred photographs. This project has been awarded very significant Research Grant funding by the Arts and Humanities Research Board. see reviews The French edition of the book (Paris, Fayard, 2008) includes "Sigle" - a short little piece for unaccompanied flute which has been published for the first time as an illustration here. There is also a detailed catalogue of works and an additional chapter on Messiaen's musical language that are not in the English version. OLIVIER MESSIAEN- Christopher Dingle & Nigel Simeone (editors) Music, Art and Literature (Ashgate, ISBN 0754606333). When Olivier Messiaen died in 1992, the prevailing image was of a man apart; a deeply religious man whose only sources of inspiration were God and Nature and a composer whose music progressed along an entirely individual path, artistically impervious to contemporaneous events and the whims both of his contemporaries and the critics. Whilst such a view contains a large element of truth, the past ten years has seen an explosion of interest in the composer, and the work of a diverse range of scholars has painted a much richer, more complex picture of Messiaen. This volume presents some of the fruits of this research for the first time, concentrating on three broad, interrelated areas: Messiaen's relationship with fellow artists; key developments in the composer's musical language and technique; and his influences, both sacred and secular. Vingt regards sur l'enfant-Jesus: Messiaen's means of conveying extra-musical subtext (Olivier Messiaen, France) by Christopher S. Bowlby ProQuest / UMI (March 22, 2006) ISBN: 0542177072 The purpose of this study is to answer the question: How does Messiaen's approach to musical architecture convey symbolic or programmatic meaning in his mammoth work for solo piano, Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus ? Not every movement is described in detail. Each example is only discussed insomuch as is necessary to determine how applicable musical elements or compositional processes underline the intended message. Much of the conclusions identify the ways in which a basic technique, such as a melody and the mode with which it is constructed, implies a meaning, perhaps through Messiaen's own notes or indications in the score or through original or previously published analysis. Furthermore, the examination deals with these basic means and how they are combined and superimposed to produce proportions of interest or how they might serve to exemplify a numerological or theological significance. Olivier Messiaen\'s composition techniques in Reveil des Oiseaux (France) -- Dissertation ProQuest / UMI (December 18, 2006) Language: English ISBN-10: 0542015919ISBN-13: 978-0542015915 In his first major composition in the so-called “le style oiseaux”, Olivier Messiaen uses thirty-eight bird calls as his main musical material. Despite Messiaen's claim that the piece is ‘merely a truthful translation’ of nature, this dissertation focuses on how the composition is organically produced; in terms of its form, its pitch material and its timbral treatment. It was especially exciting to follow his very personal and literal form of ‘com-po-sing’ (in the sense of ‘putting together’ or ‘combining’); a technique in which small units of previously heard music reappear later, meticulously re-shuffled or combined with seemingly different music. It was particularly thrilling to delve into his innovative ways of treating the original bird calls. MESSIAEN STUDIES. Edited by Robert Sholl This collection of scholarly essays offers new cultural, historical, biographical and analytical perspectives on Messiaen's musical oeuvre from 1941 to 1992. The volume includes: a fascinating snapshot of Messiaen's life in occupied France; a study of the Surrealist poetics of Messiaen's song cycle Harawi; a chapter on Messiaen's iconoclastic path to the avant-garde heritage that he bequeathed to his pupils; discussion on Messiaen's place in twentieth-century music; and detailed analysis of specific works, including his opera St François d'Assise. MusArtLit OH MY GOD: Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever is based on Paul Festa's award-winning and critically acclaimed film Apparition of the Eternal Church. The book and movie capture the explosive responses of 31 mostly nonreligious artists to the apocalyptic music of the Christian visionary Olivier Messiaen. Published by Bar Nothing Books OLIVIER MESSIAEN: Oiseaux exotiques Peter Hill and Nigel Simeone Series: Landmarks in Music Since 1950 Ashgate ISBN: 0 7546 5630 6 see review OLIVIER MESSIAEN: Benitez, Vincent P. Olivier Messiaen: A Research and Information Guide. New York: Routledge Publishing, 2008. Music for the End of Time by Jen Bryant (Wm B Eerdmans Publishing Co)ISBN: 0802852297 This work is Jen Bryant's poetic biography of French composer Olivier Messiaen, coupled with Beth Peck's evocative pastel illustrations, captures both the desolation of a World War II prison camp and the transforming power of music. This book will stir readers of all ages to seek hope in the things that inspire them, and is a great introduction to Messiaen for children from 8 years upward. Saint Francois D'Assise Premieres Loges Avant Scene Opera Arts Et Spectacle Revues 21/10/2004 ISBN:2843852021 French Masters of the Organ Saint-Saëns, Franck, Widor, Vierne, Dupré, Langlais, Messiaen Michael Murray. Yale University Press 2005 For the End of Time The Story of the Messiaen Quartet Rebecca Rischin see reviews After his death Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen compiled all of Messiaens' writings which are now published in 7 volumes entitled 'Traité de Rythme, de Couleur, et d'Ornithologie' (Paris, Leduc) MessCompanion LE GROUPE JEUNE FRANCE by SERGE GUT Yves Baudrier - Daniel Lesur - André Jolivet - Olivier Messiaen Editions Honoré Champion, Collection Musique - Musicologie, 1977 MESSIAEN ON MESSIAEN The composer writes about his works. Text by Messiaen translated by Irene Feddern Frangipani Press. 1986 The 22 Piano Concertos by Mozart. Introduced and analyzed by Messiaen Paris. Librairie Seguier. 1990. in-12° (11,5x18,5 cm). 121 p. The Messiaen Companion: edited by Peter Hill (London, Faber and Faber 1995) Les Oiseaux de Messiaen: Nicole Malinconi, Melanie Berger (Esperluete Eds 2005) ISBN:2930223561 Olivier Messiaen: L'homme et son oeuvre. Pierrette Mari (Paris, Segheres, 1965) Das orgelwerk Messiaens:Sieglinde Ahrens ,Hans-Dieter Möller, and Almut Rössler, (Duisburg, Gilles and Francke, 1976) Olivier Messiaen: Claude Rostand (Ed. Ventadour,1952/57) Contributions to the Spiritual World of Olivier Messiaen: Almut Rössler (Gilles & Francke 1986) Recontres avec Olivier Messiaen: Antoine Goléa (Paris, Julliard 1960-reprinted Slatkine Genéve-Paris 1984) Olivier Messiaen: Harry Halbreich (Paris, Fayard/SACEM 1980) Extensively revised in 2008 Olivier Messiaen: Leben und Werk: Theo Hirsbrunner (Laaber-Verlag 1988) Olivier Messiaen and the Music of Time: Paul Griffiths (London/Boston, Faber and Faber 1985) Thomas Daniel Schlee / Dietrich Kämper (Hg.): Olivier Messiaen. La Cite celeste - das himmlische Jerusalem. Über das Leben und Werk des französischen Komponisten. Köln Wienand Verlag 1998. Olivier Messiaen: une poetique de merveilleux: Brigitte Massin (Aix-en-Provence, Alinéa, 1989) Messiaen: Robert Sherlaw Johnson (London. Dent 1976. R/1989) Portrait(s) d'Olivier Messiaen: Catherine Massip (Bibliothèque Nationale de France) Messiaen: Roger Nichols (London Oxford University Press 1975 2/1986) Bien Cher Félix..Letters from Olivier Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod to Felix Aprahamian (Cambridge, Mirage 1998) Messiaen: Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps: Anthony Pople (Cambridge University Press 1998 ISBN 0521585384) Entretiens avec Olivier Messiaen: Claude Samuel (Paris, Belfond 1967 Eng. translation 1976) The Organ Music of Olivier Messiaen: Stuart Waumsley (Paris, Leduc 1968) Music and Colour: New Interviews: Claude Samuel (Paris, Belfond 1986) Olivier Messiaen, the Musical Mediator. A study of the influence of Liszt, Debussy and Bartok: Madeleine Hsu (Fairleigh Dickinson UP1996) Technique de non langage musical: Messiaen (Paris, Leduc 1944 Eng. translation 1956) ​ ​ Vingt lecons d'harmonie: Messiaen (Paris, Leduc 1944 Eng. translation 1956) Conférence de Bruxelles: Messiaen (Paris, Leduc 1958) ​ Conférence de Kyoto: (Paris, Leduc 1985) Conférence de Notre Dame: Messiaen (Paris, Leduc 1978) Olivier Messiaen: Heinz-Klaus Metzger and Rainer Riehn. text + kritic (Munich 1982) Messiaens"Saint Francois d'Assise" von Aloyse Michaely, Heinz-Klaus Metzger, Rainer Riehn (2006) ISBN 10: 3878779763-ISBN 13: 9783878779766, Querstand, Musikalische Konzepte Bd.1+2. Stroemfeld - Kartoniert/Broschie Siglind Bruhn, Images and Ideas in Modern French Piano Music: The Extra Musical Subtext in Piano Works by Ravel, Debussy and Messiaen (Stuyvesant, NY: Pendragon, 1997) Olivier Messiaen and the Tristan Myth by Audrey Ekdahl Davidson (Praeger Pub Text; ISBN: 0275973409) Siglind Bruhn (ed.), Messiaen’s Language of Mystical Love. Volume 1 in the series “Twentieth-Century Studies in Music” (New York: Garland, 1998). Jean Boivin: La classe de Messiaen. Paris, Christian Bourgois éditeur, collection " Musique/Passé/Présent 1995. Meisterwerke der Musik:Olivier Messiaen Turangalîla Symphonie by Klaus Schweizer (Wilhem Fink Verlag) Messiaen Les sons impalpables du rêve Pascal Arnault, Nicolas Darbon. Editeur : Millenaire III Collection : Compositeurs De Notre Temps ISBN : 2911906055 STEFAN KEYM: Farbe und Zeit - Untersuchungen zur musiktheatralen Struktur und Semantik von Olivier Messiaens Saint Francois d'Assise. Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag 2002. - X/557 S. mit zahlreichen Notenbeispielen und Register. ISBN: 3-487-11661-8 Messiaen by Alain Périer (Paris, Seuil 1979) Olivier Messiaen homme de foi (Trinite Media Communication 1995) I have included this VHS SECAM video here (now available on DVD) as I believe it to be an invaluable archive to those of us who were not lucky enough to experience first hand lectures by the Maitre during his lifetime. Olivier Milles' film covers a masterclass/lecture given by Messiaen during the 1987 Festival d'Avignon at the Chartreuse de Villeneuve lés-Avignon. "Les couleurs du temps: Trente ans d'entretiens avec Claude Samuel". INA/Radio France 211848, 2CDs Claude Samuel met Messiaen in the late fifties and from then grew a most fertile professional relationship that produced many landmark interviews and discussion throughout the composer's life. Thirty years of interviews are represented here on 2CDs in French. L'œuvre pour piano d'Olivier Messiaen: Michéle Reverdy (Paris, Leduc 1978) L'œuvre pour orchestre d'Olivier Messiaen: Michéle Reverdy (Paris, Leduc 1988) Rosemary Walker, Modes and Pitch Class Sets In Messiaen. (Music Analysis 8:1/2 Basil Blackwell 1989) ​ David Morris, A Semiotic Investigation of Messiaen's 'Abîme des Oiseaux'. (Music Analysis 8:1/2 Basil Blackwell 1989) ​ Messiaen, Gooeyvaerts, Fano, Stockhausen, Boulez. Perspectives of New Music XIII 1974 pp141-16 An in-depth (29 A5 pages) analysis of the musical ideas of the 1940's and 50's. Many technical terms, graphs, note charts etc make this indispensable for all students of composition and interest in Messiaen. ​ Olivier Messiaen:Eclairs Sur L'Au-Dela: Die Christlich-Eschatologische Dimension Des Opus Ultimum ISBN: 3631348460 Author: Tolle, Julian Christopher Publisher: Lang, Peter Publishing, Incorporated Edition/Year: 1999 Olivier Messiaen's Orchesterwerk: Des Canyons aux Etoile. Studen, zu Struktur und Konnex. Diss Kassel Carl Beate Bärenreiter 1994 ​ Olivier Messiaen a Bibliographical Catalogue: Nigel Simeone (Hans Schneider Verlag) ​ ​ Back to top

  • Media | Olivier Messiaen

    MultiMedia ​ AUDIO and VIDEO FILES ALL OF THE BELOW AUDIO/VIDEO FILES ARE © copyright of the holder. NOTE: All audio and video files available on this site are for personal use only. NO REPOSTING OF ANY COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL IS PERMITTED WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER. Matthew Schellhorn's special film for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2021 For the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2021 (29 to 31 January), Matthew Schellhorn produced a special film in collaboration with young artists from across the country. Olivier Messiaen (1908–92) wrote numerous pieces inspired by birdsong. “Le Rouge-gorge ” (Robin) comes from a collection written in 1985 called “Petites esquisses d’oiseaux ” (Small Bird Sketches) and apart from the Robin features the Blackbird, the Song Thrush and the Skylark. The work was dedicated to the composer’s wife, Yvonne Loriod , with whom Matthew studied in Paris. Special thanks go to the talented pupils of Myatt Garden Primary School for taking part! Rodrigo De la Prida introduces Messiaen's Modes for Electric Guitar Find out more here . There were a few instruments that Messiaen never included in his compositions (saxophone, harp, timpani after the 1930's and guitar are among these) - Rodrigo De la Prida 's work opens up the sound world of Messiaen's modes for guitarists with excellent and engaging examples that range from chord and scale work to improvisation. Rodrigo says: 'With already 4 years of intense work, the 7 volumes of the book series about the scales of Olivier Messiaen and their applications on any musical genre, are now available. Just digital for now. More than 500 pages with 351 licks, guitar studies, arpeggios, atonal chords, triads and tetrads, and examples. This material represents a deep dive into the rich musical universe of the french composer'. ​ 'In this book series for guitar, Rodrigo tackles the exhaustive task of diving into the musical language of Olivier Messiaen, but from an unprejudiced view, where the different types of music coexist. Messiaen Modes for Electric Guitar aims to be a tool to expand the harmonic and melodic universe of the popular musician, but also a means to the study and deepening of modern language in the contemporary-classical music student as well'. M2BT-DEMO Rodrigo De la Prida 00:00 / 01:03 Here is a short demo of a backing track that comes with the book. © Rodrigo De la Prida Video trailer for the 1999 Festival Messiaen au Pays de la Meije featuring Gaëtan Puaud, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Messiaen. © INA.Fr ©INA During the 1973 English Bach Festival in London, Olivier Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod gave a recital at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Messiaen began by apologising for the way they were dressed. The taxi had gone off with all their luggage. He read the poetic preface to the piano work written three years earlier. Mme Messiaen then performed "La Fauvette des Jardins " @ 7' 40" Didier Didier Wampas and Bikini Machine Olivier Messiaen Il voyait des couleurs Que l'on ne voit pas Et croyait en un Dieu Auquel on ne croit plus Olivier Messiaen Il faisait des mélodies Que l'on n'entend pas Et chanter des oiseaux Que l'on ne connaît plus Olivier Messiaen Oui mais grâce à lui J'ai découvert des mondes Des regards plein d'amours Des canyons aux étoiles Et un Quatuor Pour la fin des temps Composé au stalag Éclairs sur l'au-delà Saint François d'Assise Un soir à l'opéra Olivier Messiaen Oui mais grâce à lui J'ai découvert des mondes Des regards plein d'amours Des canyons aux étoiles Oui mais grâce à lui J'ai découvert des mondes Des catalogues d'oiseaux Des canyons aux étoiles Oui mais grâce à lui J'ai découvert des mondes Et le Regard du père Des canyons aux étoiles ©Didier Wampas He saw colors That we don't see And believed in a God In which we no longer believe Olivier Messiaen He made melodies That we don't hear And sing of the birds That we no longer know Olivier Messiaen Yes but thanks to him I discovered worlds Gazes full of love Des canyons aux étoiles And a Quatuor Pour la fin des temps Composed in a Stalag Éclairs sur l'au-delà Saint François d’Assisi An evening at the opera Olivier Messiaen Yes but thanks to him I discovered worlds Gazes full of love Des canyons aux étoiles Yes but thanks to him I discovered worlds Catalogue d’oiseaux Des canyons aux étoiles Yes but thanks to him I discovered worlds And the Regard du père Des canyons aux étoiles Historic Recordings of Messiaen by Messiaen . Transfer from original 78rpm records recorded in 1949 of Visions de l'Amen with Yvonne Loriod and recording of OM playing his Quatre Etudes 1951. FMR Records FMRCD 120-L0403. Order via the Contact form . 00:00 / 00:26 00:00 / 00:54 00:00 / 00:54 VINGT REGARDS SUR L'ENFANT JESUS Louise Bessette Atma ACD22219/20 LE COURLIS CENDRE / LE MERLE NOIR / Mozart / Levinas / Gougeon / Mâche Louise Bessette RCI 650 Claude-Samuel Levine would like to share his playing of movements from the Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps : using VSTi Synful Orchestra and VSTi Pianoteq, humanly played in Cubase. Liturgie de Cristal Vocalise pour l'ange qui annonce la fin du temps Abyme des Oiseaux Intermède CD and downloads of the complete Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps now available direct from Claude-Samuel here . 00:00 / 02:38 After a period of two years work, Claude-Samuel Lévine has produced a version of TurangalilaSymphonie created entirely by computer software instruments and MIDI (except for 'live' Ondes Martenot played on the Ondea). This is a detailed interpretation that in no way proposes to 'replace' real musicians, but can provide an insight into Messiaen's microscopic detail in the work. Further commentaries can be found on Claude-Samuel's web site as well as audio and visual clips. The CD and DVD are also available to purchase here . Click here to see and hear Thomas Bloch and Jean-François Zygel perform 4th Feuillet Inedits. ​ Click here to see and hear Willem Tanke perform Messiaen's organ works. ©Willem Tanke Nans Bart Variations sur un thème de Messiaen ((Thème du Final - 10ème Mvt. de la Turangalila-Symphonie)) for Percussion Ensemble here ©Thomas Bloch

