Olivier Messiaen

(redirected from Messaien)

Messiaen, Olivier

(ôlēvyā` mĕsyäN`), 1908–92, French composer and organist, b. Avignon. Messiaen was a pupil of Paul DukasDukas, Paul
, 1865–1935, French composer and critic. He was influenced by both the romanticism of Wagner and the impressionism of Debussy. His compositions are few, the best known being a symphonic poem, The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1897), and an opera,
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 at the Paris Conservatory. He became organist of La Trinité, Paris, in 1931 and taught at the Schola Cantorum and the École Normale de Musique (1936–39). In 1942 he was appointed professor of harmony at the Paris Conservatory, where he taught such 20th-century figures as Pierre BoulezBoulez, Pierre
, 1925–2016, French conductor and composer of modernist classical music. He studied at the Paris Conservatory with Olivier Messiaen (1944–45) and studied twelve-tone technique with René Leibowitz (1946).
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 and Karlheinz StockhausenStockhausen, Karlheinz
, 1928–2007, German composer, music theorist, and teacher; his first name also appears as Karl Heinz. He studied composition with Frank Martin in Cologne (1950–51) and with Olivier Messiaen and Darius Milhaud in Paris (1951–53).
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. Messiaen's music is remarkably original and personal, rich in color and texture. It draws from many schools and styles, including electronic and serial musicserial music,
the body of compositions whose fundamental syntactical reference is a particular ordering (called series or row) of the twelve pitch classes—C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B—that constitute the equal-tempered scale.
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, and is often based on scale formulas of his own invention or on his studies of Asian music and birdsong. His compositions also reflect his profound religious mysticism, which is also expounded in his didactic prose works.

Messiaen's major works include L'Ascension (1933), for orchestra; Apparition de l'Église Éternelle (1932), La Nativité du Seigneur (1935), Le Banquet Céleste (1936), and Les Corps Glorieux (1939), for organ; Quartet for the End of Time (1941), his best-known piece, composed while he was a prisoner of war in Germany (1940–42); Visions de l'Amen (1943), for two pianos; the orchestral Oiseaux Exotiques (1956), Et Exspecto Resurrectionem Mortuorum (1965), and Des Canyons aux Étoiles (1974); and The Transfiguration (1969), an oratorio. He also wrote masses, songs, and much chamber music. His symphony in 10 movements, Turangalila Symphony (1948), is considered the most grandiose expression of his theories. Messiaen's only opera is the five-hour St. Francis of Assisi (1983). His last major composition, Éclairs sur l'Au-Delà (1992), was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, to celebrate its 150th anniversary.


See his Technique of My Mystical Language (tr. 1957); biography by R. S. Johnson (1975, rev. 1989); studies by C. H. Bell (1984), P. Griffiths (1985), and R. Nichols (1986).

References in periodicals archive ?
Her repertoire is unusually broad for someone so young, embracing Handel, Mozart, bel canto and more contemporary fared adore Messaien, whose Poetries pour Mi I sang recently.
But her scholarly interests have ranged widely over the history of French music, extending to Berlioz, Jolivet, Messaien, and many others.
An indication of how difficult these steps were comes from the fact that, once the first production was out of the way, Messaien made his own fair corn of the scene.
com)-- In a bold programming move, the Piano Festival presents three consecutive days in homage to the music of Claude Debussy - celebrating of the 150th anniversary of his birth - and the composers who are frequently associated with the French Impressionist movement - Ravel, Faure and Messaien.
With it, Biscardi was following in the footsteps of such previous recipients as Arnold Schoenberg, Samuel Barber, Bela Bartok, Leonard Bernstein, and Olivier Messaien.
David Drew's first interests were in modern French music, and in his 20s he published a study of Olivier Messaien that was a classic of its time.
I am thinking here of such poles as the polyphonic Bach and Messaien with his colour.
Though he praises others like Britten, Shnitke and Messaien, he reserves his greatest admiration for the "simplicity" of J.
Participation in rituals of the sacred--explicitly, as we shall see, in the music of Olivier Messaien and implicitly in Ashbery's early poetry, as we see in The Double Dream of Spring--evokes "a life continuous with our own," what Ashbery describes in "Collective Dawns" as "the feeling of really / Being out of the world and with it" (Houseboat Days, 5).
French poet Charles Baudelaire, Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov, French composer Olivier Messaien, Russian composer Alexander Scriabin and the British painter David Hockney have all been linked to synaesthesia over the years and expressed it through their work.
Consider musique concrete, electroacoustic music, and aspects of the music of Varese, Webern, Messaien, Boulez, Cage, Reich, and Nancarrow.
He has worked with writers as varied as Georges Simenon and Cocteau and composers such as Sauguet, Messaien, and Marius Constant.