  • In the Press | Olivier Messiaen

    Concerts, Events & Book Reviews InPressTop TURANGALÎLA SYMPHONIE Guildhall Symphony Orchestra Nicholas Collon, conductor, William Bracken, piano, Cynthia Millar, Ondes Martenot. Barbican Hall, London. 23rd November 2022 As Edward Bhesania states in his concise but informed programme notes, Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphonie remains ‘one of the great milestones’ of 20th –century orchestral music. However, after the first performance in 1949 by the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Bernstein and a few follow up performances in America and Europe, it’s taken a good half a century for the work to become a staple repertoire piece, not least of course by the rarity of Ondes Martenot players globally. Over the past 20 years, younger orchestras have taken up the challenge, some to great acclaim including the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, Junge Deutsche Philharmonic and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and now, among those at the top must surely be the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra. Their performance on the 23rd November under the assured guidance of Nicholas Collon really ‘raised the roof ‘ of the Barbican Hall. There was no cutting back on Messiaen’s stipulated resources, full strings including 10 double basses and full percussion line up that certainly didn’t hold back in the climaxes. That said, Collon also coaxed the more delicate timbres to great effect for example the ‘flower theme’ in the woodwind and the caressing ‘love theme’ in the 6th movement, ‘Jardin du sommeil d’amour’. This movement also produced some fine thoughtful piano work from postgraduate student William Bracken who thoroughly immersed himself in the part and playing from memory created a sense of drama and occasion throughout. Cynthia Millar continued to provided an innate sense of balance and clarity to the Ondes Martenot role and judging by her beaming smile during the lengthy applause at the end, clearly enjoys working with the younger generation on a work that has been so close to her heart for many years. I would have preferred to see the vibraphone, celeste and keyed glockenspiel in front of the stage behind the piano thereby creating a tightly knit ‘gamelan’ section that Messiaen was keen on. Of course this orchestra has not had the historical experience of working together as a seasoned unit and there were a couple of rough edges, but my goodness, they certainly conveyed the exciting exuberance and rhythmic commitment that Messiaen would have loved. ©M.Ball The 23rd November was special because those that could make it earlier were treated to a performance of Harawi in Milton Court Concert Hall just across the road from the Barbican Hall by mezzo soprano, Alexandra Achillea Pouta and pianist, Élisabeth Pion , thus giving us the opportunity to experience two thirds of Messiaen’s Tristan trilogy in one night (the remaining third being Cinq Rechants). What an occasion! To say that Harawi is one of Messiaen’s more deeply personal works is an understatement. Essentially it is a work that explores love and death in a somewhat surrealistic world that is influenced by folk music of Peru, Papua New Guinea and elsewhere. At the time of writing Messiaen’s personal life was in much turmoil having to cope with his wife’s debilitating and declining illness while at the same time a developing relationship with Yvonne Loriod that would eventually culminate in their marriage in 1962. This demanding hour long song cycle was treated with the utmost sensitivity from both Alexandra Achillea Pouta and Élisabeth Pion both of whom brought integrity, personality and clear expressive and emotional engagement to the performance. MB © 11/2022 Des Canyons aux Étoiles... Utah Symphony directed by Thierry Fischer. June 2, 2022. OC Tanner Amphitheater, Springdale, Utah, USA. From the moment I got news of this concert I knew I had to go. Utah had been on my bucket list of places to visit with Messiaen connections for a very long time so this was an opportunity not to be missed. I arranged a 'package' that would include flights, hire car (essential) and hotel and I set off on a whistle stop five day tour that culminated in the concert at the OC Tanner Amphitheater, Zion Park, Utah. Prior to the concert I managed to take in all the sites and areas that so inspired Messiaen throughout the writing of Des Canyons aux Étoiles. .. he described them as 'the most marvellous natural phenomenon in the United States'. Of course, Messiaen's beloved birds feature throughout the work and these are species found in the area as well as elsewhere but there are three movements dedicated to these 'natural phenomenon' that are Cedar Breaks, Bryce Canyon and Zion Park. So with trusty GPS and hire car I found my way to all these sites and walked in the footsteps of Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod who, in 1972 was surely as awe struck as I was on this occasion. It is one thing seeing these places in books and photos but one really has to be there in person to fully appreciate the immensity, the striking shapes and above all, the colours of the rock formations that are truly breathtaking and unique. The concert on June the 2nd was scheduled to begin at 8.30pm and from 7.30 audience members were shuttled up the winding road from Springdale town to the amphitheater at the foot of the canyon and spot on 8.30, Thierry Fischer appeared and gave a short introduction before the strains of a solo horn set the mood for the first movement Le désert . As is becoming more and more customary, the solo horn was positioned towards the rear of the audience to give a sense of distance and remoteness. Horn player Stefan Dohr gave good time and space for the sound to travel and deflect off the walls of the stage both in this movement and his solo sixth movement 'Appel interstellaire ' where, once our ears were accustomed to the acoustic, every dynamic detail was audible. Commissioned in 1971 to celebrate the bicentenary of the Declaration of Independence, Des Canyons aux Étoile ... uses a modest orchestra, just 44 players, due to the confined space available at the world premiere in Alice Tully Hall but Messiaen's masterful orchestration draws out the raw power of the subject material with vivid immediacy. The score demands a very high standard of virtuosity from all players and the Utah Symphony under Thierry Fischer certainly delivered on all counts. The work also includes important solo parts for horn (mentioned above), xylorimba (Keith Garrick), glockenspiel (Eric Hopkins) and piano (Jason Hardink) all of their parts consisting almost entirely of bird songs. Both Keith Garrick and Eric Hopkins were superb in their roles and Jason Hardink really took this work under his wing (no pun intended!) and made it his own. Without the hinderance of a score, Hardink conjured the avian choruses admirably in the two solo piano movements (IV-Le Cossyphe D'Heuglin and IX-Le Moqueur polyglotte ) and as the ensuing darkness fell on the canyon rocks behind the amphitheater, his sense of naturalism was almost spiritual. Outdoor musical events are always tricky to mic up and balance successfully but the sound team at OC Tanner did a great job with subtle amplification of all sections of the orchestra except the percussion which, from where I was sitting just got slightly lost at times. Nonetheless, having the backdrop of the canyon that Messiaen so loved and experiencing the Utah sky turn slowly from dusk to black, it really was unforgettably - From the Canyons to the Stars... Cedar Breaks Bryce Canyon 13 February 2020. Igor Levit and Markus Hinterhäuser, pianos perform Visions de l'Amen. Milton Court Hall, Barbican, London This was the second in Igor Levit’s series of concerts as the Barbican featured artist and was the first of two concerts that included works for two pianos. Levit’s partner for Vision de l’Amen was Markus Hinterhäuser. Visions de l’Amen was written in 1943 and first performed in Paris during the Occupation by Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod at the Concert de la Pléiade on May 10 that year. Messiaen made no attempt to divide the material between the two pianos and piano one was consciously written for the pianistic talents of Loriod who, even at a young age was able to juggle musical complexities with ease. So her part was assigned the bells, birdsong, rhythmic canons in several layers and so on and piano two (Messiaen’s role) was to supply the thematic material and emotional power. For almost two decades the work remained the sole domain of composer and pupil until Irén Marik and John Ranck made a recording c.1956 and performed it at the Deepest Valley Theatre, USA in 1965 then the Labèque’s took it on in 1969 under Messiaen's supervision. Lately of course many couples have ventured into Messiaen’s world of creation, spinning planets, the agony of Jesus and Jugement, desire and consummation, some with variable results it has to be said. Levit and Hinterhäuser began Amen de la Création with suitable solemn majesty and unlike many recent performances by others, tempo was effective and delivered a sense of Time and Eternity. Levit’s double rhythmic pedal carillon pieced the darkness with just enough light and gave us a hint of things to come. The minim rest had just expired from movement one when Hinterhäuser segued into No.2 Amen des étoiles, de la planète à l’anneau – a brutal dance of the planets in octaves that is eventually joined by the swirling rhythmic and polymodal complexities of piano one. Apart from some over pedaling in piano two, tutti was impressive and the relentless energy and exhilaration heightened the drama. The third Vision, Amen de l’agonie de Jésus focuses on the suffocating confines of the Garden of Gethsemene and Messiaen said of this movement: “God, who’s beyond time…came in order to suffer with us. And I express this in my music…God is above us and still He comes to suffer with us.” This was written at a time when Messiaen’s brother Alain was still in a German prisoner of War camp and his first wife Claire was suffering a debilitating and degenerative mental illness. The music ‘cries’ and shreds the emotions to an almost unbearable degree and the interlocking writing was nuanced and well projected by both performers. Amen du Désir explores two themes of desire. The first slow, ecstatic and longing of a deep tenderness, the second passionate and explosive. Piano two states the opening love song while a sense of clock time is introduced by piano one quietly chiming octave ‘Ds’ where Levit, with legs astride and making eye contact with members of the audience was somewhat distracting. I found Hinterhäuser’s tone a little harsh at times and Messiaen’s detailed dynamics within the chords failed to convince but Levit’s crystalline accompaniment in the development was sensual and played with ardent warmth. As the movement progressed the playing became a little sullied towards the climaxes spoiling the impression at times. Amen des anges, des saints, du chant des oiseaux transports the listener to the angelic sphere beginning with the angels and saints where the music is pure and sparse and phrasing by both pianists was effective and well shaped. Messiaen’s birdsong was still undeveloped in 1943 but he had a clear idea of the birds that would feature here, albeit in a stylized manner. Levit’s birds were not flawless but a sense of joyous freedom pervaded. Amen du jugement is horrific in character with more bells, this time the ‘bell of evidence’. Both performers created a sense of terror and awe and together with Amen de l’agonie de Jésus these were the most successful of the movements in terms of spiritual energy between the two players. Again, a quick segue launched us into Amen de la Consommation where the opening tempo was as fast as the closing tempo should have been. There are three clearly defined tempo increments in the movement that are designed to drive the music forward adding ecstatic joy and excitement that brings the work to it’s exuberant conclusion. Instead Levit and Hinterhäuser bulldozed their way through with scant regard for dynamic detail and less for the important articulation in piano one at the ‘Un peu plus vif’. Visions de l’Amen is a work that requires two souls who are on an equal spiritual plane and have reached that level of intuition that the playing becomes ‘one’. I did not get that impression from this performance that seemed rather workman-like and over reliant on the score. Levit’s Beethoven is masterful but Levit’s visions were not Messiaen’s Visions. BBC PROM - 13 28th July 2019 Des canyons aux étoiles… Nicolas Hodges (piano) Martin Owen (horn) David Hockings (xylorimba) Alex Neal (glockenspiel) BBC Symphony Orchestra Stephen Bryant (leader) Sakari Oramo , conductor It was with much excitement that I awaited the opening bars of Messiaen’s vision of ‘the resurrected in Paradise’ and ‘the beauties of the earth (its rocks, its birdsong) and the beauties of the physical sky and of the spiritual sky’ as Des canyons aux étoiles… is perhaps the most under-performed of all Messiaen’s orchestral pieces. Written for the bicentennial of US independence, it is the longest of Messiaen’s orchestral work (outdoing Turangalîla Symphonie by two movements and about 20 minutes) but using far less forces than the Symphonie – for example, one double bass as opposed to ten and stripped down woodwind and brass. It does, however retain a major part for piano but no Ondes Martenot, instead solo parts for horn, xylorimba and glockenspiel. I was not disappointed. The performance remained gripping throughout its 12 movements presenting a vast array of musical colours that conjured the vast desert and rocky imagery of the Utah landscape, and its unique ornithological aviary. From the outset of movement one (Le désert), the solitude of the horn solo, scampering scorpions and isolated birdsong immediately drew the listener into Messiaen’s sound world and the almost tinnitus inducing bowed crotales, piccolo and violin harmonics created the deafening silence of the desert. Colour has always been at the heart of Messiaen’s orchestral writing and the BBCSO delivered a vivid palette of hues throughout guided by the baton-less Sakari Oramo who just needed to take a little more time in the slow eighth movement (Les ressuscités et le chant de l’étoile Aldébaran) and the final carillon features in movement twelve (Zion Park et la Cité Céleste) to allow the music to breathe and the detailed textures to fully flourish. Horn soloist Martin Owen took full advantage of the Royal Albert Hall acoustic in Appel interstellaire with well judged pauses and animated communication with the audience. The score is peppered with new and experimental (for Messiaen) sounds including the eoliphone (wind machine), geophone (sand machine), cross bridge bowing in the strings and in movement five (Cedar Breaks et le Don de Crainte) a trumpet blowing into the mouthpiece only, creating strange glissandi that straddles the borders of mystery and the comic. Also, Messiaen’s musical alphabet (first used in his Méditations sur le mystère de la Sainte-Trinité) appears several times to spell out the biblical quotations that link the spiritual and physical elements in the work. The two solo piano movements (Le Cossyphe d’Heuglin – The white-browed robin and Le Moqueur polyglotte – The Mockingbird), were played with unshaken security and clear sense of musical architecture by Nicholas Hodges and the ‘bird’ interplay between piano and glockenspiel (played by Alex Neal ) was simply enthralling in Les ressuscités et le chant de l’étoile Aldébaran. David Hockings (xylorimba) is well known for his virtuosity and this was demonstrated laudably in movement eleven (Omao, Leiothrix, Elepaio, Shama) as well as some enthralling duet work with glockenspiel. For those audience members who felt they couldn’t quite stay the course, a great opportunity was missed to experience Messiaen’s vision as a whole in this rare and beguiling performance. ©M.Ball ​ © M.Ball Further review: Prom 13 Review of the the first British performance of Harawi. Interestingly given by Roy Bywood 'tenor' and John Boorman, piano. February 9th 1953 More reviews of Harawi kindly submitted by Nicholas Armfelt Quatuor pour la fin du temps and Messiaen's Maths On 26th March 2017 Concerts Penzance presented a Humphry Davy Science & Music Lecture on the subject of the mathematics and numerology in the first movement of Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Liturgie de cristal). This was followed by a complete performance of the Quatuor given by students of the Royal Academy of Music London. The often highly animated Marcus du Sautoy (Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford) delivered the lecture to a packed audience at Penwith College, Penzance, Cornwall. Sautoy is well placed on the subject being a former trumpet player and keen Messiaen enthusiast who has first hand knowledge of performing some of Messiaen’s work. He devised a visual animation (the Island) that used various shapes and forms including cogged wheels to demonstrate and draw comparisons with the number system that Messiaen used in Liturgie de cristal that for the uninitiated worked extremely well. His background knowledge of Messiaen was substantial although I became a little uncomfortable with the amount of emphasis placed on the use of serialism in Messiaen’s music. That aside the lecture remained engaged and highly communicative throughout. After the interval a complete performance of the Quatuor was given by Charles Dale-Harris (clarinet), Kate Oswin violin), Ghislaine McMullin (cello) and Joseph Havlet (piano). It must be said that this is a heck of a work for seasoned professionals to take on so all power to the elbows of these four fine players for this undertaking. It is not only the technical virtuosic ensemble playing needed in movements such as Vocalise pour l’ange qui announce la fin du temps and Danse de la fureur that is challenging but more the mental, spiritual concentration of the two Louange movements and the overall architecture of the entire work. The four musicians here remained highly committed despite some mechanical issues with the clarinet at times. Ghislaine McMullen’s Louange a l'éternité de Jésus was compelling with no distortion of line or intent. Contrastingly there was a real sense of energy and thrill in Danse de la fureur where the quartet captured the score with vivid immediacy. I am constantly heartened by the wealth of quality music making in the most south western corner of the UK and especially the genuine enthusiasm and interest shown for the music of Messiaen due in no small amount to the efforts of musicians such as Nigel Wicken and in the case of this concert, Tim Boulton and Concerts Penzance. ©M.Ball Pierre-Laurent Aimard performed Catalogue d'Oiseaux (complete) at Aldeburgh Festival UK 19 June 2016 When news broke several months ago that Pierre-Laurent Aimard would perform Messiaen’s Catalogue d’Oiseaux at the Aldeburgh Festival in its entirety, not in Messiaen’s written order and in one day from dawn to dusk and beyond, many seasoned concertgoers and Messiaen devotees thought the idea was bonkers and it would never work. How wrong they would be with the whole day sold out and over subscribed soon after booking opened. Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Roger Muraro and Michel Beroff are three pianists most closely associated with Messiaen’s piano music and all were pupils of Yvonne Loriod and the couple often referred to them as their (musical) children. So having Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival) in the driving seat for this special event meant that there was no doubt whatsoever that it would not work. Aimard chose to place the pieces of the Catalogue by the time of day associated with the bird songs, so the concerts were presented thus: 4.30am Dawn – 1.00pm – Afternoon – 7.30pm – Dusk and 11.00pm – Night. 4.30am 'Dawn' Concert Hall Cafe. ©Sam Murray-Sutton I have to say that after performing in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis the previous evening, it was somewhat of a struggled to get myself up and arrive in Snape for the first concert at 4.30am. (Hardy twitchers were at the reed beds at 3.30 and before the sun rose). However, any sense of fatigue soon dissolved as we the audience took our seats in the Snape Maltings Concert Hall Cafe facing the window and looking out on the reed beds as the sun rose to the strains of Messiaen’s Traquet Stapazin (Black-eared Wheatear), La Bouscarle (Cetti’s Warbler) and Traquet Rieur (Black Wheatear) all mingling with the Suffolk dawn chorus. At 1.00pm in the Britten Studio the ‘Afternoon’ concert revealed Le Buse Variable (Buzzard), L’alouette Calandrelle (Short-toed Lark), Le Loriot (Golden Oriole) and Le Merle Bleu (Blue Rock Thrush). The 7.30pm ‘Dusk’ concert was presented at RSPB Minsmere Nature Reserve outside on Whin Hill with Les Chocards des Alpes (Alpine Chough), Le Merle de Roche (Rock Thrush) and Le Courlis Cendre (Curlew). Finally back at the Britten Studio, ‘Night’ concluded with La Chouette Hulotte (Tawny Owl), L’Alouette Lulu (Woodlark) and La Rousserolle Effarvate (Reed Warbler). What was most striking throughout the day was Aimard’s complete sense of focus (not to mention stamina) in the three locations and how each acoustic space could respond to Messiaen’s aural ‘paintings’. These works are not merely transcribed songs of the titled bird but rather their entire natural habitat and the relationship with other birds within that habitat are all represented, so natural phenomena such as tranquil lakes and rushes, rugged mountain terrain, crashing waves of the sea, howling wind etc. all form part of the canvas. To present the Catalogue over a 19 hour period is impressive enough but to perform with such nuanced playing, emotional power and unshaken security was just astounding. Le Merle Bleu (Blue Rock Thrush) was simply breath-taking and left me speechless with its glittering and fluid passage work and sense of drama whereas La Chouette Hulotte (Tawny Owl) truly sent shivers up the spine with its depiction of ‘darkness, fear and beating heart’ with a call that at times sounds like (in Messiaen’s words) ‘a child being murdered’. A long way from the peaceful setting of La Bouscarle (Cetti’s Warbler) heard both by Aimard’s poised and piquant playing and ‘live’ by the bird itself in the reed beds at Snape. Presenting the 7.30pm ‘Dusk’ concert at RSPB Minsmere Nature Reserve outside on Whin Hill was a risky masterstroke given the unpredictability of the English summer but one that paid off. Yes there was a vexing wind that kept Aimard’s page-turner on her toes but the effect and musical impression was magical. Special mention must go to the BBC. Musical events in the open air are notoriously difficult to control in both volume and sound quality, but the BBC team got it just right. Having Tom McKinney announce throughout the day was also fitting as he has, (according to the booklet notes) been bird watching all of his life. The Festival book was lavish but just a shame that Messiaen’s descriptions were not printed in full for each piece. In between the concerts, other events took place in and around Snape including Nigel Paterson’s film: Dawn Chorus: The Sounds of Spring, a Festival church service, a concert by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge at Blythburgh Church, an RSPB Walk and an illuminating talk by Christopher Dingle (Messiaen specialist and musicologist) and Nigel Collar (ornithologist). 1.00pm 'Afternoon' Britten Studio ©Matt Jolly For many years Yvonne Loriod’s account of this work had remained definitive, but Pierre-Laurent Aimard took it to a higher plane setting a tough benchmark for pianists such as those attending his master-classes during the previous week. It was Pierre-Laurent Aimard’s final year as artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival and thanks must be given for the diversity of art and music that he brought to Suffolk over eight years but perhaps none more so than that of the 19th June 2016 where the entire landscape and natural beauty of Suffolk played a significant part in Messiaen’s and Aimard’s vision. ©M.Ball 7.30pm 'Dusk' RSPB Minsmere © Matt Jolly 11.00pm 'Night' Britten Studio, Snape. © Matt Jolly Pierre-Laurent Aimard Review of the all-Messiaen concert. St. Mary's Church Penzance, Cornwall. UK 4th June 2016. Featuring Malcolm Ball (ondes Martenot) and Peter Humphrey (piano), with Nigel Wicken (organ). 1. 5 Leçons de Solfege (1934) Nos.l,2,3,5,4. Ondes & piano. 2. O sacrum convivium (1937) soprano (Laura Nicholas) &Nigel Wicken (organ) 3. Two piano pieces played by Peter Humphrey: La colombe (1929) and Rondeau (1943). 4. Le merle noir (1952) flute & piano - (Pippa Drummond, flute; Paul Comeau piano). 5. Feuillets inedit s (unpublished pages) ondes & piano. 6. L'alouette lulu (1957) piano- (Peter Humphrey) 7. Vocalise (1935) Ondes & piano 8. Premiere communion de la Vierge (1944) piano. 9. Oraison des belles eaux (1937) Ondes & piano. 10. Joie et clarte des corps glorieux (1939), Nigel Wicken (organ) *** This all-Messiaen concert was a unique musical event, and it was applauded with great enthusiasm by an audience of over 70 people. A glance at the items in the programme with their dates shows that these are works from the earlier half of the composer's career, the latest in date being L'alouette lulu composed in 1957 when Messiaen was aged 49. The concert included authorized arrangements for ondes Martenot and piano along with some other fine works that have hitherto seldom been performed. None of the pieces is particularly obscure or difficult for the listener. Indeed the intention was for this to be a concert of attractive and accessible music, much of it extraordinarily beautiful - music that deserves to be heard more often. Many people will know of Messiaen's use of the Ondes Martenot in three of his greatest works: Trois petites liturgies de la Presence divine, Turangalila, and Saint François d'Assise. The pieces in this concert, however, were adaptations of the high melodic line of some smaller works, pieces originally written with pedagogical intent - sight-reading exercises or examination tests. In their modest way they often exemplify Messiaen's characteristic melodies, harmonies and rhythms. What is remarkable is their quality, and also their delightful deftness and charm. The 5 Leçons de Solfege (1934) for ondes and piano formed an ideal start to the concert. These sight-reading pieces, originally for soprano but readily adaptable for flute or for ondes, are easy on the ear, some sprightly, others with a mildly melancholy and wistful charm. We were not challenged with any of the loud swoopings and whoopings characteristic of the Ondes in parts of the large orchestral works. This evening we experienced the quieter and ethereal qualities. O sacrum convivium (1937), beautifully sung by the soprano Laura Nicholas accompanied by Nigel Wicken on the organ. This version is rarely performed, though the a capella version is often sung by cathedral choirs. This was a spellbinding and very moving performance. The four piano solos, admirably played by Peter Humphrey, were all remarkably different from one another. La colombe (1929) was delicately evocative; Rondeau (1943) came across as exciting and dazzling with a delightful lightness of touch; La premiere communion de la Vierge (1944) communicated a beautiful and deeply spiritual experience. L'alouette lulu (1957) was wonderful: velvet-dark chords representing night, magical high descending trills of the woodlark, the more percussive brilliance of the nightingale. Le merle noir (1952) for flute (Pippa Drummond) and piano (Paul Comeau) was sensational in its virtuosity and brilliance. The audience was bowled over by it. Of the pieces for ondes and piano, which constituted the bulk of the concert, it was the Oraison des belles eaux that built up to the most sustained intensity. Malcolm Ball and Peter Humphrey achieved an extraordinarily subtle, well-graduated, and compelling melodic and chordal progression. The emotion was overwhelming. The concert concluded with Joie et clarte des corps glorieux (1939) played on the organ by Nigel Wicken using the exact stops and registrations that are indicated in the score. The "joy and radiance" resounded in the church, an exhilarating and fitting culmination. Nicholas Armfelt (June 2016) Turangalîla Symphonie Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. Gustavo Dudamel conductor, Yuja Wang, piano, Cynthia Millar, Ondes Martenot Royal Festival Hall London. 16th January 2016 Some might say there was something more dazzling than the Lumiere Light Festival showing over London on the 16th of January and that was the appearance of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela under Gustavo Dudamel at London’s Southbank performing Messiaen’s mighty Turangalîla Symphonie. Messiaen loved to ‘dazzle’ and we were certainly treated to an aural and visual feast from the moment piano soloist Yuja Wang strode onto the Royal Festival Hall stage sporting a sparkling micro mini dress with matching shoes only out shone by her dazzling and scintillating performance of this quasi piano concerto. Ms. Wang is well known for her concerto performances of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, Shostakovich etc. but not later 20th century works such as this. She may not have this music completely in her bones as Pierre-Laurant Aimard and indeed she seemed a little over reliant on the score at times, but she played the most demanding passages with unshaken security and a kaleidoscopic dynamic sense. This was particularly evident in movement 6 (Jardin du sommeil d’amour) where Messiaen had just started to develop his birdsong writing. Her delicate touch and ‘improvisatory’ approach allowed Messiaen’s birds to flit effortlessly over a cushion of strings and Ondes Martenot melody. As attractive and, again, dazzling her six inch stiletto heels and three inch platform shoes were, they did impair her pedaling at times where some resonances were abruptly cut short and not fully controlled. This was a minor glitch in an otherwise quite staggering performance. Turangalîla Symphonie is new fair for the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and Dudamel added to their repertoire in 2015. This team with Yuja Wang and Cynthia Millar have performed the work in Barcelona, Luxembourg, London and will play in Cologne on the 24th January. The work is not new to ondist Cynthia Millar, having played it countless times over many years now. Her performance here demonstrated just how well attuned her ear is to tonal and dynamic balance of her instrument with the rest of the orchestra. Dudamel stuck rigidly to Messiaen’s orchestral numbers that are inflated in all departments including 10 double basses. I have heard this piece where reductions were made and it really spoils the effect, balance and colour, but not so on this occasion. He conducted with precision and passion coaxing out the delicate ‘flower motif’ played by woodwinds, contrasting this with the burnished white-hot fortissimo ‘statue theme’ in the brass. He also stuck well to Messiaen’s revised tempi with just movement 5 (Joie du sang des étoiles) taking a few bars to settle. I felt the tam tam was a little cautious in the climaxes and the staggered positioning of the metallic instruments (vibraphone, celeste and keyed glock) did not create the intended gamelan effect that Messiaen wanted. Bruce Hodges’ progamme notes were rather too generalised and contained a few minor inaccuracies. He alluded to Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde but failed to place Turangalila within Messiaen’s own Tristan trilogy (Harawi, Turangalîla Symphonie and Cinq Rechants). This said, the ‘force’ was certainly with Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and the vitality and energy that the orchestra is famous for was 95% evident. I reserve 100% for the performance given by the National Youth Orchestra of GB under Sir Andrew Davis in a 2001 BBC Prom. © Malcolm Ball BBC Proms Friday 7th August 2015 Royal Albert Hall, London. Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) Orchestration realised by Christopher Dingle (b. 1971) Un oiseau des arbres de Vie (Oiseau tui) (1987/8, orch.2013/14) world premiere. ‘On either side of the river is the tree of life…’ (Revelations 22:2) ‘Bless the Lord, all birds of the air’ (Daniel 3:80) For those of us who felt that Peter Hill’s recent and exciting discovery of the piano piece ‘La fauvette passerinette ’ was the last piece of Messiaen’s manuscripts to see a new light of day since the composers’ death, image our thrill to hear of this 4 minute gem that emerged from the work desk in Paris! This said, many scholars and enthusiasts have known about ‘Un oiseau des arbres de Vie (Oiseau tui) ’ as Chris Dingle pointed out in the highly illuminating Proms Extra talk that was shared with Peter Hill. Messiaen planned for a pair of movements in ‘Éclairs sur l’Au-delà… ’ that featured the tui bird from New Zealand and the lyrebird from Australia. The lyrebird remained in the finished work but Messiaen, reluctantly decided to omit the tui from Éclairs. He had, however, written all the music for the movement in a three stave short score and characteristically approved this by marking ‘Bien’ to note its completion. Thanks to Peter Hill who was granted a copy from Messiaen’s widow Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen, Chris Dingle set about the daunting task of orchestrating the movement. It would be very hard to find another as well qualified as Chris to undertake such a task with his boundless knowledge of Messiaen’s final works (especially Éclairs) and a thorough understanding of the orchestral palette used by Messiaen. The song of the tui is remarkable for its vast vocal range as well as being a great imitator of, not just other birds, but also many environmental sounds it hears such as percussive knocks and clicks, swooping glissandi and even the human voice. As one who has been fortunate enough to see and hear this bird first hand (on Tiritiri Matangi Island NZ) I can confirm it is one of the most vocally adept of all the avian species. The result is a 4-minute virtuosic tour de force in all the orchestral departments. Messiaen’s beloved trio of marimba, xylorimba and xylophone featured prominently and executed with great aplomb by the percussionists of the BBC Philharmonic. The tui’s song flits around the orchestra of multiple woodwind, brass and strings at great speed and dazzling metrical complexity often culminating (and concluding) by ‘tumbling’ onto three cellos. The wood blocks are featured in an almost concerto-like capacity and there are smacks of ‘Oiseaux exotiques ’ with repeated tutti stabs, but as Chris Dingle pointed out, the music contains clearly recognisable ‘Messiaen’ but at the same time colours and traits new to his birdsong writing. And it is ‘colour’ that really dazzled us in the Royal Albert Hall this evening by craftsman of 20th (and 21st) century composer/orchestrators. Mozart kicked off the first half with the not too often heard Idomeneo – ballet music and although not 20th century, Messiaen considered Mozart a great colourist who’s influence remained with him throughout his life. Jean-Efflam Bavouzet gave a glittering and moving account of Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major as well as the breath-taking Etude de concert by Pierné by way of an encore, Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements , Colin Matthews’s delicate and translucent orchestration of Oiseaux tristes from the piano suite Miroirs by Ravel and Ravel’s own orchestral masterpiece La Valse concluding the proceedings. The BBC Philharmonic was on top form in all departments driven by the effervescent Nicholas Collon who coaxed out all the subtle nuances in this feast of nature and colour. © M.Ball Peter Hill and Christopher Dingle ©M.Ball Turangalila Symphonie Philharmonia Orchestra. Esa-Pekka Salonen conductor, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano, Valérie Hartmann-Claverie, Ondes Martenot. Royal Festival Hall London. 28th May 2015 The last time I reviewed the Philharmonia performing Turangalîla Symphonie was back in 2008, Messiaen’s centenary year when they performed the work in sunny Southend-on-Sea, Essex (see below) and the only change in personnel in this performance was ondist Valérie Hartmann-Claverie (Jacques Tchamkerten was in the ondes chair in Southend). This was the final concert in the Philharmonia’s series “City of Light – Paris, 1900–1950” and if you want to go out with a bang then Turangalîla is the ideal choice. But before the mighty Symphonie, we were treated to some sonorous delights of a different kind beginning with Debussy’s Syrinx for solo flute and indeed it could be said that the orchestra ‘grew’ throughout the evening with Simon Coles alone on stage followed by the rarely heard La damoiselle élue for female chorus, mezzo and soprano solo and orchestra, then Turangalîla where the RFH stage was bursting at the seams. From the opening bars of the Introduction it was clear that Messiaen’s ‘baby’ was in safe hands as of course it has been with Salonen for many years now. The orchestral colours so important for Messiaen were clearly defined here and exquisitely balanced throughout. The keyboards (celeste, keyed glock and vibraphone) were positioned correctly at the front of the stage but sadly the mallets used on the vibraphone were too soft to convey the clanging gamelan effect that Messiaen intended. Salonen’s tempi were well judged throughout but for (and this was the case in 2008) the 9th movement where Messiaen revised the tempo from quaver 100 to 80. Salonen produced a rather jaunty jog rather than the mysterious strange and ethereal atmosphere created by ondes, percussion, keyboards and 13 solo strings. If the tempo is too fast the timbral detail and rhythmic personalities are lost or at least thrown into relief. This aside, Salonen and the orchestra produced an epic performance with soloists Valérie Hartmann-Claverie playing entirely from memory with great command and expressive intensity and Pierre-Laurent Aimard setting the whole piece alight with his stunning virtuosity and consistent engagement befitting in this glittering finale to the ‘City of Light’. © MB Messiaenfestival Orgelpark 22 February 2015 Het Orgelpark, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Fête des Belles Eaux for 6 Ondes Martenot’s Fabienne Martin, Pascale Rousse-Lacordaire, Philippe Arrieus, Haruka Ogawa, Dominique Kim, Augustin Viard. Quatuor pour la fin du temps Thomas Dieltjens, piano Benjamin Dieltjens, clarinet Aki Sauliere, violin Raphael Bell, cello This concert was the culmination of a Messiaen festival organised by Johan Luijmes, (artistic director) and his team at the colourful and attractive Orgelpark venue in Amsterdam. Previous concerts in the series featured such luminaries as Ralph van Raat performing Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant Jesus , Berry van Berkum performing Les Corps Glorieux and Musici Nederlands Kamerkoor Klaas Stok with Marcel Verheggen performing Apparition de l’Eglise Eternelle, O Sacrum convivium, L’Ascension, Cinq Rechants, Le Banquet céleste . Although I was unable to attend the entire festival I was determined to make the trip to Amsterdam on Sunday the 22nd to see and hear this performance of Fête des Belles Eaux by ‘Vecteur Ondes ’ (Fabienne Martin, Pascale Rousse-Lacordaire, Philippe Arrieus, Haruka Ogawa, Dominique Kim and Augustin Viard). This piece is so rarely heard live that any performance that is only a short plan trip away is most definitely worthwhile. Messiaen was one of 20 composers commissioned to write a piece in 1937 for a festival of sound, water and light (a ‘son et lumière’) that took place along the river Seine in Paris and after seeing and hearing Maurice Martenot’s new electronic invention in 1928 he opted for a piece featuring 6 Ondes Martenot’s. The performance began after dark where fireworks in the sky were mirrored by jets of water combined with the harmonies of the music. Nowadays we settle for the six Ondists seated in a semicircle in the comfort of a concert hall, as was the case on the 22nd. The virtuosic first Ondes part (the role originally played by Ginette Martenot the inventors’ sister and later Jeanne Loriod) was superbly executed by Fabienne Martin who coaxed the most expressive qualities and emotional intensity from the instrument in movements 4 and 6. The musical material for these two movements later found its way into the Quatuor. Pascale Rousse-Lacordaire guided the overall performance clearly and concisely resulting in excellent ensemble and dynamic expression throughout. Those of you familiar with the oak coloured wooden cabinet style that Maurice Martenot produced together with the eye catching lotus leaf shaped ‘palme’ loudspeaker would have been slightly disappointed as all the performers used the Ondea, a modern version of the original that has no such ‘art nouveau’ qualities. This is not a problem, as the sound quality and characteristics of the Ondea is very close to that of the original Martenot instrument and of course much more reliable, but being a little old fashioned, I just like the aesthetic of the original instrument. However, the metallique speakers (a resonating gong) were used to create the highly effective shimmering in the 6th movement. Also, it wasn’t until 2003 that the new score of Fête des Belles Eaux was published and the timbre registrations were written for the series 7 Ondes Martenot that only includes 3 speakers: Principle, Reverberation and Metallique (D1,D2 and D3). This was a memorable performance of the highest quality that clearly demonstrated the organic, human expressive quality of these instruments that have stood the test of time and sets it aside from modern day synthesizers. The second half of the concert was given over to a scintillating performance of Quatuor pour la fin du temps perhaps Messiaen’s most performed work. If this is the case, then it is still extraordinary how every performance brings something different to the work. Benjamin Dieltjens, Aki Sauliere, Raphael Bell performed their respective ‘solo’s’ with rapt intensity all underpinned by Thomas Dieltjens’ secure, no nonsense pianism that totally captivated the audience throughout. A true Amsterdam standing ovation for both performances was thoroughly deserved. As an extra ‘treat’ there was a running video of an interview with Messiaen and Dutch maestro Reinbert de Leew centred on a performance of La Transfiguration de notre-Seigneur Jésus Christ – what more could we ask for? All thanks to Johan Luijmes and Karlijne Swart for their tireless efforts and hospitality. ©M.Ball Time Stood Still in Wivenhoe Many of you reading this article would never have heard of Wivenhoe, a small town and ‘civil parish’ (as Wikipedia puts it) nestled in northeastern Essex. However, if I mention Colchester, the oldest recorded town in England, the numbers shoot up. Wivenhoe is a mere 3 miles south east of Colchester where the Roman River Music Festival has been delighting people with top quality performances as well as a strong out reaching educational programme since its foundation in 2000. The concert given on the 30th September 2014 at St. Mary the Virgin Church, Wivenhoe brought together four extraordinary musicians to perform Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps (Quartet for the End of Time) - Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay, violin (standing in at short notice for Jennifer Pike), Guy Johnston, cello, Mark Simpson clarinet and Tom Poster, piano. Mark Simpson, former BBC Young Musician and Composer of the Year, opened proceedings with Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Cradle Song with Tom Poster, first prize winner at the Scottish International Piano Competition and keyboard sections of BBC Young Musician of the Year. With dimmed lighting to almost dark the duo created exactly the right atmosphere for the evening and their poised and piquant playing conveyed just enough unsentimental lyricism that this miniature gem requires. Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio in D minor showcased the virtuosic talents of Guy Johnston (another BBC Young Musician of the Year) Tom Poster and Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay (concert master of the Phiharmonia). This was a compelling performance played with a sense of spontaneity and often-breathtaking dramatic intensity that prompted spontaneous audience reaction between movements. The almost tangible telepathy between these musicians produced enthralling climaxes and changes of texture and mood without being confrontational. After a well-deserved break, all four musicians joined together for Messiaen’s most performed work. From the opening bars of Liturgie de cristal it was clear that a special ‘chemistry’ was at work, which is surprising and rare for a group who I suspect, have not worked together as a unit for very long. This was chamber music at its very finest. Mark Simpson’s clarinet seemed, at times, to come from another world in ‘Abîme des oiseaux’ . The long sustained tones truly did come from nothing and grew to a shattering fortissimo but with perfect tonal control throughout as were the fiendishly difficult 7 note echo figures that stride the entire range of the instrument and where many players come to grief. I have heard Messiaen’s Quartet many (many!) times but never before have I experienced the ‘Danse de la fureur pour les sept trompettes’ played with such unabashed fury! ‘Louange à l’éternité de Jésus’ and ‘Louange de l’immortalité de Jésus’ for cello and piano and violin and piano respectively, demonstrated perfect timbral and temporal control from Tom Poster allowing Guy Johnston’s cello and Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay’s violin to float effortlessly in the heights. This was a rare spiritually engaging performance where time really did seem to stand still. There was just a slight hint of tonal ‘fluff’ on the final violin note but by that time we were all on a higher plane. All power to the elbow of Orlando Jopling for programming such a wonderful event in this quaint corner of the Essex countryside. We all eagerly await 2015! St. François d’Assise in Madrid. 13th July 2011 Instalación: Emilia e Ilya Kabakov Disposición escénica: Giuseppe Frigeni Figurinista: Robby Duiveman Iluminador Jean Kalman Director del coro: Andrés Máspero El angel: Camilla Tilling Saint François: Alejandro Marco-Buhrmester El leproso: Michael König Frère Léon: Wiard Withold Frère Massée: Tom Randle Frère Éllie: Gerhard Siegel Frère Bernard: Victor von Halem Frère Sylvestre: Vladimir Kapshuk Coro Titular del Teatro Real y Coro de la Generalitat Valenciana SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden - Freiburg Musical Director: Sylvain Cambreling Since the historical Paris premier of St François d’Assise in 1983 there appears an evolution of two particular trends when staging this immense musical epic. On the one hand directors stick pretty closely to Messiaen’s sometimes detailed production notes while on the other hand some stray so far that if it were not for the music one might sometimes wonder if we’re watching the same work. Teatro Real’s Madrid offering most definitely falls into the former catagory. Madrid’s artistic director Gerard Mortier continues his ‘dream’ of staging St Francois wherever he goes. Directing team Emilia and Ilya Kabakov brought their gigantic tilting dome first seen in the Ruhr Triennale production of 2003 to the Madrid Arena (this and the musical forces were deemed too large to house in Teatro Real’s theatre at opera square in the centre of Madrid). Adapted sports spaces such as the arena are never ideal for ‘acoustic’ musical events even with the large forces employed by Messiaen. The orchestra and choir were reasonably well focused and balanced but some solo roles that were played out on the raised bridge platform to the front and sides struggled with projection at times in particular Gerhard Siegel as Brother Elías. Alejandro Marco-Buhrmester was convincingly immersed throughout as St François and performed with rapt intensity at times. Tom Randle is always a pleasure to see in the role of Brother Masseo bringing a sense of spontaneity to the part although he had considerably less to do in this production than the Nederlandse Opera where he last appeared in the role. Camilla Tilling is by far my favourite Angel. She is familiar with this part now and one is totally transported by her firmly centered non-operatic sound with a purity found nowhere else. Her ‘Noh’-like movements are exactly as Messiaen wished and this is true of the entire production which was meditative rather than sensational – minimal rather than spectacular. Messiaen’s sense of time and tempo are often hard to grasp but musical director Sylvain Cambreling guided the 170 odd performers with security and expressive understanding. The expanded SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden- Freiberg produced some fabulous textures and colours. However, discipline and etiquette was less impressive with members of the brass section holding conversations and even coming and going off stage became a distraction at times. The static ‘stained glass’ dome added coloured lighting throughout -sometimes changing imperceptibly. This plus the candle-lit lighting in the choir gave the whole space an atmospheric spiritual feel. ‘Static’ is the adjective that keeps surfacing in relation to this production and at times one just wished for slightly more animation from characters or stage direction particularly in the Sermon to the Birds where Messiaen’s music is so highly animated we, the audience just had to use a little too much of our own imagination. A huge bird cage completed the stage design with live doves that appeared to respond to light intensity and became animated when lit and less so when in shade. It was therefore a shame that they were not fully lit in the final 2 minuets of the opera – it would have been heart warming to see them joyously flapping to the illuminated brilliance of the final C major chord! It was also a shame that some of the Spanish opera going clientele could not stay the course as they would surely have been spiritually rewarded at the end of this highly successful production that may never be seen again in Spain for many years. © Malcolm Ball St. François in Amsterdam Saint François d’Assise. De Nederlandse Opera, Het Muziektheater, Amsterdam. 1-6-2008. “Know the joy of the blessed by gentleness of colour and melody…and may there be opened for thee the secrets of glory!” These are the words sung by the Angel in Messiaen’s ‘musical spectacle’ (his description) and unlike some recent stagings of Saint François d’Assise , Der Nederlanse Opera production focuses on the words colour and melody with Pierre Audi and his production team ever mindful of Messiaen’s intentions. From the opening scene (La Croix) the lighting and set designs are inventive and appropriate without us having to delve into the recesses of our minds to work out what is going on. The huge expanded Residentie Orkest sprawled from the rear of the stage with musical director Ingo Metzmacher plying his craft from centre stage with great authority and control throughout and thus the orchestra became a genuine character in the opera. Remarkably this sonic powerhouse of 100 plus musicians never once over-powered the voices, a testament to the genius of Messiaen’s orchestration, the sensitivity of Ingo Metzmacher and the acoustics of the Muziektheater. Camilla Tilling (L’Ange) gave a compelling performance both vocally and theatrically. The 5th tableau (L’Ange musicien) in particular left the entire Muziektheater audience utterly breathless and mesmerised with her exquisite vocal line complemented by the ‘other-worldliness’ of the three Ondes Martenot’s and moving with the elegance and ritual of a Noh actor fulfilled Messiaen’s every wish. Angelo Figus’s costumes reflected Messiaen’s vision appropriately without compromise or over indulgence and only the Leper costume lacked a little impact in terms of repulsiveness. Rod Gilfry (Saint François) delivered just the right amount of humility when needed in this mammoth role and despite a troublesome throat at times managed to portray vocally the Saint’s despair, anguish and joy to great effect. All the Fransiscan Brothers responded well to their individual characterization’s, however it was Tom Randle (Frère Massée), who is depicted as rather naïve and innocent, was in danger of ‘stealing the show’ with his witty interactions and mannerisms. Indeed the one ‘masterstroke’ of Pierre Audi’s production was to introduce a group of children in the ‘Sermon to the birds’ where Randle really came into his own with the children clearly enjoying the playful banter. For me this scene communicated and worked far better than any ornithological wildlife film footage ever can. Great use was made of the space and various levels in the Muziektheater with minimal but effective scene changes smoothly articulated. The choir of De Nederlandse Opera were really made to feel an integral part of the production and not just a static sound source at the back of the stage. Their disciplined and well drilled performance driven by Martin Wright. Pierre Audi has brought Saint François d’Assise into the 21st century while at the same time retaining the spirit of Messiaen’s intentions and has succeeded in highlighting the human and spiritual world of Saint François that made the 5 hours of this opera seem like a celestial ‘moment’. ©Malcolm Ball A selection of reviews and highlights from 2008 - Messiaen's centenary. Messiaen in Cambridge 5th March 2008 West Road Concert Hall Turangalila Symphonie CUMS 1 Orchestra – Matthew Schellhorn piano – Jacques Tchamkerten Ondes Martenot – Baldur Brönnimann Guest conductor. When the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain tackled Turangalila Symphonie at the 2001 Proms to much deserved acclaim, we all marvelled at how an orchestra made up of people no older than 19 years of age could bring so much musicality, verve and excitement to this work in the midst of, it has to be said, some rather workman like performances presented by some seasoned professional orchestras around this time. It is generally accepted that NYO is the cream of our musical youth with the highest standards of teaching and coaching, so could any other aspiring young person’s ensemble achieve such standards? The answer is most definitely ‘yes’ as was experienced by the Cambridge University Musical Society (CUMS) concert at West Road Concert Hall. Baldur Brönnimann directed with authority if lacking a little dynamism and ensemble, after some slight shaky moments during movement two, gained cohesion and confidence. There was plenty of power when needed despite the somewhat reduced numbers in some sections. Messiaen specifies (rather optimistically!) for example 10 double basses rather than the 7 here although there was no loss of bottom right from the opening bars in the lower strings. The woodwind section was clear, bright and well articulated especially the capricious bassoon and piccolo in Chant d’amour 2 and the clarinets positively blossomed in the ‘flower theme’ with beautiful tone and control. Only the brass section suffered a little from depletion and the stratospheric D trumpet was missed in the climactic bar before the final Trés lent of the Final. Special mention should be made of the percussion section who in a restricted and confined space covered everything with great aplomb. Soloists Matthew Schellhorn and Jacques Tchamkerten are becoming quite a ‘team’ now and who wouldn’t want this pair as part of any Messiaen ‘team’? Matthew began the evening’s proceedings with a lucid and fact packed presentation of the Symphonie that concluded with Jacques Tchamkerten introducing the Ondes Martenot with both Matthew and Jacques performing a few bars of Jardin du sommeil d’amour demonstrating how sensitive Jacques Tchamkerten is as a player and the Ondes Martenot is as an instrument. Matthew Schellhorn’s total command of this virtuoso piano part was never more aptly apparent than in the cadenza at the end of Joie du sang des étoiles – totally breathtaking! This was a special evening for CUMS and one that all involved should be proud and hold dear to their hearts for a long time. A great achievement. 22nd March 2008 King’s College Chapel. Apparition de l’Église éternelle - Trois petites liturgies de la presence divine CUCO – Peter Stevens organ - Choral Scholars of Clare College - Choral Scholars of Gonville and Caius College – Matthew Schellhorn piano – Jacques Tchamkerten Ondes Martenot – Stephen Cleobury conductor. We knew we were in for a special evening right from the opening bars of Apparition de l’Église éternelle given by Peter Stevens at the mighty King’s organ. Peter Steven’s well controlled crescendo culminating in the Harrison and Harrison awesome 32’ almost literally made the earth move for us! This is the kind of building to hear this work and Stevens made the most of the massive space and reverberation that was both moving and awe-inspiring. Even more special was Stephen Cleobury’s handling of Trois petites liturgies de la presence divine . With such a strange combination of instruments, this is a difficult work to balance dynamically and presents a challenge to any conductor even in the best concert halls let alone a lively and unforgiving acoustic such as King’s. However, Stephen Cleobury is well accustomed to the reverberation in the chapel and his timed pauses were just enough for us to savour the huge climaxes and not lose momentum. Tempos were exactly right. Bright without being rushed and the slow tempos, mystical without being turgid. The Cambridge University Chamber Orchestra played with precision and style throughout and combined with the solo piano and Ondes Martenot parts, Messiaen’s stained glass effects were as dazzling as the King’s Chapel windows themselves! Everything was crystal clear from the gently tapping maracas to the earth shattering tam tam crescendos. Again, the Schellhorn/Tchamkerten ‘team’ performed with typical style, sensitivity and character, never over playing and always with the utmost musical awareness. The real ‘stars’ of the evening though were undoubtedly the ladies of Clare and Gonville and Caius Colleges. There are nowadays many recordings of Trois petites liturgies de la presence divine however very few can boast perfection in terms of balance and vocal presentation that Messiaen himself envisioned. I strongly believe that this choir, on this occasion did. Singing and chanting in unison as the vocal part requires here can have as many pitfalls as complex harmonic performing but this choir with it’s crystalline diction and faultless intonation was way up there with the finest. Praise indeed, but praise well deserved. ©Malcolm Ball Turangalila Symphonie Philharmonia Orchestra. Esa-Pekka Salonen conductor, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano, Jacques Tchamkerten, Ondes Martenot. Cliffs Pavilion, Southend-on Sea. 15 February 2008 Southend-on-sea is not the first location to spring to mind when thinking of a performance of Messiaen’s mighty Turangalila Symphonie . However, if one thinks of the gayety of children playing on the sun-kissed seafront in summer, the noisy cacophony of the fairground and young lovers strolling along the promenade at night bathed in Southend’s famous multi-fluorescent and colourful illuminations (second only to Blackpool) the heart of Turangalila isn’t that far removed! The Philharmonia are key players in the South Bank Centre Messiaen Festival driven by the tireless and seemingly unflagging Pierre-Laurent Aimard as artistic Festival director. This team has and will be presenting Turangalila many times throughout the year and it was refreshing to experience such an event in the Essex seaside town. The main draw back to mounting such a concert at the Cliffs Pavilion is that by nature it is more suited to musical theatre where the orchestra is positioned below in front of the stage whereby audience members seated in the stalls (which is un-raked until half way up the auditorium) can hear a good balance of vocal on stage and music from a ‘pit’ position below. Having a full orchestra on stage meant that those in the first part of the stalls experience some imbalance because brass, percussion and some woodwinds that are behind the strings consequently get a little lost. Having said this, I’m sure that these balance problems did not arise if seated in the circle or the boxes. Because of the restricted room on stage the orchestra was somewhat reduced in numbers and even then the percussion department especially seemed to lack the necessary elbow room needed to project some moments in the music and it was a shame that all the 'gamelan' type instruments (keyboard percussion) could not be altogether (the vibraphone being at the side). Esa-Pekka Salonen did a sterling job of holding everything together in what must have seemed an almost straightjacket situation. Salonen knows this music well now and drew out some beautiful nuances from woodwind and strings as well as some amazingly exciting tutti moments. Indeed, I don’t think I’ve heard the last chord of Joie de Sang des Étoiles held for so long since the early days of Maurice La Roux! There was one slight breathtaking moment of the panic kind when in Turangalila 2 the tam tam seemed to take forever to enter and crescendo before the final seven bars. Only the ninth movement: Turangalila 3 I thought lost a little mystery due to a rather too well paced tempo. I have found Jacques Tchamkerten to be one of the most sensitive ondists around. His playing was always well balanced even in the fortissimo climaxes, which in the wrong hands can be ear splittingly loud. Pierre-Laurent Aimard makes the virtuoso piano part look effortless now and one is reminded of Yvonne Loriod in her hey day with that total and absolute involvement with not just the piano part but the entire orchestral canvas. What is more extraordinary about Aimard is the mental and physical work-load of performing the complete Vingt Regards and goodness knows how many Turangalila’s in such a short space of time, as well as overseeing the entire Messiaen Festival. A truly super-human task and we in Great Britain should be so thankful that this Messiaen and Loriod taught Frenchman chose to grace us with his presence for the centenary. The good people of Southend were treated to a particularly fine bonus in the form of a pre concert talk and performance of Quatour pour la Fin du Temps no less, given by soloists of the Philharmonia (Barnaby Robson, clarinet, James Clark, violin, David Cohen, cello) and Messiaen aficionado Matthew Schellhorn, piano. This was a heart felt and meaningful performance full of colour and tight ensemble. Despite what looked like Barnaby Robson suffering from the British winter he draw some stunning colours and dynamics from the clarinet in Abime des oiseaux where notes seemed to literally emerge from the depths! So, fish and chips and candyfloss aside, Messiaen was put firmly on the Southend-on- sea menu on Friday the 15th. Let’s hope for more here in the future. © Malcolm Ball Book reviews Messiaen l'empreinte d'un géant. Catherine Lechner-Reydellet ISBN-10: 2840495112 - ISBN-13: 978-2840495116 Pub. Editions Seguier in French. Nicholas Armfelt writes: If I tell you that Catherine Lechner-Reydellet writes in a slightly awkwardly poetic French and that she makes a terrible lot of blunders ("François" instead of Pascal Messiaen), dozens (literally) of proper names mis-spelt ("Aymard", Charles "Yves" etc. etc.), you may expect my judgement of the book and its editor to be pretty negative. However the bulk of the book is fascinating and informative because she has assembled a whole lot of "témoignages". These 'witnesses" all write very well about their recollections of Messiaen. You get a brief biography of the contributor and a list of his/her works. The "témoignages" take a couple of pages each. Lots and lots of witnesses, all of them interesting, covering a wonderfully wide range of subjects. Messiaen as conductor(!), for example. And so very many of them praise Messiaen as an incredibly good pianist. Contributors include Louis Thiry, Raffi Ourgandjian, Sigune von Osten, Georges Prêtre (on the first performance of Chronochromie)..etc. I was terribly moved by the testimony of Odette Gartenlaub, the very first pupil to be inscribed in Messiaen's class at the Paris Conservatoire in 1941, the touching letter from Claude Delvincourt telling her that she had to leave because she was Jewish, and the three imploring letters from Messiaen asking her (without success) to rejoin after the Liberation. The book includes numerous letters by Messiaen and by Yvonne Loriod, all of them reproduced both in Facsimile and printed transcription. Of particular interest is the long section by Gaëtan Puaud on the Festival Messiaen au Pays de la Meije. OLIVIER MESSIAEN: Oiseaux exotiques Peter Hill and Nigel Simeone Series: Landmarks in Music Since 1950 Ashgate ISBN: 0 7546 5630 6 This is the fourth in the series ‘Landmarks in Music since 1950’, series editor Wyndham Thomas and published by Ashgate. The others being: Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 8 – Louis Andriessen: Da Staat and Gyorgy Kurtág: The Saying of Péter Bornemisza op.7. A fifth volume, Nicholas Maw: Odyssey is to be published in 2008. Each book features a general introduction of the work under discussion, details of commission and composition history, contextual discussion of stylistic, generic and international influences and precedents, an analysis of the work, survey of its reception, a bibliography and discography and most importantly a CD recording. OLIVIER MESSIAEN: Oiseaux exotiques shows Ashgate’s ongoing commitment to the work of Messiaen and the well-honed team of Hill and Simeone provide a highly readable and communicable account of this seminal work. Even in the analysis (Commentary) chapter of the book where often in these textbooks language and technical detail soar to heady heights understood only by those in revered university chambers, this is pitched ideally and is approachable from enthusiasts as well as students and academia. Although the book is centred on Oiseaux exotiques, Hill and Simeone give detailed accounts of Messiaen’s life and work leading up to its composition and first performance. Facts that hitherto have never found their way into the biographies and text books in the past. Of particular interest here is the origins and birth of Domain Musical where, in typical Hill and Simeone style, they unearth detailed facts and dates mapping its development under Boulez and the setting up of the concert series at the Petit Marigny Theatre. We are also treated to a lengthy précis of Oiseaux exotique’s predecessor Reveil des Oiseaux and for the first time in print we see Messiaen’s preliminary bird notations transcribed from his many cahiers and trace their development into the works. There are audio examples of these on the accompanying CD played impeccably by Peter Hill. The complete performance of Oiseaux exotiques is taken from the original Vega recording that was made at the world premiere in the Petit Marigny Theatre 1956. In the chapter: First Performance, Reception and Publication, Hill and Simeone draw our attention to some American… I almost hesitate to call them composers, who were working with similar and sometimes the same bird recordings Messiaen was using around the same time. Jim Fassett who became director of CBS Radio’s music department in the 1940s produced an LP with the title Music and Bird Songs. Fasset had an obvious interest in ornithology and was enthused by the songs of the Wood Thrush, Cardinal etc but he manipulated the songs by slowing them down and changing the pitch to produce his own rather banal popular song melodies. Much worse than this and excruciatingly embarrassing to listen to was Johan Dalgas Frisch’s work where birdsongs were admirably collected as field recordings but then were added to tunes such as Sukiyaki and Swanee River! We have only to thank heaven that Messiaen never went down that road! We are beginning to see a wealth of Messiaen material now leading up to the centenary in 2008 and a good deal of this is ‘British made’ thanks to the likes of Christopher Dingle, Stephen Broad and of course Nigel Simeone and Peter Hill. The book is presented in the usual high quality Ashgate style with beautifully set musical examples. Perhaps the only one wish is that a few plates of the actual birds would not have gone a miss in such a study although a small internet trawl will reveal these unlike the treasured material contained within these leaves. ©MB ​ ​ MESSIAEN by Peter Hill & Nigel Simeone. Yale University Press ISBN 0-300-10907-5 (2005) This is very ‘special’ book. ‘Special’ because unlike most books that have been written about Olivier Messiaen this is the first to reveal the almost day to day working life of one of the twentieth century’s most important musical giants. We know there is something ‘special’ in store just by the book’s cover photograph of Messiaen – to my knowledge rarely seen. Pianist Peter Hill and musicologist Nigel Simeone have long associations with both Messiaen and more especially Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen and Peter Hill is well known for the almost definitive study of the music of Messiaen, The Messiaen Companion (see bibliography ). Nigel Simeone has written many accounts and delved deep to produce some of the most authoritative writings on Messiaen and French music generally. Where previous accounts have sought to analyse Messiaen’s oeuvres with sparse accounts of his private life, Peter Hill and Nigel Simeone for the first time have been granted access to his private papers and diaries all made possible by the permission of the composer’s widow Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen. And by ‘private life’ I don’t mean what Messiaen had for breakfast or the colour of his socks but rather facts about his childhood, relationships with his mother, father, brother, aunts and working companions throughout his life, all contribute to a greater understanding of the character and temperament of the man. Hill and Simeone tread a very bold path from before Messiaen’s birth, through that special mother son relationship into his teens, the passionate but troubled first marriage to Claire Delbos and the birth of their son and the first meeting with Yvonne Loriod, (who went from Messiaen’s page turner to second wife and major interpreter of his piano music), and traces Messiaen’s spiritual and indeed physical journey up to his death. There are some very moving, often heart-wrenching letters from Messiaen to Claire during the war years and his time in Vichy and the book reveals the intense love, passion and yearning Messiaen had for Claire and his son Pascal always overlooked and by passed by in earlier biographies as Messiaen was fiercely guarded when it came to his private life. The other ‘special’ feature of this book is the publication of many photographs hitherto unseen but for the immediate family. Some of these early photographs at Petichet (Messiaen’s summer retreat near the Alps in south east France) are charged with a romantic enchantment showing father, mother and son like any other family's holiday snapshot such as the one with Messiaen simply sitting in a deck chair reading. Later in the book though it is interesting that Hill & Simeone chose to present photos of Claire and Yvonne on facing pages (pp. 110-111) where Claire’s image is one of forlorn almost vacant desperation and that of Yvonne young and radiant at the piano. One almost feels the stress and irrepressible emotions Messiaen was experiencing through the 40s and 50s a time of the most tortuous personal life but also a time that yielded a plethora of music starting with Visions de l’Amen through to the Catalogue d’Oiseaux. Apart from the archive photographs previously unseen I found Peter Hill’s own photographs most interesting for example the Messiaen family house at Nantes, the Grenoble shots and those of Fuligny. The diaries and papers highlight the initial thoughts and framework of many works and give a fascinating insight into how pieces such as Vingt Regards sur l'enfant Jésus, La Transfiguration de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ and Livre du Saint Sacrement evolved and grew to their definitive proportions. There were moments in the book that had me laughing out loud especially when Loriod and Messiaen were departing for London and the taxi that dropped them at the Gare de Nord drove off with their suitcase in the boot which had both of them shouting after the taxi to no avail. Then when Jeanne Loriod suffered an electric shock from her Ondes Martenot when rain got in it at a rather doomed attempt at Turangalila Symphonie in the open air. I know one shouldn’t laugh but I gather she was unharmed - just alarmed! I also shed a tear when reading the accounts of Messiaen’s declining health and the excruciating pain he must have been in when completing his final works. This really is a case of a man suffering for his art to bring joy to others. And one mustn’t forget the suffering of Yvonne Loriod. Not only the mental suffering caused by the ill health and eventual death of her husband but her own life threatening illness in 1963 resulting in two blood transfusions and hysterectomy with the couple having to face the fact that they would never have children. The book highlights the punishing concert schedules Loriod and Messiaen undertook, taking them all over the world performing the most demanding programmes which must surely have had an adverse affect on their health. Having said this, the couple did always look forward to their summer retreat at Petichet where Messiaen would do most of his composing and at the same time unwind and get back to nature. Apart from the diaries and private papers, Hill & Simeone have drawn on many other sources and accounts from latter day researchers for example Stephen Broad, Jacques Tchamkerten, Jean Boivan as well as personal communications from Loriod and close friends such as George Benjamin and Roger Muraro. Those of us who have experienced Peter Hill and Nigel Simeone in talks or lectures will know just how engaging and communicative they are and this is reflected in the tone and pace of the writing throughout – totally captivating. I spotted just a couple of minor misnomers. One was photograph 166 which states: Messiaen and Gary Kettel when in fact it is Messiaen and James Holland. The other is note 10 pp185 - the first recording of Visions de l’Amen was recorded by Contrepoint (Granti neuf E. Ploix-Musique Disquaires, 48 Rue St. Placide, Paris) on 78s then transferred to LP by Dial in New York a couple of years later. My one thought was that perhaps the book ends all too suddenly. The final tribute by Boulez is most definitely apt but I felt I wanted to know a little more of Messiaen after his death. For example the decision to elect Naji Hakim as successor to Messiaen at Trinite, the work of Loriod-Messiaen completing the Traité, archiving Messiaen’s music and papers and so on – or maybe I was so enthralled I just wanted to read on and on!! Yale have produced a book of the highest quality and Hill and Simeone have achieved a work whose contents many of us thought Olivier Messiaen had taken to that great rainbow in the sky. Bravo Peter and Nigel! © Malcolm Ball Olivier Messiaen: A Bibliographical Catalogue of Messiaen's Works. By Nigel Simeone. (Musikbibliographische Arbeiten, 14.) Tutzing: Hans Schneider, 1998. [xix, 249 p. ISBN 3-7952-0947-1. DM 142.] The first thing that strikes the reader about this book is the obvious amount of work that has gone into it: painstaking research in the Bibliothèque Nationale, for example, as well as in "publishers' archives or hire libraries . . . and other public and private collections in France and England" (p. v). Yet there is some confusion from the start. On the spine, the title is First Editions of Messiaen; on the front cover, it is Olivier Messiaen: Catalogue of Works; and on the title page, it is Olivier Messiaen: A Bibliographical Catalogue of Messiaen's Works: First Editions and First Performances. Clearly, the publisher could not put the whole of the latter on the spine; on the other hand, a catalog and a bibliography are two different things. Nigel Simeone tells us in the introduction that this is not a "systematic work catalogue" (p. v), but he does give two purposes for his book: first, "to provide detailed bibliographical information about the first . . . editions of Messiaen's published works," and second, to provide "information about the dates and places of composition, the scoring, and the first performances of Messiaen's works" (ibid.). He achieves both of these objectives admirably. There are further problems with the bibliography Simeone provides on pages 231- 32. A complete list of books and articles, even limited to literature in English and French (as here), would seem an excellent idea, yet here we find only two pages of references. The author does explain that he has included only materials consulted for the present volume, so it is understandable that a large number of works had to be omitted. Yet it is hard to imagine why, for example, the work of Robert Sherlaw Johnson, one of the first important writers on Messiaen in English (along with David Drew), does not appear. Toward the end of the book are two appendixes. The first is titled "'Un musicien, un artist . . . un mystique.' Reviews in Le Courrier musical and Le Ménestrel, 1930-39." The materials cited here are especially interesting since they reflect public and critical opinion of Messiaen's early works during his ascendancy to international acclaim. Appendix 2 is a list of printing records of Messiaen's works by the publishers Durand & Cie and Alphonse Leduc. The main catalog is arranged under the headings "Published Works" (pp. 1-184), "Unpublished Works" (pp. 185-96), and "Shorter Writings" (pp. 197-202). The first section includes longer texts such as Vingt leçons d'harmonie (1939), the two-volume Technique de mon langage musical (1942), and the vast Traité de rythme, de couleur et d'ornithologie (1949-92). The list progresses chronologically, from Le banquet céleste of 1928 to Concert a quatre, unfinished by Messiaen at the time of his death in 1992. The information Simeone provides in the entries includes title, date of composition, scoring, dedication or superscription, and first performance; for first editions, he gives the publisher, edition, collation, plate number(s), date, wrappers, format, engraver, and printer. Under "Shorter Writings," Simeone lists the three conference booklets (Brussels, Notre Dame, and Kyoto) and a large number of Messiaen's reviews. Apart from the few misgivings noted above, this is an excellent research tool that belongs in academic music libraries and on the bookshelf of anyone having a keen interest in one of the twentieth century's greatest composers. David Morris University of Ulster Copyright © 2000 by the Music Library Association, Inc. All rights reserved. PHNSBook BkOisEx Book Revs For the End of Time. The Story of the Messiaen Quartet By Rebecca Rischin Published by Cornell University Press Ithaca and London Never before has there been such high profile attention focused on Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time , what with Bryan Davidson’s innovative new play War Music and Rebecca Rischin’s illuminating account of the events surrounding the creation, premiere and the quartet’s life after the premiere. Up until a few years ago it was Messiaen’s own accounts and testimonies surrounding the work that entered the history books. Rischin however exposes many myths and flaws in Messiaen’s recollections and, perhaps more importantly, the reasons for these ‘exaggerations’ of the facts (not least the 3 string cello myth!). Rischin presents with great fluidity and clarity a time line of facts backed up by original war records and data that has come to light since Messiaen’s death. For example the order in which the movements of the Quartet for the End of Time appeared and the location in which they were composed shed new light on a piece that is one of the 20th century’s great musical legends. It is well known that in the POW camp Stalag VIIIA in Gorlitz, Messiaen befriended a German officer who was sympathetic to his needs and supplied Messiaen with writing materials etc. necessary for composing the Quartet for the End of Time. Indeed it was the same officer who played such an important part in the lives of all 4 members of the quartet as again Rischin reveals. Curiously it was only a year before Messiaen died that he actually revealed the name of this officer. How the Quartet for the End of Time was performed at all in the surroundings of a Nazi POW camp is made even more remarkable by the fact that Henri Akoka, the clarinettist for whom the work was written, was Jewish. ​ Rebecca Rischin has created a work of great substance by securing interviews with all family members of each of the quartet’s performers – the Pasquiers (those of the famous Trio Pasquier) – the Akoka family – and even the elusive La Boulaire who after the war became an actor and assumed a new identity, and of course Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen and her archive materials left by Messiaen himself. Rischin explores in great detail each player’s personality, philosophical and political ideologies and how it affected their relationships throughout the time of their captivity. She draws on the not inconsiderable archive of Hannalore Laurewald which contain photos, documents and plans of Stalag VIIIA (many of which are reproduced in the book) and to my knowledge never before published. She also manages to track down prisoners who were in the audience at the time of the premiere of Quartet for the End of Time, some of whom recall the event with great passion and tearful recollection. ​ All the members of the quartet that premiered Quartet for the End of Time have now passed on so, as in Holocaust testimonies, it is left to their families, friends etc and to the foresight of organisations like the Shoah foundation in the case of the Holocaust and books such as this by Rebecca Rischin to illustrate the accurate background behind events that indeed have shaped 20th century history. Back to top BkRebRis

  • Biography | Olivier Messiaen

    BioTop OLIVIER-EUGENE-PROSPER-CHARLES MESSIAEN (b. Dec. 10, 1908, Avignon, France.d. April 27, 1992, Clichy, near Paris), Olivier Messiaen was the son of Pierre Messiaen, a scholar of English literature, and of the poet Cecile Sauvage . Soon after his birth the family moved to Ambert (the birthplace of Chabrier) where his brother, Alain was born in 1913. Around the time of the outbreak of World War 1, Cecile Sauvage took her two sons to live with her brother in Grenoble where Olivier Messiaen spent his early childhood, began composing at the age of seven, and taught himself to play the piano. On his return from the war, Pierre Messiaen took the family to Nantes and in 1919 they all moved to Paris where Olivier entered the Conservatoire. From very early on it was clear that Messiaen would be a composer who would stand alone in the history of music. Coming not from any particular 'school' or style but forming and creating his own totally individual musical voice. He achieved this by creating his own 'modes of limited transposition', taking rhythmic ideas from India (deci tala), ancient Greece and the orient and most importantly adapting the songs of birds from around the world. He was a man of many interests including painting, literature, and the orient where he took in not only the musical culture but theatre, literature and even the cuisine of foreign countries! ​ The single most important driving force in his musical creations was his devout Catholic faith. My first encounter with the music of Olivier Messiaen was as an impressionable fourteen year old who had just discovered Bach through Jacques Loussier and was listening somewhat idly to a BBC Radio 3 organ recital which concluded with this amazing sound world that was completely new to me and at the same time overwhelming. The piece I was experiencing was Dieu Parmi Nous (God Among Us) from La Nativité du Seigneur. Pierre Messiaen, Cecile Sauvage and Olivier Messiaen MESSIAEN AND SYNAESTHESIA This is what Messiaen had to say regarding his relationship with colours and synaesthesia " When I was 20 years old I met a Swiss painter who became a good friend by the name of Charles Blanc-Gatti , he was synaethesiac which is a disturbance of the optic and auditory nerves so when one hears sounds one also sees corresponding colours in the eye. I unfortunately didn't have this. But intellectually like synaethesiacs I too see colours- if only in my mind - colours corresponding to sound. I try to incorporate this in my work, to pass on to the listener. It's all very mobile. You've got to feel sound moving. Sounds are high, low, fast, slow etc. My colours do the same thing, they move in the same way. Like rainbows shifting from one hue to the next. It's very fleeting and impossible to fix in any absolute way. It's true I see colours, it's true they're there. They're musician’s colours, not to be confused with painter's colours. They're colours that go with music. If you tried to reproduce these colours on canvas it may produce something horrible. They're not made for that, they're musicians colours. What I'm saying is strange but it's true. I believe in natural resonance, as I believe in all natural phenomena. Natural resonance is in exact agreement with the phenomena of complimentary colours. I have a red carpet that I often look at. Where this carpet meets the lighter coloured parquet next to it, I intermittently see marvelous greens that a painter couldn't mix - natural colours created in the eye" Messiaen's particular condition was chromesthesia, a type of synesthesia in which sound involuntarily evokes an experience of colour, shape and movement. He entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of eleven and stayed until his early twenties learning his 'craft' from eminent teachers including Georges Falkenberg, piano, Jean Gallon, harmony, Noël Gallon counterpoint and fugue, professor Baggers, timpani & percussion, Paul Dukas composition & orchestration, Maurice Emmanuel history of music and Marcel Dupré organ and improvisation, of which Messiaen excelled, becoming organist of La Sainte Trinité in Paris when he was 22 and remained there until his death. It's sometimes easy to forget that Messiaens' contribution to the organ repertoire is probably the greatest since Bach. The term 'craft' is purposeful here as Messiaen developed into a true craftsman in every respect with immensely detailed scores including string bowing, woodwind articulations, fingerings for keyboards and even sticking for percussion. Since the age of eighteen Messiaen had been collecting the songs of thousands of birds throughout France and the world. Early works showed an inkling of birdsong influence but after the war in the late 40s and 50s he began notating their songs in great detail and this became a vital musical source for him. An important event in 1952 was his meeting with ornithologist and author Jacques Delamain of which Messiaen declared: 'It was Delamain who taught me to recognise a bird from its song, without having to see its plumage or the shape of its beak.' Messiaen would begin by selecting a bird, say a warbler where he would notate hundreds of different warblers and then creates a composite of the best elements of all the warblers notated thus ending up with an 'ideal' warbler. The song is usually combined with the birds habitat, surroundings and time of day. 'It's the process of transformation' that Messiaen enjoys and relates this to the paintings of Monet who is not interested in putting say a water lily directly on the water of a picture but representing one variation of the light on the water lilies. His researches were so intense that he became an authoritative ornithologist able to recognize almost any bird that he heard. Several works have been devoted entirely to birdsong namely Catalogue d'Oiseaux, Réveil des oiseaux, Oiseaux Exotique, Le merle noir, Petites esquisses d'oiseaux and almost all other works include substantial references to the songs of birds. At the age of 19 the young Messiaen witnessed the death from consumption of his beloved mother. He moved to his paternal aunts in the countryside of the Aube region of France where, in Yvonne Loriod's words, 'the aunts took their nephew in to revive his taste for life and restore his health with good country air whilst he continued to compose'. Messiaen married his first wife Claire Delbos in June 1932. The daughter of a Sorbonne professor, she was a member of La Spirale, a prominent new music society, an accomplished violinist and composer (works include Primevere 5 Songs for soprano and piano, Deux Pièces for Organ 1935, Parce, Domine {Pardonnez,Seigneur, à votre peuple... } pour le temps du Carême for organ and Marie, toute-puissance suppliante for 4 Ondes Martenots) she sadly became physically and mentally ill and entered a psychiatric hospital (where she eventually died in 1959) leaving Messiaen a single parent bringing up their only son Pascal (born in 1937 a teacher of Russian, died 31st January 2020) throughout the late 30s and 40s. Messiaen and Claire Delbos gave many recitals in and around Paris during the early 1930s featuring the Romantic repetoire for violin and piano and in 1932 he composed Theme and Variations for her and they premiered the piece at a concert held by the Société Nationale. A second work for violin and piano recently came to light entitled Fantaisie composed in 1933. His song cycle Poemes pour Mi is also dedicated to Claire Delbos, Mi being a 'pet' name for her. Both music and words were written by Messiaen and celebrates the joy and sanctity of marriage. Messiaen was to continue to write the texts for most of his choral and vocal works including the Trois Petite liturgies de la Presence Divine which caused some negative if not hostile reactions from many critics at the first performance. He believes that this reaction was due to the fact that the work is full of passion but with a deep religious foundation and this took the critics by surprise and much of the criticisms were not directed at the music. In 1936, with the composers Andre Jolivet, Daniel Lesur, and Yves Baudrier, he founded the group La Jeune France ("Young France") to promote new French music. From 1934 to 1939 he taught piano sight reading at the École Normale de Musique and an organ improvisation course at the Schola Cantorum. Undoubtedly it has been Messiaens' devout Christian faith and Catholicism that has driven his compositional output through the years and there was no greater test of his faith than in June 1940 when he was captured by the Nazis and interned in prisoner of war camp Stalag 8A, Gorlitz , Poland. He recalls that at the time he and everybody in the camp were freezing, starving and miserable. The starvation was such that it heightened his 'coloured' dreams and this coupled with the experience of seeing the 'aurora borealis', coloured waves of clouds, led him to compose what is probably his most performed work: Quatour pour la Fin du Temps (Quartet for the end of Time). He befriended a German officer Carl-Albert Brüll who smuggled him manuscript paper, pencil and eraser which enabled him to retreat to the priests block after morning duties and compose. The instrumentation was governed by the musician friends that were with Messiaen in the camp. These were; violinist Jean Le Boulaire , cellist Etienne Pasquier , clarinetist Henri Akoka and with himself on a rather dilapidated piano premiered the work on January 15th 1941 in front of fellow prisoners who although maybe never understood the new harmonies etc. it took them away from the routine mundane life in the camp. He says that his music 'is not "nice" - it is certain. I am convinced that joy exists, convinced that the invisible exists more than the visible, joy is beyond sorrow, beauty is beyond horror'. Golden Oriole (Loriot) © Malcolm Raines and Chris Knights He returned from captivity in March 1941 and became a teacher and lecturer at the Paris Conservatoire giving his first class on 7th May the same year. He held classes in analysis, theory, aesthetics and rhythm but it wasn't until 1966 that he was officially appointed Professor of Composition (although he had in effect been teaching composition for years). Many famous 'names' passed through these classes including Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis, Alexander Goehr and later George Benjamin who Messiaen had a particular fondness and admiration of. Perhaps the one thing that rubbed off on all these composers is Messiaens' avoidance of regular metre citing it as artificial relating to marches and more popular music. Messiaen supports his argument by pointing out that in nature things are not even or regular. For example the branches of a tree and the waves of the sea are not even patterns. However, what is true is 'natural resonance', and this true phenomenon is what his music is based on. This period produced a great outpouring of music including the Trois Petite liturgies de la Presence Divine , the song cycle Harawi, Chant des deportes for choir and orchestra, Turangalila Symphonie , the mammoth piano cycles Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant Jesus and Visions de l'Amen for two pianos. These last two works and many more to follow were dedicated to Yvonne Loriod a young and highly gifted pupil who turned up in Messiaens' first class held at the Conservatoire in 1941. She says of that first encounter that 'all the students waited eagerly for this new teacher to arrive and finally he appeared with music case and badly swollen fingers, a result of his stay in the prisoner of war camp. He proceeded to the piano and produced the full score of Debussys' Prelude á l'apres-Midi d'un Faune and began to play all the parts. The whole class was captivated and stunned and everyone immediately fell in love with him'. Messiaen never imparted his own compositional techniques in his classes but rather steered students along their own paths. Messiaen has not always been in the favour of the musical establishment not least by the BBC who broadcast next to nothing on the then Third programme (later Radio 3) right up until the sixties by which time the composer was in his 60s. It was Felix Aprahamian who brought Messiaen to London in the late 30s to play La Nativite and has been a champion and formidable writer on Messiaen ever since. In the forties and fifties Messiaen was shunned on the one hand by the new 'avant-garde' as too sweet and sentimental and on the other hand by the more conventional musical public as too austere and discordant. Boulez in particular could not come to terms with and reacted against works like Turangalila with it's rich mix of tonal and atonal language saying that he prefers the ones that remain true to one style or the other. However, one gem of a composition was to turn 20th century music on its head. This was 'Mode de valeurs et d'intensites' part of four studies in rhythm for piano. It took Schoenberg's theory of serializing pitches a whole leap forward whereby Messiaen effectively serialized all musical parameters i.e. pitches, durations, dynamics and articulations. Thus each note has a character and identity all of its own which is maintained throughout the piece. For example, middle C will always appear as a dotted minim value, forte dynamic and have a tenuto articulation mark. Although this paved the way for the young generation of composers such as Stockhausen, Boulez, Nono etc. to explore previously uncharted territory, Messiaen himself never pursued the idea beyond that study but continued to turn to nature and his faith as the inspiration and starting points for his music continuing to use his own modes, complex rhythmic ideas and the songs of birds. Having said that, there are occasions when for instance he wanted to describe the horror and blackness of the night in the opening of " The Tawny Owl' from Catalogue d'Oiseaux where he uses a 'Mode de valeurs et d'intensites ' in a poetical sense to portray this. Indeed it must be said that Messiaen did more to advance rhythmic forms and ideas than any other composer of the 20th century. Christiane Eda-Pierre in the role of the Angel: Saint Francois d'Assise Photo: Jacques Moetti In 1975 Messiaen embarked on his most ambitious project of his life, the opera Saint Francois d'Assise , a work that would occupy him for the following eight years. Saint Francois represents his life work combining all his compositional techniques gathered over fifty or so years. Scored for 22 woodwinds. 16 brass, 68 strings, 3 ondes Martenot and 5 keyboard percussions playing xylophone, xylorimba, marimba, glockenspiel & vibraphone. There are 6 percussionists playing tubular bells, claves, wind machine, snare drum, triangles,temple blocks, wood blocks, cymbals of various kinds, whip, maracas, reco-reco, glass chimes, shell chimes, wood chimes, tambourine, tôle (thunder sheet), gongs, tam tam, crotales tom toms and geophone (sand machine) together with 7 main solo characters and a choir of 150 it is certainly the largest forces Messiaen considered.Among the best essays on this work are Paul Griffiths' account in The Messiaen Companion and Messiaens' own comments in an interview with him. Soon after Messiaen's death I happened to be visiting Paris and felt the need to pay my respects at La Sainte Trinité, the church where Messiaen conceived so many of his great organ works. I was lucky enough to meet Father Yves de Boisrehen who for many years read the lessons etc. and said how he would be amazed when his words would suddenly 'come to life' for the congregation through the improvisations of Messiaen responding at the organ. Some would say 'an impossible act to follow' but in 1993 Naji Hakim entered that revered organ loft at la Trinité as successor to Messiaen. An accomplished composer and improviser, Naji Hakim was the one person Messiaen felt comfortable in the knowledge that the great French tradition of organist - composer and improviser would continue at la Trinité. Naji Hakim's reign came to an end in 2008 the centenary of Messiaen's birth. Thanks to today's mass audio market you won't have to scratch around as I did, finding recordings of the greatest French composer since Debussy. Fragments of Messiaen's music have found their way into several feature films including: Ken Russell's Dante's Inferno (Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum), Oren Moverman's The Dinner (Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps) and Alejandro G. Iñárritu's The Revenant (Oraison-L'eau from Fêtes des Belles Eaux). Messiaen received many honours and prizes globally including: 1959 Nomination as an Officier of the Légion d'honneur 1967 Member of the Institut de France 1969 Calouste Gulbenkian Prize 1971 Erasmus Award 1975 Ernest von Siemens Award 1975 Associate Member of the Royal Academy of Science, Literature and Art of Belgium 1975 Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society 1978 The White Cliffs in Utah were renamed Mount Messiaen 1980 Presentation of the Croix de Commander of the Belgian Order of the Crown 1983 Wolf Foundation of the Arts Prize (Jerusalem) 1985 Inamori Foundation Prize (Kyoto) 1987 He was promoted to the highest rank, Grand-Croix, of the Légion d'honneur 1989 Primio Internazionale Paolo VI 1988 Back to top

  • Mount Messiaen | Olivier Messiaen

    Mount Messiaen Mount Messiaen – Facts and reminiscences. © Malcolm Ball This short account sets out some basic facts surrounding the naming and dedication of Mount Messiaen and my own reminiscences after a visit to the site in June 2022. There is a brilliant and comprehensive in-depth article on the subject entitled b by Robert Fallon and reproduced in the publication ‘Messiaen Perspectives 2: Techniques, Influence and Reception’ see bibliography The idea of naming a mountain after Messiaen was the brainchild of Julie Whitaker, a dancer and English teacher who lived in Paris for two years where she first made contact with Messiaen’s music. In the mid 1970’s when Julie heard of Messiaen’s ‘canyon symphony’, and his description of Southern Utah as ‘the most mystical landscape he had ever encountered’, she asked the composer if he would agree to the naming of something in his honour. Messiaen responded with delight saying that ‘anything in his name would be a great honour, even a side street or a nature path for bird watchers’. After finding a site approximately eight miles from the town of Parowan, Julie set about the task of naming the site and also organising performances of some of Messiaen’s works at the location. It took three years of organising and political wrangling before the naming was finalised but in 1978 a plaque was eventually cast by Julie’s brother Lyman, a sculptor of kinetic art, and the site was officially named. © Malcolm Ball The bronze plaque cast by Julie's brother Lyman © Malcolm Ball When I first heard about Robert Fallon’s visit to Mount Messiaen in 2008 and seeing his wonderful photo gallery (here ), I immediately added it to my bucket list of Messiaen related places to visit. This list was shrinking and places were ticked off with some sense of regularity as most of the Messiaen ‘sites’ and certainly dwellings were in France and relatively easy for me to arrange visits (pre Brexit). However, the Mount is situated 4,933 miles from where I live and a trip would require much preparation and funds. The opportunity eventually arose when I was lucky enough to attend a performance of Des Canyons aux Étoiles… given by the Utah Symphony in O.C. Tanner amphitheatre, Zion in June this year. (see review). I had given myself time to visit all the areas that so influenced Messiaen when writing the work (Cedar Breaks, Bryce Canyon and Zion Park) but I also put time aside to visit the Mount. On the appointed day, I set off in my hire car to Parowan and followed Robert Fallon’s detailed directions. The road out of Parowan is narrow and winding but luckily not busy in terms of traffic as this is rural Utah so my speed was necessarily slow, and sure enough, after eight or so miles I caught site of those (to some) famous peaks on my left. I immediately pulled off the road and parked up. I was not on the logging trail that Robert explained in his directions but on the opposite side of the road. It was a sunny day but at an elevation of some 9,000 feet, not too hot. I began taking some shots of the peaks from where I had parked which had good uninterrupted views and virtually no traffic to concern me. It was very peaceful. After a few minutes a small white car approached and stopped on the other side of the road at the entrance to the track leading up to the Mount. A slight air of disappointment ran through me as I was hoping for an uninterrupted visit at this special and revered site. A couple got out of the car and the lady walked determinedly up the track and disappeared around the bend. At this point I felt duty bound to cross the road and introduce myself to the gentleman who by this time had extracted a large pair of long handled secateurs from the back of the car. I approached with some trepidation as the secateurs wielding gentleman walked slightly towards me, but he greeted me with a welcoming smile and asked, “was I hear for the Mount Messiaen?” I said indeed I was and explained my connection with Messiaen and the website after which he said “Ah! That’s my wife walking up there – Julie Whitaker, you must come and meet her”. I paused for a few seconds and thought - Hang on a minute, I’ve travelled nearly 5,000 miles, chosen a random time and day to visit this site and at almost the exact same time so did the person who initiated the site back in 1978. This was the most incredibly fortuitous encounter I could imagine. © Malcolm Ball © Malcolm Ball Julie and her husband Michael Burke were there to tidy up and clear the bronze plaque of obtrusive weeds etc. They, like me were also there to attend the concert in Zion two days later. Julie and I chatted rather excitedly while Michael attacked the weeds and she was so generous with her information and reminiscences of her time spent organising the naming of the site as well as the performances that took place at the final ceremony. Her vision was to dedicate the mountain followed by a ‘Messiaen Festival’ in September 1976 which would include a screening of Denise Tual’s film Olivier Messiaen et les Oiseaux, lectures by Messiaen at the University of Utah and a performance of Des Canyons aux Étoiles… Julie corresponded with Messiaen who was very keen and accepted the initial invitation but as time passed, dates began to conflict on both sides and after many months of negotiations, Julie wrote to Messiaen to inform him that the festival was cancelled due to lack of funding and lack of cooperation from certain parties. The dedication ceremony did take place at 6.00pm on 5th August 1978 and was televised by the local TV channel. They unveiled the bronze plaque, and held a ribbon-cutting ceremony. At 8.00pm the ceremony continued with readings, a prayer, a speech by Julie about Messiaen and a performance of Chants de terre et de ciel by Naomi and Lowell Farr, musicians on the faculty of the University of Utah. The trailhead leading up to the pinnacles. © Malcolm Ball View opposite from the Mount © Malcolm Ball After some time at the Mount (and a nice tidy plaque thanks to Michael and his secateurs) the couple made their departure and we all looked forward to meeting up again at the concert. I spent more time alone at the site taking photos and walking around the base of the Mount reflecting on such an amazing coincidental meeting and also what Messiaen would have felt had he seen these understated peaks in person. When asked how he felt about having his own mountain in Utah he replied: “Ah, it’s just incredible and very touching. When I told my agent about it, he was amazed. When I told my publisher M Leduc in Paris about it, he was astounded too. He couldn’t imagine that there would be a mountain anywhere with my name; at first he laughed, but then he almost cried. And we plan to go back there soon. It’s a great excuse to see Utah again, and, in any case, it seems to me that I now have the obligation to present myself before those three cliffs. They’re there waiting for me”. Sadly he never got to see the Mount in situ due to commitments and ill health. ​ As planned, Julie and I met up after the concert in Zion together with Michael, Julie’s brother Lyman and other family members. It was an enormous privilege to have met such an inspired and driven person who back in the 1970’s dedicated so much energy in honouring a composer who was inspired by her childhood homeland. My photos provide an interesting comparison to those taken by Robert Fallon in 2008. Three years ago, that part of Parowan canyon suffered a serious dry mountain fire that decimated the trees in front of the Mount hence the different pictorial dynamic between our images. Malcolm Ball. Sources: Placing Mount Messiaen by Robert Fallon and reproduced in the publication ‘Messiaen Perspectives 2: Techniques, Influence and Reception ’ Canyons, Colours and Birds : An Interview with Oliver(sic) Messiaen by Harriett Watts. Tempo magazine 128. Julie Whitaker © Malcolm Ball Julie Whitaker and Michael Burke © Malcolm Ball My grateful and heartfelt thanks go to Julie and Michael for their time and for sharing their memories of this most amazing achievement to mark Olivier Messiaen's time in Utah that resulted in one of his finest works: Des Canyons aux Étoiles... © Malcolm Ball

  • Yvonne Loriod | Olivier Messiaen

    YLTop © Copyright protected YVONNE LORIOD-MESSIAEN (1924 ~ 2010) 1. 2. 3. Yvonne Loriod was born 20 January 1924 in Houilles (Seine et Oise) [Parents Simone and Gaston Loriod and two sisters, Jacqueline and Jeanne Loriod] and died in Saint-Denis, near Paris, on May 17, 2010. She began studying the piano at the age of six with her godmother Madame Eminger-Sivade and by the age of fourteen her repertoire included all the Mozart concertos, all the Beethoven sonatas, the Bach '48' as well as the standard classical and romantic works. When she entered the Paris Conservatoire she also studied harmony, fugue, orchestration and composition enabling her in later life to proof read Messiaens' scores and compile the vocal score for Saint Francois d'Assise . Her teachers were Isidor Philipp, Lazare Levy, Marcel Ciampi, Simone Caussade, Joseph Calvet, C. Estyle as well as Messiaen and Milhaud. During her time at the conservatoire she had won seven premier prix. Although Loriod wrote several works including Grains de cendre* (1946) for Ondes Martenot or flute, piano and voice, Cascatelle dans les roseaux for percussion, Ondes Martenot, 2 violins, 2 balafons (African xylophone), wine glasses and guitar, Pièce sur la souffrance, pour orchestre , probably the only one to be performed in public was Trois Mélopées africaines for flute, ondes Martenot, piano and drum. This was performed with Ginette Martenot, Jan Merry, flute, and percussionist Jacques Boucher on 24th March 1945 at the Société Nationale. * See article by Peter Asimov here. From Yvonne Loriod's student exercise or work book. A page from the score of 'Cascatelle dans les roseaux ' for percussion, Ondes Martenot, 2 violins, 2 balafons (African xylophone), wine glasses and guitar. 4. A rare recording of Loriod performing La naissance du geste pour piano et orchestre (The birth of gesture) by Alain Bancquart. Bancquart did much to champion and promote contemporary music. In 1967 he began to study micro-intervals, working to integrate them in musical syntax, at times going so far as greatly to modify the scordatura of certain instruments. In the same spirit he created, with Tolia Nikiprowetsky, a workshop for instrumental music. This workshop, though short-lived (from 1969 to 1970), had as its aim the study of the problems of contemporary instrument making together with the relationships of instruments with contact microphones. He was also the instigator of the creation of the Cdmc (Centre de Documentation de la Musique Contemporaine), and of MFA, Musique Française d’Aujourd’hui, a support body for phonographic recordings. Yvonne Loriod – Orchestre de chambre de la RTF, direction Serge Baudo. France, Paris, Maison de la RTF – 1962 – ORTF, Paris. La naissance du geste pour piano et orchestre Yvonne Loriod 00:00 / 14:41 Submitted by Nicholas Armfelt Submitted by Nicholas Armfelt Friday 28 June 1957 is unlikely to feature prominently in history books. It is not going to go down in infamy, either politically or musically. Britain was nearing the end of a heat-wave, which may explain in part the pitifully small audience of two to three dozen that attended a concert in St Michael-le-Belfrey, a small church that nestles in the shadow of York Minster. There was just one piece on the programme, Messiaen’s Vingt Regards, and the pianist, as in all of the early performances, was Yvonne Loriod. As Colin Mason noted in the Manchester Guardian, Hans Hess, the director of the York Festival, ‘needed not merely courage but a very cool nerve indeed to put this before a festival audience’.1 While the meagre audience may not have done much for festival finances, the concert still reaped a significant dividend for it marked a key moment in the reception of Messiaen’s music in Britain. Until this point, reaction in the mainstream press tended to be hostile or, at best, a grudging acknowledgement of Messiaen’s technical skills strongly tempered by overt distaste for the results. A significant portion of the small audience at the York performance of Vingt Regards numbered critics, one or two doubtless begrudging missing the evening sunshine in order to fulfil their duties. And yet, this little known event was the first in Britain where Messiaen’s music received broadly positive, even enthusiastic coverage. (Abstract from 'Yvonne Loriod as Source and Influence' Christopher Dingle - Messiaen Perspectives 1 ) She performed 22 of Mozart's concertos in a single week with the Lamoureux Orchestra, conducted by Pierre Boulez, Bruno Maderna, and Louis Martin and first performed with Messiaen in 1943 for the premiere of his Vision de l'amen. She and Boulez premiered Boulez's Structures, Book 2, in 1961 at Donaueschingen and she taught both at the Paris Conservatoire (1967-89 where she was the youngest professor) and at Darmstadt. Her American debut was the world-premiere performance of Messiaen's Turangalila Symphonie with Leonard Bernstein and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1949. Her phenomenal memory enabled her to learn Bartok's Second Piano Concerto in eight days ready for the first performance at Théatre des Champs-Élyées in Paris on 15th November 1945 with Orchestre National conducted by Manuel Rosenthal. 5. 6. 7. Yvonne Loriod was one of the pupils in Messiaen's first class that he held at the Paris Conservatoire after repatriation on the 7th May 1941. She says of that first encounter that 'all the students waited eagerly for this new teacher to arrive and finally he appeared with music case and badly swollen fingers, a result of his stay in the prisoner of war camp. He proceeded to the piano and produced the full score of Debussys' Prelude á l'apres-Midi d'un Faune and began to play all the parts. The whole class was captivated and stunned and everyone immediately fell in love with him'. Messiaen quickly saw in Yvonne Loriod somebody whose dazzling technique and phenomenal memory could interpret his music as he saw it and anything he wrote was possible to play through her. Messiaen once described her as 'unique, sublime and a brilliant pianist, whose existence transformed not only the composer's way of writing for the piano, but his style, vision of the world and modes of thought' (Goléa 1960). Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant Jesus, Visions de l'Amen, Catalogue d'Oiseaux, La Fauvette des Jardins, Petites esquisses d'oiseaux and most of the piano parts in his orchestral works are all dedicated to her. Their working and personal relationship developed over the years and on the 1st July 1961 Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod were married. She has edited Messiaen's massive Traité de rythme, de couleur et d'ornithologie and continued to perform through the 1990s adjudicating at competitions, including the triennial Concours Olivier Messiaen, Bayreuth, Paris, Munich, Leeds, Aspen and various Messiaen festivals and was Chair for Piano Masterclasses at the Badische Musikhochschule in Karlsruhe. Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen passed away on17th of May 2010, at 17h 30 (5h 30 PM), in Saint Denis, near Paris. She died in peace, in the presence of her sister Jacqueline and the catholic priest in charge of the community in Saint Denis. Her recordings achieved 12 Grand Prix du Disque awards. Click here to view a letter written by Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen to music writer (and synaesthes) Louis Latourre three weeks after Messiaen's death. A copy of this letter has been added to other Messiaen documents held at the church La Trinité Paris. 8. Yvonne Loriod (non Messiaen) Recordings Archive As well as the recordings listed here, Yvonne Loriod made many other recordings by composers other than Messiaen. Many I'm sure lay in various radio station archives around the world. Long since deleted items include: Bach - Prelude and Fugue in C sharp minor and Prelude in C sharp major. Pathé 78 PDT 110 Bach - Chaconne arr. Busoni. Pathé 78 PDT 149/150 Chopin - Barcarolle in F sharp Op.60. Pathé 78 PDT 152 Messiaen -Vingt Regards excerpts. Pathé 78 PDT 170/113 Messiaen - Preludes 5.1 & 3 Pathé PDT 132 The British Library Sound Archive also hold a copy of Debussy - En Blanc et Noir performed with Pierre Boulez recorded by the BBC in 1965. YLRecs Back to top Homélie Hear and see one of her last interviews covering her lifetime in music: 'Musique Mémoires' with Bruno Serrou, INA France. Homélie du père Jean-Rodolphe Kars pour la messe de funérailles d’Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen Eglise de la Sainte Trinité, Paris 25 mai 2010 Olivier Messiaen et Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen (années 80) Du livre de l’Apocalypse de Saint Jean. [Apocalypse 21] Puis je vis un ciel nouveau, une terre nouvelle - car le premier ciel et la première terre ont disparu, et de mer, il n'y en a plus. Et je vis la Cité sainte, Jérusalem nouvelle, qui descendait du ciel, de chez Dieu ; elle s'est faite belle, comme une jeune mariée parée pour son époux. J'entendis alors une voix clamer, du trône : "Voici la demeure de Dieu avec les hommes. Il aura sa demeure avec eux ; ils seront son peuple, et lui, Dieu-avec-eux, sera leur Dieu. Il essuiera toute larme de leurs yeux : de mort, il n'y en aura plus ; de pleur, de cri et de peine, il n'y en aura plus, car l'ancien monde s'en est allé." Alors, Celui qui siège sur le trône déclara : "Voici, je fais l'univers nouveau." Evangile selon Saint Jean. [Jean 6] Après avoir multiplié les pains, Jésus disait à la foule : "Je suis le pain de vie. Vos pères, dans le désert, ont mangé la manne et sont morts ; ce pain est celui qui descend du ciel pour qu'on le mange et ne meure pas. Je suis le pain vivant, descendu du ciel. Qui mangera ce pain vivra à jamais. Et même, le pain que je donnerai, c'est ma chair pour la vie du monde." …"En vérité, en vérité, je vous le dis, si vous ne mangez la chair du Fils de l'homme et ne buvez son sang, vous n'aurez pas la vie en vous. Qui mange ma chair et boit mon sang a la vie éternelle et je le ressusciterai au dernier jour. Car ma chair est vraiment une nourriture et mon sang vraiment une boisson. Qui mange ma chair et boit mon sang demeure en moi et moi en lui. De même que le Père, qui est vivant, m'a envoyé et que je vis par le Père, de même celui qui me mange, lui aussi vivra par moi. Voici le pain descendu du ciel ; il n'est pas comme celui qu'ont mangé les pères et ils sont morts ; qui mange ce pain vivra à jamais." Homélie (with English translation) - Le 14 mai 1992, en cette église de la Sainte Trinité, la messe solennelle de Requiem pour Olivier Messiaen était célébrée. Bien entendu, Yvonne était présente, très émue et profondément recueillie. Elle était là, avec ses deux sœurs, Jacqueline à nouveau présente aujourd’hui, et Jeanne Loriod, rappelée depuis, à Dieu, en 2001. Le célébrant de cette inoubliable célébration d’il y a dix-huit ans, lui aussi, nous a quittés en 2007. C’était le regretté Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, Archevêque de Paris. Et déjà, en 1992, Olivier Latry, titulaire des Orgues de Notre Dame de Paris, tenait l’orgue de la Trinité en cette occasion ; et le Chœur grégorien de Paris sous la direction de Louis-Marie Vigne, comme aujourd’hui, animait la liturgie. Dix-huit ans plus tard, nous voici réunis à nouveau pour accompagner Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen de notre prière et de notre affection profonde, dans sa Pâques, dans le grand passage de cette vie à la Vie nouvelle et éternelle. Le fait que tant d’éléments (que je viens de mentionner) soient communs entre la célébration d’il y a dix-huit ans et celle d’aujourd’hui, souligne d’emblée la relation absolument indissoluble entre les deux destinées : celle d’Olivier Messiaen et celle d’Yvonne Loriod. L’illustre et prodigieuse musicienne pianiste a maintenant rejoint son époux. D’ailleurs, si vous me permettez une note de naïveté, je dirais que la photo que vous avez sous les yeux est attendrissante et éloquente : les deux sont maintenant embarqués pour un long voyage dans l’immensité de l’Eternité, à la rencontre du Christ Jésus, qui était au cœur de leur vie, au cœur de leur amour mutuel, au cœur de leur créativité. On May 14, 1992, in this Church of the Holy Trinity, the solemn Requiem Mass for Olivier Messiaen was celebrated. Of course, Yvonne was present, very moved and deeply collected. She was there, with her two sisters, Jacqueline again present today, and Jeanne Loriod, since called to God in 2001. The celebrant of this unforgettable celebration of eighteen years ago, we too left in 2007. He was the late Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, Archbishop of Paris. And already, in 1992, Olivier Latry, holder of the Orgues de Notre Dame de Paris, held the organ of the Trinity on this occasion; and the Gregorian Choir of Paris under the direction of Louis-Marie Vigne, as today, animated the liturgy. Eighteen years later, we are reunited again to accompany Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen with our prayer and our deep affection, in her Easter, in the great transition from this life to new and eternal Life. The fact that so many elements (which I have just mentioned) are common between the celebration of eighteen years ago and that of today, immediately underlines the absolutely indissoluble relationship between the two destinies: that of by Olivier Messiaen and that of Yvonne Loriod. The illustrious and prodigious pianist musician has now joined her husband. Moreover, if you allow me a note of naivety, I would say that the photo you have in front of you is touching and eloquent: the two are now embarked on a long journey in the immensity of Eternity, to meet of Christ Jesus, who was at the heart of their life, at the heart of their mutual love, at the heart of their creativity. Il est impossible, dans le cadre de cette célébration, de rendre compte de l’extrême richesse de la vie d’Yvonne. Grâce à son génie, à ses phénoménales capacités, elle a écrit tout un chapitre fascinant de l’Histoire de la musique contemporaine. Richesse manifeste par ses talents et ses prestations, bien sûr, mais aussi richesses intérieures, nécessairement plus connues de ses proches. Une extraordinaire générosité, et même une grande audace dans cette générosité, caractérisait sa relation avec ses amis, avec ses disciples qu’elle arrivait souvent à galvaniser. Son ouverture, son grand sens, très spontané, de l’hospitalité restera dans les mémoires. Et surtout la « cohabitation » en elle entre une inspiration parfois extrêmement élevée (pas seulement en musique, mais aussi en poésie, et même en intuitions théologiques et mystiques)… et un sens extraordinairement concret de l’organisation, et même des travaux domestiques les plus humbles. Au cours de cette célébration, aujourd’hui, il vous revient, chers amis, anciens collègues, anciens élèves d’Yvonne, anciens compagnons fidèles et témoins avec elle de grands événements culturels… et vous aussi les plus proches, les plus intimes,… il vous revient d’explorer dans votre mémoire, dans votre cœur, les inépuisables « archives intérieures » liées à la destinée d’Yvonne, ce qu’elle a été pour vous. It is impossible, in the context of this celebration, to account for the extreme richness of Yvonne’s life. Thanks to her genius, to her phenomenal abilities, she has written a whole fascinating chapter in the history of contemporary music. Wealth manifested by her talents and her services, of course, but also inner riches, necessarily better known to those close to her. An extraordinary generosity, and even a great audacity in this generosity, characterized her relationship with her friends, with her disciples, which she often managed to galvanize. Her openness, her great, very spontaneous sense of hospitality will be remembered. And above all the "cohabitation" in her between an inspiration that is sometimes extremely high (not only in music, but also in poetry, and even in theological and mystical intuitions) ... and an extraordinarily concrete sense of organization, and even of domestic work, more humble. During this celebration, today, it comes back to you, dear friends, former colleagues, former pupils of Yvonne, former faithful companions and witnesses with her to great cultural events ... and you also the closest, the most intimate, ... it is up to you to explore in your memory, in your heart, the inexhaustible “interior archives” linked to Yvonne's destiny, which she was for you. - Certes, nous savons bien que dans l’exploration de ces « archives intérieures », nous trouvons des zones d’ombre, des souvenirs parfois plus douloureux. Comme tout tempérament exceptionnel, celui d’Yvonne connaissait des fragilités. Cela fait partie de ce qu’on pourrait appeler la « météorologie » humaine. La vie humaine (et spirituelle) est analogue à une longue ascension en montagne. Le sentier passe parfois par des zones abruptes, la montée connaît des turbulences. A certains moments, les relations avec Yvonne pouvaient être orageuses. C’est lorsqu’on arrive enfin au sommet de la montagne et qu’on contemple toute la trajectoire d’en haut, que lumières et ombres s’unifient. Et à nous, qui célébrons cette liturgie, il nous revient de rassembler toute cette mémoire pour l’unifier en action de grâces à Dieu, Lui qui aujourd’hui accueille Yvonne et accomplit sa destinée dans sa Lumière, dans son Mystère d’Amour rédempteur. Il nous revient de rendre grâces pour ce qu’elle a été, et ce qu’elle est pour Dieu, et pour ce que Dieu a été, et est pour elle. - Of course, we are well aware that in the exploration of these "interior archives" we find gray areas, sometimes more painful memories. Like any exceptional temperament, Yvonne's was frail. It is part of what you might call human "meteorology". Human (and spiritual) life is analogous to a long mountain climb. The trail sometimes passes through steep areas, the climb is turbulent. At times, relations with Yvonne could be stormy. It’s when you finally get to the top of the mountain and contemplate the entire path from above, that lights and shadows unify. And to us, who are celebrating this liturgy, it is up to us to bring together all this memory to unify it in thanksgiving to God, He who today welcomes Yvonne and fulfills his destiny in his Light, in his Mystery of redemptive Love. . It is up to us to give thanks for what she was, and what she is for God, and for what God was, and is for her. - Car en définitive, ce qui a constamment fondé l’exceptionnelle énergie et l’exceptionnelle efficacité d’Yvonne, c’est sa foi intrépide. Une adhésion de tout son être au trésor de la foi catholique. Au-delà de ce qui pouvait parfois paraître comme l’expression d’une foi « naïve » – la foi du charbonnier – il y avait une compréhension fulgurante du Mystère du Christ, de la Trinité, de l’Eglise, des sacrements. Le sacrement de l’Eucharistie, avec sa promesse de Résurrection, telle que nous venons de l’entendre dans l’Évangile de Jean, était au cœur de sa vie, comme de celle d’Olivier. Il y a plus de quarante ans, une personne m’avait raconté, qu’ayant demandé à Yvonne où elle puisait toute cette confiance, cette assurance au sein d’initiatives parfois téméraires (il s’agissait de programmes de concerts appris en un temps record, avec des œuvres épuisantes de difficulté), Yvonne lui a fait cette réponse : « C’est simple, je me nourris de Jésus ». Réponse presque scandaleuse pour la raison « raisonnante »… réponse si proche des paroles mêmes de Jésus dans l’Évangile d’aujourd’hui : « Celui qui mange ma chair… a la vie éternelle ». Il y a une dizaine d’années, Yvonne (qui avait beaucoup de talents secrets) a écrit un poème admirable, inédit, en hommage à des prêtres âgés… On y trouve des accents proches du poème des « Trois Petites Liturgies… » d’Olivier Messiaen. Il me plaît de mentionner cet épisode en cette année sacerdotale voulue par Benoît XVI pour l’Eglise Catholique. - Because in the end, what has consistently founded Yvonne's exceptional energy and exceptional efficiency is her intrepid faith. A commitment of all one's being to the treasure of the Catholic faith. Beyond what might at times seem like an expression of "naive" faith - the faith of the coalman - there was a dazzling understanding of the Mystery of Christ, of the Trinity, of the Church, of the sacraments. The sacrament of the Eucharist, with its promise of Resurrection, as we have just heard it in the Gospel of John, was at the heart of his life, like that of Olivier. More than forty years ago, a person told me that having asked Yvonne where she drew all this confidence, this assurance within sometimes reckless initiatives (these were concert programs learned in a record, with exhausting works of difficulty), Yvonne gave him this answer: "It's simple, I feed on Jesus". An almost scandalous response for the "reasoning" reason ... a response so close to the very words of Jesus in today's Gospel: "He who eats my flesh ... has eternal life." About ten years ago, Yvonne (who had a lot of secret talents) wrote an admirable poem, unpublished, in homage to elderly priests… There are accents close to the poem of “Three Small Liturgies…” by Olivier Messiaen. I am pleased to mention this episode in this year for the priesthood desired by Benedict XVI for the Catholic Church. - Les dernières années de la vie d’Yvonne ont été très douloureuses. Sa foi rayonnante a été obscurcie par l’épreuve et par le dépouillement progressif et rapide de ses facultés. « Les toutes dernières années de la vie d’Yvonne ont été comme un déchirement, nous dit sa sœur Jacqueline. Depuis quatre ans, elle n’était plus celle qu’on avait connue. Elle l’est vraiment redevenue maintenant ». C’est le moment de remercier particulièrement les personnes ici présentes qui ont assisté Yvonne avec un dévouement inlassable jusqu’au moment du passage. En particulier sa sœur aînée Jacqueline… et les Petites Sœurs des pauvres de Saint Denis, tout particulièrement Mère Caroline et Mère Isabelle, ainsi que les autres sœurs, si dévouées et si proches au moment de l’épreuve. Nous voulons saluer avec affection Marie-France, fille de Jacqueline et nièce d’Yvonne ; et Martine, filleule d’Olivier et d’Yvonne. Qu’il nous soit permis aussi de remercier de tout cœur Olivier Latry et le Chœur grégorien de Paris pour leur participation intense à cette célébration. Enfin merci de leur présence amicale, reconnaissante et fidèle, aux amis, anciens élèves, organisateurs de concerts, éditeurs, compositeurs ayant bénéficié du génie et des phénoménales capacités d'Yvonne. - The last years of Yvonne’s life have been very painful. Her radiant faith has been clouded by trial and the gradual and rapid stripping of her faculties. “The very last years of Yvonne’s life have been heartbreaking,” her sister Jacqueline tells us. For four years she hadn't been the one we had known. She's really back to that now. " Now is the time to give special thanks to those in attendance who have assisted Yvonne with tireless dedication until the moment of passage. In particular her older sister Jacqueline ... and the Little Sisters of the Poor of Saint Denis, especially Mother Caroline and Mother Isabelle, as well as the other sisters, so devoted and so close at the time of the ordeal. We want to greet with affection Marie-France, daughter of Jacqueline and niece of Yvonne; and Martine, goddaughter of Olivier and Yvonne. May we also be allowed to thank Olivier Latry and the Gregorian Choir of Paris for their intense participation in this celebration. Finally, thank you for their friendly, grateful and faithful presence to friends, alumni, concert organizers, publishers, composers who have benefited from Yvonne's genius and phenomenal abilities. - Revenons un instant à la liturgie d'aujourd'hui. Dans la préface des défunts que nous entendrons tout à l'heure, il est écrit : « Pour tous ceux qui croient en Toi, Seigneur, la vie n'est pas détruite, elle est transformée ; et lorsque prend fin leur séjour sur la terre, ils ont déjà une demeure éternelle dans les cieux ». Cette assurance de transformation, de transfiguration, remplit le cœur du croyant d'une secrète jubilation. Et pour vous, amis qui peut-être ne partagez pas (ou pas encore) notre foi, que cette affirmation de l'Église fasse au moins naître une interrogation intérieure... une lumière, même si elle est encore ténue, qui fait poindre l'espérance... l'espérance que l'échec et la mort ne sont pas le point final de notre vie transitoire d'ici-bas. En fait, la liturgie que nous célébrons aujourd'hui nous fait entrevoir que notre propre vie peut, si nous le voulons bien, devenir « liturgie », célébration, qui nous conduit à la Jérusalem nouvelle (et pour nous encore invisible) dont parle la première lecture d'aujourd'hui. La vie d'Yvonne a été une liturgie, à travers lumières et ombres. Il me semble, chers amis, que toute la vie extérieure et intérieure d’Yvonne s'exprime comme en une sorte de synthèse à travers deux vidéos que vous pouvez trouver sur le site Internet You Tube. On la voit et on l'entend jouer une longue pièce ornithologique pour piano solo intitulée « Le Moqueur Polyglotte », neuvième pièce de l'œuvre orchestrale « Des canyons aux étoiles... » d'Olivier Messiaen. Toute Yvonne est là, dans son interprétation de cette pièce : son audace, son perfectionnisme, son humilité émerveillée, son jeu jubilatoire... Et quand les deux derniers accords retentissent et se prolongent en une longue résonance, on a presque la sensation du passage du monde visible à la mystérieuse Gloire, encore lointaine pour nous, de la Jérusalem d'en haut. - Let us return for a moment to today's liturgy. In the preface to the deceased that we will hear later, it is written: “For all those who believe in You, Lord, life is not destroyed, it is transformed; and when their sojourn on earth ends, they already have an eternal home in heaven ”. This assurance of transformation, of transfiguration, fills the heart of the believer with a secret jubilation. And for you, friends who perhaps do not (or not yet) share our faith, may this affirmation of the Church at least give rise to an interior questioning ... a light, even if it is still tenuous, which brings forth hope ... hope that failure and death are not the end point of our transitory life here below. In fact, the liturgy we are celebrating today gives us a glimpse that our own life can, if we wish, become a “liturgy”, a celebration, which leads us to the new Jerusalem (and for us still invisible) of which the first reading today. Yvonne's life has been a liturgy, through lights and shadows. It seems to me, dear friends, that all of Yvonne’s outer and inner life is expressed as a sort of synthesis through two videos that you can find on the You Tube website. We see and hear her playing a long ornithological piece for solo piano entitled "Le Mockeur Polyglotte", the ninth piece of the orchestral work "Des canyons aux étoiles ..." by Olivier Messiaen. All of Yvonne is there, in her interpretation of this piece: her daring, her perfectionism, her amazed humility, her jubilant playing ... from the visible world to the mysterious Glory, still distant for us, from Jerusalem above. - Nous voici revenus, tout naturellement, à ce que nous disions au début : la relation indissoluble des destinées d'Olivier Messiaen et d'Yvonne Loriod. Il a été dit et redit qu’elle n’a pas seulement été son interprète mais aussi son inspiratrice. Nous savons que la composition des « Visions de l’Amen », des « Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus », du « Catalogue d’oiseaux », est due en grande partie à la confiance de Messiaen en les capacités musicales et pianistiques prodigieuses d’Yvonne (qui, nous le rappelons, est devenue son épouse en 1961, deux ans après la mort de la première femme du compositeur, Claire Delbos). Puis, après le départ de Messiaen en 1992, nous avons cette somme qu’est le gigantesque « Traité de rythme, de couleurs et d’ornithologie » en sept volumes, qui n’a pu voir le jour que grâce au travail acharné d’Yvonne. Elle seule pouvait le faire. Elle a rendu, de manière cachée, un service inestimable aux générations futures, à tous ceux aussi qui n’ont pas eu la possibilité d’assister aux enseignements analytiques de Messiaen pendant près de quarante ans. Qu’elle soit particulièrement remerciée pour cela. - We are now back, quite naturally, to what we said at the beginning: the indissoluble relationship between the destinies of Olivier Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod. It has been said over and over again that she was not only his interpreter but also his inspiration. We know that the composition of the "Visions of the Amen", of the "Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus", of the "Catalogue d'oiseaux", is largely due to Messiaen's confidence in her musical and pianistic abilities, Yvonne's prodigious (who, we recall, became his wife in 1961, two years after the death of the composer's first wife, Claire Delbos). Then, after the departure of Messiaen in 1992, we have this summa which is the gigantic "Treatise of rhythm, colors and ornithology" in seven volumes, which could only see the light of day thanks to the hard work of Yvonne. Only she could do it. She has rendered, in a hidden way, an invaluable service to future generations, also to all those who have not had the opportunity to attend the analytical teachings of Messiaen for nearly forty years. Special thanks for this. - « Et Dieu essuiera toute larme de leurs yeux ». Ce verset du Livre de l’Apocalypse que nous avons entendu en première lecture nous amène à la conclusion de notre homélie. Ces paroles sont reprises par Messiaen comme titre de l’une des pièces de son œuvre orchestrale ultime « Eclairs sur l’Au-delà… ». Il s’agit de son œuvre ultime achevée. Cette œuvre est composée de onze pièces. Messiaen en avait esquissé les commentaires. C’est Yvonne, en fait, qui a réellement rédigé ces commentaires… Nous lui laissons la parole, avec des extraits du commentaire de la dixième pièce, « Le chemin de l’invisible », et de la onzième pièce, « Le Christ, lumière du Paradis ». En l’écoutant, nous l’accompagnons actuellement dans ce mystérieux pèlerinage de son âme, tel qu’elle semble l’avoir vécu à l’avance en rédigeant naguère ces notes, alors qu’elle était dans le deuil de son illustre époux. - "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes". This verse from the Book of Revelation that we heard on first reading brings us to the conclusion of our homily. These words are taken up by Messiaen as the title of one of the pieces from his final orchestral work " Eclairs sur l’Au-delà…". This is his ultimate completed work. This work is made up of eleven pieces. Messiaen had sketched the comments. It was Yvonne, in fact, who really wrote these comments ... We leave the floor to her, with excerpts from the commentary on the tenth play, "The path of the invisible", and the eleventh play, "Christ, light of Heaven ”. Listening to her, we are accompanying her at this time on this mysterious pilgrimage of her soul, as she seems to have experienced it in advance when writing these notes, while she was in mourning for her illustrious husband. Donc extraits du commentaire de la pièce « Le chemin de l’invisible » : « Il faut suivre ce chemin toute la vie. On n’arrive au bout qu’à l’heure de la mort […] Impression d’une foule qui gravit une montagne […] Aucun repos dans cette pièce […] Le chemin est long, la montée est dure. Seul le Christ peut éclairer cette voie aride et caillouteuse qui mène à la Paix sur le sommet de la montagne lumineuse. » So excerpts from the commentary for the play "The Path of the Invisible": "You have to follow this path all your life. We only arrive at the end of the hour of death […] Impression of a crowd climbing a mountain […] No rest in this room […] The road is long, the climb is hard. Only Christ can illuminate this arid and stony way which leads to Peace on the summit of the luminous mountain. " Et maintenant extraits du commentaire de la pièce « Le Christ, lumière du Paradis » : « C’est l’arrivée, le Bonheur, le Paradis, la Lumière qui est le Christ et qui éclaire l’Eternité […] Cette dernière (pièce) est l’aboutissement de toute la vie. La page est tournée, la terre est loin, le temps est aboli, c’est un présent de bonheur qui ne finira plus. L’Amour infini du Christ dans l’âme qui le contemple… » And now extracts from the commentary on the play "Christ, light of Paradise": "It is the arrival, Happiness, Paradise, the Light which is Christ and which illuminates Eternity [...] This last (play ) is the culmination of all life. The page is turned, the earth is far away, time is over, it is a gift of happiness that will never end. The infinite Love of Christ in the soul that contemplates him ... " Signé : Yvonne LORIOD-MESSIAEN C’est là qu’il faut la chercher désormais… là, dans ce que nous venons d’entendre… La réalité de sa vie se trouve là, et non pas dans la matière froide du tombeau. Amen. This is where she must be viewed for now ... there, in what we have just heard ... The reality of her life is there, and not in the cold matter of the tomb. Amen. Lectures (choisies pour cette célébration, par le père Jean-Rodolphe Kars) Thoughts and obituaries Muso magazine – August / September 2010 issue VISIONS Yvonne Loriod is synonymous with the music of Olivier Messiaen, but her legacy is an inspiration in its own terms, writes former pupil and pianist Matthew Schellhorn With the death of Yvonne Loriod on 17 May this year, the musical world lost not only a great pianist and teacher but also the catalyst behind some of the 20th century’s most extraordinary music. For some 50 years she was personally linked to Olivier Messiaen, first as his pupil, then as his muse and dedicatee, then as his wife and pre-eminent interpreter. She was also, to me and to many others, an inspiration. I first met Yvonne Loriod in 1994, two years after Messiaen’s death, when I was a pupil at Chetham’s School of Music. My music teacher had arranged for me to visit her in her dressing room at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall, where she was giving a performance of Réveil des oiseaux that evening. I was already in love with Messiaen’s music, and was preparing to perform Visions de l’Amen – the first work written by Messiaen for Loriod, and which she and the composer premiered in 1943. It made a huge impression on me to meet the very person for whom the piece was written. Seeing Loriod perform in concert – on this occasion in partnership with her sister, Jeanne, on ondes Martenot – was also a wonderful spectacle: the two venerable ladies, dressed in matching multicoloured voluminous dresses, captivated the audience with irresistible flair and panache. Loriod’s playing was, in a word, extraordinary. A child prodigy, who had learned the whole of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier and all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas by the age of 14, her pianism was so mature and powerful by the time Messiaen met her in 1941 that it gave him a blank canvas. He is quoted as saying: ‘I could allow myself the greatest eccentricities because to her anything is possible. I knew I could invent very difficult, very extraordinary, and very new things: they would be played, and played well.’ While Messiaen’s early piano style had been rooted in organ-like textures, now he gave free rein to his imagination. So followed a stream of pieces written specifically with Loriod’s remarkable gifts in mind. After Visions de l’Amen came Vingt regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus (‘Twenty gazes on the Christ-child’, 1944), and then the enormous Turangalîla-Symphonie (1946-48) – ‘like a piano concerto’, Messiaen described it. Many other works for piano and orchestra followed, but of all the works written for Loriod it is the epic piano cycle Catalogue d’oiseaux (‘Bird Catalogue’, 1956-58) that encapsulates how her incisive playing provided Messiaen with the ‘voice’ his music most required. In her great 1970 recording of the Catalogue, the rhythmic precision and the voicing is belied by the seeming naturalness of the playing. Loriod can be seen in many pictures following the composer in the fields and woods with a tape recorder. Messiaen, of course, delighted in the double entendre of Loriod’s name: in French, Le Loriot is the Golden Oriole, a bird that in the Catalogue has a movement of its own. It was my privilege to prepare the other solo bird pieces, La Fauvette des jardins (‘The Garden Warbler’, 1970) and the Petites esquisses d’oiseaux (‘Small Bird Sketches’, 1985), with Loriod in my mid-twenties. I remember her gift for (vocal) mimicry, and the enthusiasm with which she would continually rush to the bookcase to get books on birds – all duly described in purely anthropomorphic terms, of course. Most of all, I remember the joy she experienced hearing her husband’s music – she always referred to him as Messiaen – music she herself knew so well, and which she must have played and heard hundreds of times. Loriod was always inquisitive about the new music I was playing, and I was pleased to be able to tell her about the works I was premiering. Her championing of new music takes on a significance when one considers the lesser-known fact that she was a talented composer in her own right. She was modest about her unusual and intriguing musical works. Mostly premiered during the 1940s, they are characterised by their unusual combinations of instruments (Pièces africaines is scored for a bizarre ensemble of flute, oboe, ondes Martenot, guitar, bongos, timpani and two pianos, for example). It is perhaps this personal affinity with Messiaen’s vocation, combined with her other phenomenal skills, which gave this lady the edge in terms of her ability to communicate Messiaen’s music. Yvonne Loriod’s life and career testify to the fact that all new music needs passionate advocates, and all performers have a role to play in the creative process. Matthew Schellhorn Pianist Matthew Schellhorn and Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen in 2005 (Photo:©Matthew Schellhorn) YVONNE LORIOD-MESSIAEN – Obituary for International Record Review (June 2010) By Nigel Simeone Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen died at Saint-Denis, near Paris, on May 17, 2010, at the age of 86. Born on January 20, 1924 at Houilles (Seine-et-Oise), she studied the piano at the Paris Conservatoire – her teachers included Lazare-Lévy, Isidore Philippe and Marcel Ciampi – and composition with Darius Milhaud. But most important was her encounter on May 7, 1941 with the Conservatoire’s newly-appointed harmony teacher, Olivier Messiaen. Loriod recalled that first class in minute detail – Messiaen pulled a well-thumbed miniature score of Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune from his pocket and told the class that it was one of the pieces that he had been allowed to take with him into the prison camp at Görlitz from which he had been liberated a few weeks earlier. It was a meeting that was soon to yield extraordinary results. The first came from a commission Messiaen received in December 1942 from Denise Tual for the Concerts de la Pléiade. In response to this, he composed Visions de l’Amen for two pianos. The first part – elaborate, virtuosic and brilliantly coloured – was written specifically to suit Loriod’s dazzling technique, while the second, dominated by large chords, was written for Messiaen to play. Loriod was just 19 years old when they gave the première of this piece at the Galerie Charpentier in Paris on 10 May 1943, one of the most significant first performances to be given in the city during the German Occupation. Loriod’s playing was to be a major source of inspiration for Messiaen over the next half century. Straight after Visions, he composed Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus using innovative techniques that evolved from Loriod’s playing. Messiaen wrote that the work “contains many pianistic traits and special effects – a small revolution in writing for the piano – that could certainly never have been realised if I hadn’t heard Yvonne Loriod’s earliest concerts.” Messiaen’s greatest piano works constitute a striking example of a composer’s style of writing being directly influenced by the performer for whom he was composing. The dedication of the printed score of the Vingt Regards reads simply “À Yvonne Loriod”, but an unpublished version suggests a deeper musical relationship: “À Yvonne Loriod, dont la technique égale le génie, et qui a compris ma mission” [To Yvonne Loriod, whose technique matches her genius, and who has understood my mission]. In the years to come, Messiaen composed solo and concerted works for piano all of which were written with Loriod in mind, including the flamboyant piano part of the Turangalîla-Symphonie (which Messiaen often described as “like a piano concerto”), to the grandest and most inventive of all his piano cycles, the Catalogue d’Oiseaux. The first complete performance of the Catalogue d’Oiseaux took place in April 1959, the same month that Messiaen’s first wife Claire Delbos died after many years of illness. Almost every weekend, Loriod had accompanied Messiaen to visit Claire in the nursing home where she spent the last few years of her life. Loriod’s devotion and support during this difficult and distressing time was of critical importance to Messiaen. Two years after Claire’s death, Loriod and Messiaen married, and spent their honeymoon in Japan. The musical result was another work for Loriod: the Sept Haïkaï. In Messiaen’s later years, many of his finest pieces were written for her, or featured important piano parts for her to play. As well as La Fauvette des jardins – Messiaen’s postscript to the Catalogue d’Oiseaux and his longest single movement for piano – he composed a number of works for piano and small orchestra or ensemble – including the marvellous Oiseaux exotiques, Couleurs de la Cité céleste and Des Canyons aux étoiles. His last solo piano work was the exquisite (but fiendishly difficult) set of miniatures Petites esquisses d’oiseaux. Loriod told the charming story of how this piece came as a complete surprise to her. In July 1985,Messiaen and Loriod arrived in Petichet to spend the summer months in the peace and quiet of the Dauphiné. For several weeks the composer told his wife that he was not to be disturbed in his studio as he needed to concentrate on correcting proofs. In fact, he was hard at work composing the Petites esquisses, which he presented one day to Yvonne as an entirely unexpected gift. From the start of her career, Loriod was an apostle for new music. She was encouraged to explore new music by her godmother Nelly Sivade – who had given Yvonne some of her earliest piano lessons. She gave a monthly series of private recitals in Mme Sivade’s house, starting in about 1940. The composers who came to hear her play their works included Jolivet, Honegger, Poulenc and Migot. Coincidentally, Mme Sivade lived at 53 rue Blanche, just up the road from La Trinité where Messiaen was organist. At the same time, she also learned Messiaen’s Préludes, and it was at Mme Sivade’s in 1943 that Loriod and Messiaen rehearsed Visions de l’Amen, and gave a private performance on the eve of its première to an audience of a dozen people including Poulenc, Jolivet and Honegger. She attended Messiaen’s private classes (held at Guy Bernard-Delapierre’s house) with Pierre Boulez whose music she played regularly, especially the Second Sonata and Structures: Loriod and Yvette Grimaud gave the first complete performance of Book I at Cologne in 1953, and Loriod and Boulez introduced Book II at Donaueschingen in 1961, as well as giving several early performances of the Second Sonata. Loriod certainly didn’t restrict herself to modern French repertoire. After two other French pianists had declared the work unplayable, she gave the successful Paris première of Bartók’s Second Piano Concerto (a concert reviewed enthusiastically by Messiaen among others), and was one of the few pianists in Paris in the 1950s to play the music of Berg, Schoenberg and Webern. In Autumn 1964, with Messiaen’s enthusiastic encouragement (which extended to writing several cadenzas for her – unpublished – as well as all the programme notes), Loriod gave a complete cycle of Mozart piano concertos in a marathon series of concerts with conductors including Boulez and Bruno Maderna. Though many of these pieces were still a rarity in the concert hall, Loriod had known them all since her teens (along with a dauntingly extensive repertoire of solo works). Loriod began making records in the mid-1940s for Pathé, recorded extensively for Véga/Adès in the 1950s, and subsequently for Erato, with appearances on other labels including Deutsche Grammophon and Koch. Her recorded legacy is substantial and, in some respects, surprising. Not only is there a large body of contemporary music, including all the works Messiaen composed for her (many of them recorded more than once) along with music by Boulez, Barraqué, Charles Chaynes, Berg, Schoenberg, and Webern, but there also some important cornerstones of the standard repertoire: Beethoven’s Hammerklavier, a dozen of the Chopin Études and Barcarolle, Liszt’s Sonata in B minor, Schumann’s Novelettes, solo works and concertos by Mozart, keyboard music by Bach, Debussy’s Études, and Albéniz’s Iberia – a set for which Messiaen wrote the sleeve notes – as well as the piano parts in Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain and Stravinsky’s Petrushka. At the Paris Conservatoire – where she was appointed as a piano professor in her 20s – Loriod’s pupils included several outstanding players of Messiaen’s music, notably Michel Béroff, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Roger Muraro, as well as George Benjamin (at the same time he was studying composition with Messiaen) and Paul Crossley. She was a devoted teacher, and following her retirement from the Conservatoire she gave advice to a number of younger players, including Steven Osborne and Matthew Schellhorn. Though Loriod was very reticent on the subject, she was a talented composer. Her Trois Mélopées africaines– for voice, flute and ondes Martenot – were performed at the Société Nationale de Musique in March 1945, and reflect her own interest in non-European music and literature, as well as her enthusiasm for unusual instrumental combinations. The following year her Petits poèmes mystiques were written for Marcelle Bunlet (Messiaen’s favourite dramatic soprano) and Irène Joachim (the legendary Mélisande), and an ensemble including several percussion instruments, piccolo, harp and piano. Grains de cendre, also written in 1946, is a song cycle for soprano, flute and piano using texts inspired by Arabic poetry and scored for voice, flute and piano. This was broadcast on October 15, 1948, by the soprano Gabrielle Dumaine, flautist Jacques Mule, and Loriod herself. An earlier set of Pièces africaines for instrumental ensemble dates from 1943. The four movements entitled Râga, Chanson soudanaise, Berceuse and Chant d’une Ksourienne, scored for the extraordinary combination of flute, oboe, ondes Martenot, guitar, bongos, timpani and two pianos. The influence of African and Arabian subjects is intriguing and shows considerable originality, not least because Messiaen and Milhaud (Loriod’s composition teacher) tended to look further East (to India) or West (to South America). After Messiaen’s death, Loriod continued to perform his music with undiminished vigour, but she also took on the gigantic task of co-editing Messiaen’s Traité de rythme, as well as preparing new editions of several works, and completing the Concert à quatre. In addition, she also worked for almost ten years on putting her husband’s archives in order. It was in connection with this that I had many encounters with Yvonne Loriod, and these are cherished memories. I saw her on a number of occasions between 2001 and 2005, and for three months in the autumn of 2002 I worked almost every day in the studio adjacent to her apartment, where she had carefully arranged Messiaen’s private archives, and – with great generosity – made it all available. Better still from my point of view, whenever I had questions about an event or a person, she was on hand to provide answers, and often told me much more than I had dared hope, providing detailed reminiscences, and speaking with moving candour about her evolving relationship with Messiaen. It was remarkable that at no point during the writing of the biography of Messiaen that I co-wrote with Peter Hill did she seek to intervene in any way. Instead she urged us not to write a hagiography, and to tell the story as we thought best; she gave blanket permission to use whatever documents we wanted, and saw none of the text until the finished book was printed. When the first copy came off the presses, I took it straight to Yvonne in Paris. She sat down with the book, sat me opposite, produced a large pot of strong coffee, and began to read. An anxious two hours later – and to my immense relief – she smiled broadly, and pronounced herself happy with the results. As well as a being serious-minded, utterly dedicated to the music she was playing, and expecting others to live and work by the same exacting standards that she set herself, Loriod had a whimsical and mischievous side too, and a wicked sense of humour. In particular, I remember a taxi journey from the Châtelet Theatre back to her flat in Montmartre in 2002. Myung-Whun Chung had just conducted a superb Turangalîla with Roger Muraro as an inspired soloist (“You know”, she said at the end, “it’s such a lovely change for me to hear someone else playing this piece!”). The cab ride afterwards yielded half an hour of delicious musical gossip that was as funny as it was (and is) unrepeatable. Her last public performance was in Berlin in 2002 (La Transfiguration, with Kent Nagano) but she continued to attend concerts of Messiaen’s music (including a few during the composer’s centenary year in 2008, when she was already very ill) and to serve on the jury of the Messiaen piano competition, until retreating from public life, spending her final years being cared for by the Petites Soeurs des Pauvres in Saint-Denis. Nigel Simeone Yvonne Loriod: Pianist who became the muse and foremost interpreter of the works of her husband Olivier Messiaen Thursday, 20 May 2010. The Independent Yvonne Loriod's name will always be connected with that of her husband Olivier Messiaen, whose piano works she championed faithfully for six decades. Indeed, one of her best-known students, Paul Crossley, made a telling analogy: "The musical partnership of Olivier Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod was, I am quite certain, as important as that of Robert and Clara Schumann. Like Clara Schumann, Yvonne Loriod was muse, companion, adored wife, interpreter par excellence and – for lucky privileged people like me – inspired teacher." Messiaen was unstinting in his praise of this "unique, sublime and brilliant pianist, whose existence transformed not only the composer's way of writing for the piano, but his style, vision of the world and modes of thought". Pierre-Laurent Aimard, another of her star pupils, identified the change: "Before they met, his piano music reflected his organist's background: it was less virtuosic, less challenging, it had less variety. And all of a sudden he integrated all the brilliant pianistic ability of this young prodigy." Messiaen's music demands brilliance and precision and Loriod's complete technical control – her rhythmic accuracy, her control of tone, her pedalling, her ear for colour – made her its perfect vehicle. She began studying the piano at the age of six and at 11 transferred to her Austrian godmother, Nelly Eminger-Sivade. By the time she was 14, she had under her fingers all 32 Beethoven sonatas, the 48 Preludes and Fugues of Bach's Well-Templered Klavier, all the Mozart concertos, Chopin and Schumann, and most of the rest of the standard repertoire – she was, in Aimard's words, "a monster in the best sense of the term!" This rollercoaster of achievement continued at the Paris Conservatoire. Her piano teachers there read as a roll-call of the great and good in the French piano tradition: Isidor Philipp, Lazare-Lévy and Marcel Ciampi. She took Simone Caussade's fugue class, as well as studying harmony (with André Bloch), orchestration and composition. Her ability and appetite for work brought her no fewer than seven premiers prix at the Conservatoire. She would return to the Conservatoire as a professor in 1967, remaining for a quarter-century. Her first encounter with Messiaen came in May 1941 when he was released from a German POW camp in Silesia and could return to teach at the Conservatoire, as she later recalled: "all the students waited eagerly for this new teacher to arrive and finally he appeared with music case and badly swollen fingers, a result of his stay in the prisoner of war camp. He proceeded to the piano and produced the full score of Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un Faune and began to play all the parts. The whole class was captivated and stunned and everyone immediately fell in love with him." Musical life in occupied Paris naturally took on non-musical symbolism, as in the defiant series of 10 concerts organised by Denise Tual, the founder of the "Concerts de la Pléiades", which mixed contemporary French music, neglected older works and pieces from abroad. Tual's commission to Messiaen resulted in the Visions de l'Amen, a huge cycle of seven pieces for two pianos first performed on 9 May 1943 – by the composer and Loriod – at a private run-through chez Madame Eminger-Sivade, where their audience included the publisher Gaston Gallimard, Claire Delbos (Messiaen's wife) and the composers Arthur Honegger, André Jolivet, Francis Poulenc and Gustave Samazeuilh. The "public" premiere (it was an invited audience) took place a day later. The pattern of their lives was now set, Loriod's presence lubricating Messiaen's imagination; he once said that knowing she would be playing his music allowed him to indulge in "the greatest eccentricities". Work after work was dedicated to her: the massive Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant Jesus (1944), the Catalogue d'Oiseaux (1956–58), La fauvette des jardins (1970), Petites esquisses d'oiseaux (1985). Many of his other works had a prominent piano part, composed with Loriod in mind, among them the Trois petites liturgies de la présence divine, another Tual-Pléiades commission (1943–44), the Turangalîla-Symphonie, a commission from Serge Koussevitzky in Boston (1946–48) – its premiere, in 1949, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Bernstein, constituted her US debut – and Oiseaux exotiques (1955–56). Messiaen's devout Catholicism found reflections of the divine everywhere he looked; birds thus became "God's musicians" and, with Loriot driving him around the countryside, he notated birdsong with a passion, incorporating it into his own compositions. He observed with delight that her surname is the French word for "oriole". But Loriod did not live on a musical diet of Messiaen alone. In November 1945 she learned Bartók's Second Piano Concerto in eight days, for a performance in the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées with the Orchestre National conducted by Manuel Rosenthal – an illustration of the "phenomenal memory" Pierre-Laurent Aimard observed. She premiered Book 2 of Pierre Boulez's two-piano Structures with the composer at Donaueschingen in 1961. Four years later she played 22 Mozart concertos in five weeks, with the Orchestre Lamoureux under a team of conductors (Bruno Maderna, Pierre Boulez and Louis Martin). And her recordings of Jean Barraqué's Sonata and Boulez's Second – both of which she had premiered – were landmarks at a time when almost no other pianist was involved in this repertoire. In the long run she was to win no fewer than 12 Grands Prix du Disque. Messiaen, though, was the lodestar, and it was no surprise when in July 1961 – two years after the death of his first wife, Claire Delbos, who had long been institutionalised through mental illness – he and Loriod were married. They had been in love for years; their faith meant they could not act on it until his first wife had died. He then moved into Loriod's flat in Montmartre, which they gradually expanded as neighbouring properties became available. They lived simply, amid Bibles and music, with Loriod acting as musical factotum as well as executant. Perhaps her most devoted act was the preparation of the vocal score of the opera Saint-François d'Assise (1975–83), a task requiring near-unimaginable perseverance and patience. Loriod assured a Messiaen tradition not only through her own playing; his music was an important element in her teaching, too. As Paul Crossley observes: "Virtually all of us with reputations as Messiaen exponents were her pupils. I think, in many ways, we were her 'family'. Indeed, the last time I saw her she embraced me as 'mon petit Paul', as she had always called me although I was then almost 60 years old!" Pierre-Laurent Aimard experienced the same dedication: "she was very warm about her students, very much committed to them – and perhaps to some extent we were substitutes for the children she never had. And of course she looked after several generations of students. She was passionate, as a teacher, too, and precise, always indicating carefully what should be done: she was clear in her markings and her remarks, always following her own convictions. Crossley found that she "passed on all her secrets, all her magic, with a selflessness, a zeal and a good humour (there was nothing of the 'grande dame' about her) that were exemplary. Her teaching was always rigorous, technical and analytical – solid foundations on which one could build one's own interpretations." Both men remark on her unquenchable energy, which found her continuing to perform into old age. She edited Messiaen's huge Traité de rythme, de couleur et d'ornithologie, posthumously published in seven volumes. She was also a respected figure on the juries of piano competitions, not least the triennial Concours Olivier Messiaen, but also at Aspen, Bayreuth, Leeds, Munich, Paris and elsewhere. Although Loriot studied composition with Darius Milhaud until 1948, her own compositions are early and few in number. They include Grains de cendre (1946) for flute or ondes Martenot, soprano and piano, and the orchestral Pièce pour la souffrance; the only one performed in public seems to have been Trois Mélopées africaines for flute, ondes Martenot, piano and drum, heard at the Société Nationale in March 1945. But the experience must have come to her aid when, with George Benjamin, another Messiaen student, she orchestrated his incomplete final work, the Concert à quatre. A cerebral haemorrhage three years ago brought an abrupt stop to Loriod's hitherto unflagging activity, and she had been in slow decline ever since. One of her two sisters, Jeanne, the leading player of the ondes Martenot, had drowned in 2001; but the other, Jacqueline, and the local priest were with her at the time of her death, in a retirement home to the north of Paris. Martin Anderson See Yvonne Loriod and Pierre Boulez rehearsing Boulez's Structures here . Back to top Boulez & Loriod Roger Nichols The Guardian, Tuesday 18 May 2010 The French pianist Yvonne Loriod, who has died aged 86, was for half a century the inspirer and accredited interpreter of the piano music of Olivier Messiaen, and for three decades his devoted wife. She was also a dedicated champion of the piano works of Pierre Boulez, André Jolivet, Jean Barraqué and Arnold Schoenberg, and an influential teacher. Born in Houilles, on the north-western outskirts of Paris, she began to play at the age of six. Her father was a good improviser at the piano; her godmother, Madame Sivade, began to give her lessons when she was 11, and later prepared her for entry to the Paris Conservatoire. By the age of 14, Loriod had already learned the whole of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, all the Beethoven piano sonatas, the complete works of Chopin and Schumann and all the Mozart piano concertos. At the Conservatoire she studied first with Lazare-Lévy for piano and André Bloch for harmony. When the Nazis deported both these teachers in the early months of the Occupation (during which she used to give recitals of music by "Bartholdy", the Nazis never realising this was the banned Mendelssohn), her piano studies resumed under Marcel Ciampi and her harmony ones under Messiaen, who returned from his prison camp to the Conservatoire in May 1941. Messiaen was quick to recognise her extraordinary musical abilities, and in the early months of 1943 wrote his two-piano work Visions de l'Amen, in which he took creative account of her particular technical strengths, incorporating into her part, that for the first piano, "the rhythmic difficulties, the chord clusters, everything which is velocity, charm and sound quality", while reserving for himself "the principal melodic material, the thematic elements, everything which demands emotion and power". If this division of labour, together with what the composer referred to as Loriod's rôle de diamantation in the Trois Petites Liturgies de la Présence Divine, premiered two years later, suggests a traditionalist view of feminine pianism, Loriod's command of keyboard power was amply recognised in the solo cycle Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus, which she premiered in the Salle Gaveau, Paris, on 26 March 1945. From then on, she was the muse not only for his piano works but for most of his orchestral ones as well – as he said in late life, "I'm married to a great pianist and I always imagine her in the midst of the orchestra" – and when, in the late 1950s, Heinrich Strobel commissioned what would become Chronochromie, he felt obliged to specify, "This time, no ondes martenot and no piano!" Of the twelve orchestral works Messiaen wrote from Turangalîla (1946-48) onwards, no fewer than nine include a part for piano; the quasi-vocal swooping of the electronic ondes martenot was often executed by Loriod's sister Jeanne. Loriod won no fewer than seven first prizes at the Conservatoire, including one for piano in the summer of 1943, and studied composition with Darius Milhaud until 1948. But by this time she had decided to become a pianist rather than a composer and started on her successful international career in that year. Although she played Mozart often, including a cycle of 22 of his piano concertos in Paris within five weeks in 1964, her reputation was made in contemporary music, much of which was almost or entirely unplayed by others - one suspects as much for technical as for aesthetic reasons. Other first performances, apart from those of Messiaen's works, included Boulez's Second Piano Sonata (1950) and Structures II at Donaueschingen with the composer at the other piano (1961), Barraqué's Piano Sonata (1957) and Jolivet's Second Piano Sonata (1959). She also made a number of pioneering recordings in this repertory. After a spell teaching at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Karlsruhe, she was appointed a professor of piano at the Paris Conservatoire in 1967, and remained there for a quarter of a century. Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Paul Crossley and Roger Muraro were among her pupils. She also gave masterclasses worldwide and was much in demand on juries, where her experience and total command of all things musical lent her a natural authority. In 1959, Messiaen's first wife, the composer and violinist Claire Delbos, died, and Loriod gave the first performance of the Catalogue d'Oiseaux. She and the composer got married two years later and had a working honeymoon in Japan, from which sprang the orchestral work Sept Haîkaï. Messiaen moved in to her flat in the rue Marcadet and, as other apartments became vacant, they knocked through walls and installed 15cm-thick soundproofing. For these last 30 years of Messiaen's life, until his death in 1992, she acted as proofreader and musical factotum - making the vocal score of his opera Saint François d'Assise took two years. Expected visitors were assured of a warm welcome and, if they were British, of tea. No doubt living with Messiaen, as with most geniuses, had its ups and downs, though the downs seem to have been very few. An unpublished letter of Darius Milhaud, written from Aspen, Colorado, says: "Les Messiaen sont ici. Comme toujours, charmants et impossibles." Given that Messiaen found the real world of timetables and electric plugs hard to crack, Loriod was called upon to be manager and travel agent as well as wife and interpreter. On his bird-listening trips she would be in charge of the tape recorder and would be expected to sleep in haystacks or barns in order to be up for the dawn chorus. Her demurrers at travelling to Bryce Canyon in Utah or New Caledonia ("wouldn't Assisi do?") went for nothing; although when it came to it, they both enjoyed these exotic trips enormously. Loriod edited a number of her husband's posthumous works, notably the Concert à Quatre. When the definitive history of 20th-century music comes to be written, she will find an honoured place, not only as an exceptional pianist, but as one who, because her technique made possible for Messiaen what he called "the greatest eccentricities", had a profound and lasting effect on that music, both pianistic and orchestral. • Yvonne Loriod, pianist, born 20 January 1924; died 17 May 2010 Tom Service. On Classical Yvonne Loriod: musician, mentor, muse Far more than Olivier Messiaen's widow, Loriod was a superb pianist, champion of new music and a fine composer in her own right. The death of Yvonne Loriod, Olivier Messiaen's widow, brings a great dynasty of French musical life to an end, after Messiaen's death in 1992 and that of her sister, the ondes martenot virtuoso Jeanne Loriod, in 2001. Yvonne was Messiaen's second wife. He had fallen in love with her when she was a teenage student of his at the Paris Conservatoire and she was his muse for five decades (they only married in 1961 after the death of Messiaen's first wife, Claire Delbos, in a sanatorium, after many years of mental illness). Loriod's playing was the inspiration for music from the gigantic cycle Vingt regards sure l'enfant-Jésus, for solo piano, to the piano parts of orchestral pieces like the Turangalila Symphony and Des canyons aux étoiles. But Loriod's reputation was not only due to her unique relationship with her husband's music: she was one of the most powerful and persuasive of advocates of music by Pierre Boulez and Jean Barraqué, at a time when hardly any pianists anywhere were playing - or could play - modernist behemoths like Boulez's Second Sonata or the Barraqué Sonata. And together, she and Messiaen were mentors and models for musicians like composer George Benjamin (who studed with Loriod in Paris when he was 16, and remembers her as a "wonderful, exuberant, radiant" teacher) and Pierre-Laurent Aimard, who they adopted as their one of their pianists du choix in the 70s, when Aimard was still in his teens. Yvonne's legacy is inevitably tied to her husband, but she was a great musician in her own right - and she was a composer too, as well as co-orchestrator of Messiaen's last orchestral work, the Concert à quatre. Yvonne Loriod dies aged 86 Pianist and widow of Olivier Messiaen remembered 18/05/2010 Yvonne Loriod, the pianist and widow of Olivier Messiaen, has died aged 86. Born 20 January 1924, she was a leading light among the post-war generation of performers and composers, quickly gaining a reputation for exceptional virtuosity, making light of the most fearsome contemporary scores, and an extraordinary memory. She gave the French premiere of Bartók’s Second Piano Concerto to great acclaim at just eight days’ notice, when the intended soloist dropped out having declared the work unplayable. Loriod championed the music of composers such as Boulez, Barraqué and Henze, but she was also lauded for her accounts of works by Mozart, Chopin, Schumann, Bach, Berg, Schoenberg, de Falla, Albéniz, Beethoven and Debussy. Loriod was a champion of the latter’s Études at a time when they were still regarded as arid, and she made an exceptional recording of Beethoven's Hammerklavier. A gifted pedagogue, she was also much in demand for the juries of piano competitions. Nonetheless, it is with the music of Messiaen that her name has become synonymous, having been the catalyst for the piano taking centre stage in numerous of his works from the 1940s onwards, either in vast cycles for the instrument, such as Vingt regards sur l’enfant-Jésus (1944) and Catalogue d’oiseaux (1956-58), or as soloist in orchestral canvasses such as Turangalîla-Symphonie (1946-48), La Transfiguration (1965-69) and Des canyons aux étoiles... (1972-74). They met in 1941, when Messiaen was appointed Professor of Harmony at the Paris Conservatoire, where she was a student. Within a couple of years, he began writing the first of many works inspired by Loriod’s tigerish pianism, Visions de l’Amen for two pianos. He would later apologise to other pianists negotiating his music, explaining that he never had to worry about its difficulty as he knew that Loriod could play anything. Messiaen and Loriod eventually married in 1961, and her devotion to him was total. Following his death in 1992, she undertook the herculean task of preparing his seven volume Traité de rythme, de couleur et d'ornithologie (Treatise on rhythm, colour and ornithology) according to Messiaen’s plan, as well as the scores of his final works and various rediscovered pieces from much earlier in his career. In one of the short films accompanying his 2005 DVD of the Vingt Regards, Roger Muraro relates that he and Loriod had visited Messiaen’s grave ten days earlier: ‘Madame Loriod told me: “I loved him, and I love him still”’. Christopher Dingle BBC Music Magazine Yvonne Loriod, pianist and Messiaen's wife, has died Born January 20, 1924; died May 17, 2010 Wed 19th May 2010. Gramophone Magazine The opportunity to observe Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic rehearsing Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalila Symphony in January 1988 with the composer present was too good to pass up. Yet time and again the 63-year-old piano soloist unwittingly stole the show by virtue of the massive chords, dazzling passagework, and long lyrical lines that seemed to shake from her arms with no effort. The sonority never splintered as it flooded Avery Fisher Hall, yet Yvonne Loriod presided with calm authority, achieving impressively fluid and colourful results with the utmost in physical economy. To watch her was to hear her, and one quickly realised why Loriod long had been Messiaen’s artistic muse. Loriod, who died aged 86 on May 17, 2010 in St Denis, met her future husband when she was his teenage student at the Paris Conservatoire (they married in 1961, two years after the death of Messiaen’s first wife Claire Delbos), and her prodigious pianism and well-grounded musicianship inspired the composer’s large-scale piano works from the Vingt Regards sur l’enfant-Jésus and Catalogue d’oiseaux cycles to the substantial piano parts in orchestral works such as the aforementioned Turangalila, Oiseaux exotiques, Trois Petits Liturgies de la Presence Divine, and Des canyons aux étoiles. In turn, her own extensive compositional training enabled her to proof her husband’s scores, prepare the piano/vocal edition of his monumental opera St Francois d’Assise, and co-orchestrate his final work Concert à quatre. Although Loriod frequently performed and recorded her husband’s music, she commanded a large, all-embracing repertoire, some of which is preserved on disc. In 1964 she played 22 Mozart Concertos over a five week period with the Lamoureux Orchestra, and gave the French premier of Bartók’s Second Piano Concerto, learning the piece with only eight days’ notice. A fervent advocate for the music of her time, Loriod premiered the second sonatas of Boulez and Jolivet and Barraqué’s Sonata in concert and on disc. She instilled this duty in her students at the Paris Conservatoire, where she taught from 1967. “I have all my young pianists playing the young composers,” Loriod told a New York Times journalist. Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Paul Crossley and Roger Muraro are just a few of Loriod’s distinguished former pupils. Loriod is survived by her sister Jacqueline. Jed Distler Yvonne Loriod Yvonne Loriod, who died on Monday aged 86, was a celebrated French pianist, a champion of the electronic ondes Martenot instrument, and a specialist in the music of her husband, Olivier Messiaen. Published: 6:52PM BST 18 May 2010 She first met the composer, who was 16 years her senior, when she joined his harmony class at the Paris Conservatoire in 1942, soon after his return from a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp in Silesia. She recalled how "all the students waited eagerly for this new teacher to arrive and finally he appeared with music case and badly swollen fingers". Nevertheless, she liked his open manner of teaching, a contrast to the old-fashioned methods of other teachers. "For me it was an explosion," she said. "It shook all my preconceptions." Yvonne Loriod had already attracted attention as a child prodigy. Taught by her Austrian godmother, one Nelly Eminger-Sivade, she knew all the Beethoven sonatas and Mozart concertos by the time she was 12. Messiaen heard her in concert and was impressed. She also played his eight Preludes. "I found them quite easy. God gave me a very good memory," she recalled. Within months of their meeting she was firmly installed as his muse; Messiaen composed a work for two pianos, Visions de l'Amen, for them to play together and it led to a world tour even before the war ended. They fell in love, but he was already married to Claire Delbos, a composer and violinist with a debilitating mental illness. Delbos was eventually institutionalised, leaving him to bring up his young son, Pascal, alone. As a devout Roman Catholic, Messiaen could not divorce his wife, nor would he commit adultery. "So we cried," Yvonne Loriod recalled. "We cried for nearly 20 years until she died and we could marry." (They wed in 1961, two years after Delbos's death.) All Messiaen's piano music composed after 1943 was written for Yvonne Loriod, including Vingt regards sur l'enfant Jésus (1944) and the many birdsong works, such as Oiseaux exotiques (1956) and Catalogues des Oiseaux (1958). He said that he allowed himself the "greatest eccentricities" in his writing because he knew that she would master them effortlessly. When Messiaen wanted to compose his musical catalogue of birds, Yvonne Loriod drove him round the country in her Renault as he recorded what he called "God's musicians". She later recalled: "He noted the birdsong and in the evenings he would make a more detailed score. He adored wildlife. He wouldn't even kill a mosquito. One day in the country his score was covered with flying ants. 'Can't you get rid of them?' he asked me, 'but don't hurt them.' I took the score outdoors and got the insecticide." Yvonne Loriod was born in Houilles, to the north-west of Paris, on January 20 1924, one of three sisters. At the Paris Conservatoire her teachers included Lazare Lévy, Marcel Ciampi and Darius Milhaud. She won seven premiers prix and composed a number of works. In 1945 Yvonne Loriod learnt Bartók's fiendish Second Piano Concerto in just eight days for a performance with the Orchestre National de Paris under Manuel Rosenthal; by the age of 25 she was a professor at the Conservatoire. Yvonne Loriod championed not only Messiaen but also other avant-garde composers: she recorded music by Jean Barraqué and Pierre Boulez, and excelled in the music of Bartók and Schoenberg. Her American debut was with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in December 1949, playing the ondes Martenot in the Turangalîla Symphony with Leonard Bernstein conducting; the work received its British premiere in a BBC studio broadcast in June 1953 under Walter Goehr. According to The Times, Yvonne Loriod "played the solo piano part brilliantly". She was, however, suspicious of the BBC and always insisted on receiving her fee in cash before a performance. In 1972 the couple visited the canyons of Utah, him capturing the songs of the local birds, her photographing him standing alone in the enormous crevasses, depicting what he described as the "immense solitude" of the place. The result was the majestic Des Canyons aux Etoiles (From the Canyons to the Stars). A similar, month-long expedition to Australia in 1988 in search of the lyrebird led to a movement of Eclairs Sur l'au-delà (Illuminations of the Beyond). For the last three decades of Messiaen's life the couple lived a simple and devoutly religious life near Montmartre, surrounded by crucifixes, a copy of the Bible and their recordings. Her husband, despite his success, remained organist at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Paris – a post he had held since 1931 – until his death in 1992. Yvonne Loriod – a small, snug lady known as Tante Yvonne – then devoted herself to his memory. She discovered and published forgotten works that she found among his papers and gave occasional concerts, such as her appearance at the Barbican in 1999. The author Alex Ross notes how the conductor Kent Nagano, when asked for a revealing anecdote about the couple, could come up with no more than a tale of how they once devoured an entire pear tart in one go. She never called her husband by his first name, only Messiaen or maître. All she wished for, she told interviewers, was "a good death, so that I can go to heaven and be by his side". See Yvonne Loriod performing Le Moqueur polyglotte from Messiaen's Des Canyons aux etoille... Here LaMoqueur Yvonne Loriod, Pianist and Messiaen Muse, Dies at 86 By PAUL GRIFFITHS Published: May 18, 2010 Yvonne Loriod, the French pianist whose musical exactitude and intensity inspired numerous masterpieces by her husband, the composer Olivier Messiaen, died on Monday at a retirement home in Saint-Denis, on the edge of Paris. She was 86. Enlarge This Image Ms. Loriod had been in declining health since suffering a cerebral hemorrhage three years ago and had recently broken a hip, said Roger Muraro, a former student and close friend, who confirmed her death. There may be no parallel in musical history to the performer-composer relationship that Ms. Loriod and Messiaen maintained across half a century. It gave rise not only to two immense Messiaen solo works — “Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus” (“20 Glances at the Child Jesus”) and “Catalogue d’Oiseaux” (“Bird Catalog”) — but also to shorter pieces and quasi concertos, ranging in scale from the huge “Turangalîla Symphony” to “Oiseaux Exotiques” (“Exotic Birds”), for piano with a tight group of wind instruments and percussion. The presence of birds in so many of these works was no accident. For Messiaen, birdsong provided intimation of the music of heaven, unclouded by human egotism. He and Ms. Loriod would often go off in search of these natural singers, with Messiaen notating their melodies in the field and later incorporating them into his music. In Ms. Loriod he found a musician who could provide avian qualities of agility and spectacle. “I have,” he once said, “an extraordinary, marvelous, inspired interpreter whose brilliant technique and playing — in turn powerful, light, moving and colored — suit my works exactly.” It delighted him that her name was homophonous with that of a singing bird: the loriot, or golden oriole, which duly has its place in “Catalogue d’Oiseaux.” “If Messiaen did not have a Loriod, a pianist wife like her, Messiaen probably would not be Messiaen,” said Mr. Muraro, who is a specialist in the composer’s music. Ms. Loriod’s performances, in gowns of vibrant color, were exciting to watch, and even more so to hear. In her extraordinary range of timbre, achieved not only by touch but also by the split-second timing of attack and pedaling, she brought to the music the rainbow brilliance it needed. In her sense of rhythm as pulsation, especially in fast music, she gave it the energy it craved. To some extent those qualities were written into the music under her influence. Messiaen became, from the time he met her, a more assertive and more public composer, and he paid far more attention to the piano. Yvonne Loriod was born in Houilles, a town six miles northwest of Paris, on Jan. 20, 1924. She had piano lessons from childhood, as did her sister Jeanne, four and a half years younger. Jeanne Loriod, who died in 2001, became a leading exponent of the electronic instrument the ondes martenot. Yvonne Loriod’s first teacher, Madame Sivade, who was also her godmother, had Yvonne giving monthly recitals as a young girl. By 14 she knew the whole of Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier” and all 32 Beethoven sonatas. She went on to study at the Paris Conservatoire, where she met Messiaen when he arrived in 1942 to take a class in harmony. Along with Pierre Boulez and other classmates, she became a member of Messiaen’s intimate group, with whom he would discuss his music, modern music generally and the music of other continents. His awareness of Ms. Loriod’s pianistic prowess came soon: in 1943 he wrote “Visions de l’Amen” for the two of them to play on two pianos. That was followed by “Trois Petites Liturgies de la Présence Divine” (“Three Little Liturgies of the Divine Presence,” 1943-44), for women’s choir and small orchestra with solo piano, and “Vingt Regards” (1944). “Visions” was presented by Messiaen and Ms. Loriod in May 1943, when Paris was still occupied; the two other works were performed in early 1945. After this triptych of sacred concert works, Messiaen produced, from 1945 to 1949, what he called his Tristan Trilogy, on the theme of cosmic love. It was a glorious outburst of love music, and though Ms. Loriod performed in only two of the pieces — the song cycle “Harawi,” evoking Peru, and “Turangalîla” — it seems clear she inspired all three. (The third piece was “Cinq Rechants,” or “Five Refrains,” for small chorus.) Ms. Loriod had become the focus for musical feelings that the composer had directed toward his first wife, Claire Delbos, in the 1930s but who by the 1940s was suffering a long physical decline. In the 1950s, all the music Messiaen wrote for Ms. Loriod was bird-inspired: the concerto “Réveil des Oiseaux” (“Awakening of the Birds”), “Oiseaux Exotiques” and the “Catalogue.” Ms. Delbos died in 1959, and two years later Ms. Loriod and Messiaen were married. A tour of Japan was their honeymoon, remembered by Messiaen in his “Sept Haïkaï” (“Seven Haiku”), for piano and small orchestra. (Ms. Loriod also traced her expertise in Japanese cuisine to that trip.) In 1962, Ms. Loriod performed all the Mozart concertos at the Conservatoire, whose faculty she joined in 1967. From this point on she concentrated on her pupils — among them Michel Béroff, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Mr. Muraro — and her husband. Ms. Loriod and Messiaen traveled the world together and welcomed students to their apartment in Paris. Messiaen’s flow of music for her continued, from big solo parts in the concert-length concerto “Des Canyons aux Étoiles ...” (“From the Canyons to the Stars,” 1971-75) to a part in the unfinished “Concert à Quatre” (“Concerto for Four”). Ms. Loriod recorded everything her husband wrote for her, in many cases more than once, and these recordings will remain an essential part of the Messiaen legacy. Invaluable, too, was the work she did after his death, in 1992, in editing his writings, not least his 4,000-page treatise on rhythm. Ms. Loriod is survived by a sister, Jacqueline, and a stepson, Pascal Messiaen. Ms. Loriod moved to the Saint-Denis retirement home, in a leafy area, after her cerebral hemorrhage three years ago. There she could hear birds sing, Mr. Muraro said. In recent months, however, she had remained shut inside. “It’s spring and the birds are just beginning to sing now,” he said, but Ms. Loriod did not get to hear them. 9. 10. CLASSICAL ICONACLAST WEDNESDAY, 19 MAY 2010 Yvonne Loriod - musician and muse Yvonne Loriod has passed away, aged 86. All the newspaper obits are out, standard pieces, written long ago, some cobbled together from material on Olivier Messiaen. He was the love of her life and centre of her existence. But there was much more to "Mrs Loriod" as Pierre-Laurent Aimard charmingly calls her. She deserves a tribute in her own right. Not so easy, because she was self-effacing, letting Messiaen take the limelight, but she was formidably talented. She was an extremely good pianist, playing at a high level, certainly not just Messiaen. She came to Paris to learn composition, and attracted the eye of Nadine Boulanger. Boulanger had a serious animus against Messiaen, so when Loriod took up with Messiaen she was immediately dropped from Boulanger circles. Not that Loriod cared. Messiaen's empathic, open-minded approach to music was much more Loriod's thing, anyway, apart from the fact she fell in love. Because Messiaen was such a devout Catholic, marriage was out of the question, as his first wife was hospitalized for what seems to have been some kind of mental problem. Loriod and Messiaen didn't actually live together but shared three floors of the same building.. One floor his, one floor hers and the one in the middle was teaching space. She taught too, becoming a professor at an early age. Yvonne and her sister Jeanne were both pianists, both learning the Ondes Martenot and performing round the world. (Both also continued playing piano.) In the late 1990's they both came to London to play: two tiny elderly ladies exuding charm. Sadly Jeanne died soon after. Yvonne lived on, but was too frail to come to London in 2008 to celebrate Messiaen's centenary (curated by Aimard, and bigger than the Paris commemorations). Loriod and Messiaen were so much of a unit that it's arguable he would not have achieved quite as much as he did without her presence. Her name means "Oriole", so when the song of an oriole appears in his music, there's an extra level of meaning. Loriod is a presence in most of his music, even indirectly. He composed entirely on his own, bringing out new works only near completion, but she was musician enough herself to comment intelligently. Plenty can, and has, and will be written about Loriod's influence on Messiaen's art, but she contributed in simple, practical ways, too. She knitted the enormous, multi-coloured scarf he wears in one of the most famous photographs. It's too huge and too extrovert to be something you'd find in a shop. He knew what it meant, so he wears it with a huge grin. She was the "practical one" who made arrangements, fixed the tape recorders and apparently drove a car. She was also the emollient one, who kept up friendships such as with Boulez (pictured here) with whom she was close (same age). She mothered Pierre-Laurent Aimard, the son she never had, and adored his children. She'll be remembered of course as Messiaen's life partner and muse, but she was someone very special herself. Posted by Doundou Tchil LEMONDE.FR avec AFP | 18.05.10 | 14h07 La pianiste Yvonne Loriod est morte Le piano du XXe siècle vient de perdre l'une de ses grandes figures : Yvonne Loriod, la muse et seconde épouse du compositeur Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992), dont elle fut la principale interprète, est morte à l'âge de 86 ans. Admise il y a trois ans dans une maison de retraite de Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis) à la suite d'un coma diabétique, elle y est morte lundi en fin d'après-midi. "C'était une personnalité très forte, exceptionnelle dans son domaine, une figure de proue de la découverte de la musique de la seconde moitié du XXe siècle", a témoigné, très ému, le pianiste Roger Muraro. Née le 20 janvier 1924 à Houilles (Yvelines), Yvonne Loriod a montré très tôt des dons musicaux et des capacités d'apprentissage exceptionnelles. Adolescente, la pianiste a déjà à son actif un répertoire comprenant tout Chopin, 22 concertos de Mozart et les 32 sonates de Beethoven. Au conservatoire de Paris, où elle décrochera sept premiers prix, elle étudie dans la classe d'analyse d'Olivier Messiaen, en compagnie de Pierre Boulez. A partir des Visions de l'amen (1943), qui datent de cette époque, elle créera toutes les œuvres avec piano du compositeur. Pianist Yvonne Loriod is dead. The 20th century piano has just lost one of its great figures: Yvonne Loriod, the muse and second wife of the composer Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992), of whom she was the main performer, died at the age of 86 . Admitted three years ago in a retirement home in Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis) following a diabetic coma, she died there late Monday afternoon. "She was a very strong personality, exceptional in her field, a figurehead in the discovery of the music of the second half of the twentieth century", testified, very moved, the pianist Roger Muraro. Born January 20, 1924 in Houilles, Yvonne Loriod very early on showed exceptional musical gifts and learning abilities. As a teenager, the pianist already has to her credit a repertoire including all of Chopin, 22 Mozart concertos and 32 Beethoven sonatas. At the Paris Conservatory, where she won seven first prizes, she studied in the analysis class of Olivier Messiaen, in the company of Pierre Boulez. From Visions de l'Amen (1943), which date from this period, she will create all of the composer's piano works. ​ "UN DÉVOUEMENT TOTAL" "Elle a été d'un dévouement total à la cause Messiaen, qu'elle trouvait génial et dont elle a été éperdument amoureuse dès leur rencontre", dit Roger Muraro. Mais le compositeur, d'abord marié à la violoniste Claire Delbos, n'épousera Yvonne Loriod qu'en 1961, deux ans après la mort de sa première femme des suites d'une longue maladie. Très présente discographiquement (pour les labels Vega, Erato, Ades...), Yvonne Loriod enregistre Debussy, Albeniz ou Berg mais aussi des concertos de Mozart avec... Pierre Boulez, dont elle créera le deuxième livre des Structures pour deux pianos (avec le compositeur) en 1961. Doté d'une technique virtuose, elle offre les premières auditions de pièces d'André Jolivet et Jean Barraqué. Elle révèle au public français des pages de Bartok et Schönberg. Mais c'est surtout l'œuvre de son mari que cette organisatrice hors de pair contribuera à diffuser dans le monde entier, tenant au besoin la partie de piano, comme dans la fameuse Turangalîla-Symphonie, au côté de sa sœur, Jeanne Loriod, joueuse d'ondes Martenot. Une musicienne capable de réduire pour deux pianos le monumental opéra de son mari, Saint François d'Assise, d'orchestrer son Concert à quatre et d'apporter les corrections nécessaires aux épreuves de ses pièces. Quitte à renoncer à composer elle-même – seules trois œuvres de sa main sont connues. Yvonne Loriod aura aussi été une grande pédagogue, au fil de ses déplacements en Europe ou en Amérique mais surtout au conservatoire de Paris de 1967 à 1989, où elle transmettra à plusieurs de ses élèves pianistes (notamment Michel Béroff, Roger Muraro et Pierre-Laurent Aimard) la passion de Messiaen. Selon Roger Muraro, Yvonne Loriod doit être enterrée "la semaine prochaine" auprès de son époux, non loin du lac de Petichet à Saint-Théoffrey, dans le Dauphiné si cher au couple Messiaen. "TOTAL DEDICATION " "She was totally devoted to the Messiaen cause, which she found brilliant and with which she was head over heels in love as soon as they met," says Roger Muraro. But the composer, first married to the violinist Claire Delbos, did not marry Yvonne Loriod until 1961, two years after the death of his first wife from a long illness. Her discography (for the Vega, Erato, Ades labels ...), Yvonne Loriod records Debussy, Albeniz or Berg but also Mozart concertos with ... Pierre Boulez, for which she will create the second book of Structures for two pianos ( with the composer) in 1961. Equipped with a virtuoso technique, she offered the first performances of pieces by André Jolivet and Jean Barraqué. She reveals to the French public, pieces of Bartok and Schönberg. But it is above all the work of her husband that this outstanding musician will help to disseminate throughout the world, holding the piano part if necessary, as in the famous Turangalîla-Symphonie, alongside her sister, Jeanne Loriod, Ondes Martenot. A musician capable of reducing the monumental opera of her husband, Saint Francis of Assisi, to two pianos, of orchestrating his Concerto for four and making the necessary corrections to the proofs of his pieces. Even if it means giving up composing herself - only three works by her hand are known. Yvonne Loriod was also a great teacher, throughout her travels in Europe or America but especially at the Paris Conservatory from 1967 to 1989, where she will transmit to several of her student pianists (notably Michel Béroff, Roger Muraro and Pierre-Laurent Aimard) the passion of Messiaen. According to Roger Muraro, Yvonne Loriod must be buried "next week" with her husband, not far from Lake Petichet in Saint-Théoffrey, in the Dauphiné so dear to the Messiaen couple. Back to top

  • Gallery | Olivier Messiaen

    Gallery GalleryTop Copyright exists on all of these photographs. Downloading and electronic reproduction of any image is illegal without the express permission of the copyright owner. 1. 2. Messiaen, Yvonne Loriod and John Carewe in rehearsal at the Royal Academy of Music London March 1987 3. Salle d'Olivier Messiaen in Grenoble On October 2, 1981, the Marcel Reymond amphitheater, rue du Vieux Temple, was renamed "Salle Olivier Messiaen". On January 20, 1984, Olivier Messiaen was made an honorary citizen of the city of Grenoble. © Messiaen in USA 1978 4. 5. 7. 6. Eglise de la Sainte Trinité. Paris ©M.Ball The tombe of Messiaen in the Eglise Saint Théoffrey, Petichet, France. © Malcolm Ball 8. 9. 10. 11 In 1973, Olivier Messiaen acquired a concession in the Saint-Théoffrey cemetery. His will was to be buried near the lakes, facing the Grand-Serre which he called the "bald mountain". The tomb will be in Carrara marble and will represent a bird. To carry out this last wish, Yvonne Loriod contacted a local craftsman: Albert Luyat. Several drawings were submitted to her in Paris before she validated the dove's project during a visit to the marble factory. The curves of the bird form a flame of memory. An extract from "Harawi" - composed at Petichet in 1945 - "song of Love and Death, for voice and piano" is engraved by hand. "I only made one mistake but it was quickly corrected! remembers the marble worker. Above: "All the birds of the Stars", extract from "Harawi", and text by the hand of Messiaen. 13. 12. The headstone with 'Yvonne Messiaen' inscription (2010). 14. © John Stead 15. © John Stead Messiaen in the 1930's/40s & 50s) 16. 17. 18. (Photo©Lipnitzki) 19. 20 (Photo©Lipnitzki) Messiaen in the 1960's 21. 22. 23. ©T.Gaby © MB © MB Pierre Boulez, Olivier Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod 23a - 23b 25. Messiaen in 1978 24. Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod in the recording studio 1973. Messiaen in the 1970's 26. Messiaen in 1971 27. 29. Messiaen in the 1980's 28. Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod 1986 in Düsseldorfer Tonhalle. (photo:© Christine Langensiepen) 30. Messiaen at the presentation for the degree of Doctor of Music at the Guildhall London. 31. 33. 32 with Pierre Boulez Karlheinz Stockhausen and Messiaen in 1961 34 Stockhausen, Boulez and Messiaen in the 1980's 35. Messiaen's house at Petichet. © M.Ball 36. The studio 'annexe' at Petichet. © M.Ball 38. The "garage" at Messiaen's Petichet house. © M.Ball 37. Messiaen's piano at Petichet 39. 40. Lac Laffrey (2014)© M.Ball Messiaen purchased the small house and garage at Petichet in 1936 and he was to spend most summer months here where he composed a good deal of his output. Petichet was a haven for Messiaen where he was able to listen and note down songs of birds in relative peace. However, as years passed the onset of tourism became a source of irritation for him that resulted in the purchase of a second country home in the Sologne region. Petichet marks the starting point for walks to the Ecrins park and Mont-Blanc, but it is La Meije and the village of La Grave that make the strongest impression on him. Today, a summer festival takes place there to celebrate the life and works of Messiaen. 230 rue Marcadet Paris in the 18th arrondissement. The Paris residence shared by Messiaen and Loriod from 1961 to the composers death in 1992. Loriod continued to live here until her death in 2010. Loriod had a small studio apartment in this block and over the years the Messiaens expanded, purchasing other apartments within the block. It overlooks a small park with a band stand bearing a remarkable resemblance to the 'jardin de ville' in Grenoble where, as a young boy Messiaen enjoyed studying musical scores. 41. The rue Olivier-Messiaen is a private road located in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. 42. 43. Located in north central France, 'La Sauline' became the Messiaens second country retreat from 1981 to 1995. 44. © M.Ball. Used with kind permission of the present owners. Josef Pyrz Sculptor Josef Pyrz (1946 - 2016) was born in Gawlowek, Poland but moved to France in 1979. Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod became great friends with the Pyrz family after seeing sculptures by him in churches in Paris and in the Sologne region. Pyrz and his family fell on hard times in the 1980's and Messiaen wanted to help him out by financial support and commissioned a sculpture of St. François d'Assise that was displayed at the Paris Opéra Garnier, during the 1983 performances of the work. Pyrz 45. Eglise Notre Dame des Bruyères in Neuvy-sur-Barangeon where the 'Messiaens' worshipped in the Sologne region. 46. © M.Ball Sculpture of Messiaen by Josef Pyrz outside Eglise Notre Dame des Bruyères in Neuvy-sur-Barangeon 47. Monument funéraire des grands-parents, oncles et tantes du compositeur Olivier Messiaen. La statue " L'énergie foudroyée" est une reproduction d'une oeuvre de Léon Messiaen, oncle du compositeur qui fut Premier prix de sculpture des Beaux-Arts de Paris, réalisée en 1915 et exposée en 1919 sur les Champs-Elysées. Tomb of grandparents, aunts and uncles of Olivier Messiaen. The statue "The energy struck by lightning" is a reproduction of a work of Leon Messiaen, the composer's uncle who was first prize winner for sculpture des Beaux-Arts in Paris, constructed in 1915 and exhibited in 1919 on the Champs-Elysées. In the churchyard of La Chaise, near Fuligny, graves of the grand parents, uncles and aunts of Olivier Messiaen. Léon Messiaen The house at Fuligny in Aube region where Messiaen would visit his aunts in the 1920's and where he wrote the Préludes, Le Banquet eucharistique for orchestra and the organ work derived from part of it, Le Banquet céleste. Les Offrandes oubilees and Le Tombeau replendissant. This plaque marks the house where Messiaen and his family lived after WW1 from 1918 to 1919. 1 place des Enfants Nantais, Nantes. 48. 49. Messiaen spent his early childhood here at 2 cours Berriat, Grenoble. © Colin Samuels 50. © John Stead 52. 51. © Malcolm Ball La Meiji Copyright exists on all of these photographs. Downloading and electronic reproduction of any image is illegal without the express permission of the copyright owner. Back to top

  • Resources | Olivier Messiaen

    Resources A selection of my personal audio & visual Resource Archive Unlike several years ago, Messiaens' music is now well represented in the commercial audio market. Listed below is my own personal collection some of which may be of interest and could be made available on a strictly private basis for study or research. A comprehensive discography can be found in 'The Messiaen Companion ' edited by Peter Hill and compiled by Dr. Christopher Dingle. Res1 View More Back to top

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