- 1 Synopsis
- 2 List of Organ Works
- 3 Background and General Perspectives on Performing Messiaen Organ Works
- 4 Registration and Organs
- 5 Fingering and Pedaling
- 6 Articulation and Phrasing
- 7 Ornamentation
- 8 Tempo and Meter
- 9 Scores and Editions
- 10 Recordings
- 11 Other Resources
- 12 Notes
French organist, composer, and teacher
- 10 Dec 1908, born in Avignon, France
- 1924, Paris, Entered Paris Conservitoire.
- Autumn 1927, Paris, Studied organ with Marcel Dupre.
- 1929-31, Paris, deputy organist at Église de la Sainte-Trinité
- 1931-92, Paris, organist at Église de la Sainte-Trinité
- 1930's, composed several of his multi-movement organ works
- 1984, Livre du Saint Sacrament published
- 27 Apr 1992, died in Paris, France
From his birth, French composer Olivier Messiaen was surrounded by the arts. When he was only eleven years old he entered the Paris Conservatory, studying organ with Marcel Dupré and composition with Paul Dukas. He took first prize in both areas, as well as in improvisation. In 1930 he became the organist at Trinity church, Paris. He joined the faculty of his alma mater, the Paris Conservatory in 1942. Throughout the rest of his life he worked at various music centers around the world including Tanglewood, 1948, and Darmustadt, 1950-1953. It was through such institutions that Messiaen's unique style influenced many students, including Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Boulez.
Messiaen was very religious and his music, both organ and other, reflects his extreme faithbordering on mysticism. He used musical resources from many traditions, ranging from rhythms of the orient to early Christian Gregorian Chant to birdsong. His pieces achieve unity through his careful interdependence of melodies, rhythms, and harmonies.
Points of Interest
- Messiaen served in the French army during World War II (1939). He was a prisoner for two years in a German prison camp in Silesca, where he composed his Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time).
- He was an elected member of many organizations, ranging from the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts, to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
- Messiaen wrote the two-volume work The Technique of My Musical Language in 1957.
- He married one of his students, the pianist Yvonne Loriod.
- To get a sense of his style, here is a video recording of Messiaen improvising.
- La Nativité du Seigneur
- Le Corps glorieux
- Messe de la Pentecôte
- Livre d'orgue
- Meditations sur le mystére de la Sainte Trinite
For details, see the Wikipedia article on Olivier Messiaen.
List of Organ Works
|Opus||French Title||English Translation||Year|
|Op. ??||Esquisse modale||???||1927 (unpub.)|
|Op. ??||Le banquet céleste||The heavenly banquet||1928|
|Op. ??||L'hôte aimable des âmes||???||1928 (unpub.)|
|Op. ??||Variations écossaises||???||1928 (unpub.)|
|Op. ??||Offrande au Saint-Sacrament||???||1930-35 (unpub.)|
|Op. ??||Apparition de l'église éternelle||Apparition of the eternal church||1932|
|Op. ??||L'ascension||The Ascension||1932-33|
|Op. ??||La Nativité du Seigneur||The Lord's nativity||1935|
|Op. ??||Les corps glorieux||Glorious bodies||1939|
|Op. ??||Messe de la Pentecôte||Pentecost mass||1949-50|
|Op. ??||Livre d'orgue||???||1951-2|
|Op. ??||Verset pour la Fête de la dédicace||Verse for the festival of dedication||1960|
|Op. ??||Méditations sur le mystèrede la Sainte Trinité||Meditations on the mystery of the Holy Trinity||1969|
|Op. ??||Livre du Saint Sacrament||Book of the Holy Sacrament||1984|
|Op. ??||Prelude||???||???? (unpub.)|
Background and General Perspectives on Performing Messiaen Organ Works
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Registration and Organs
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See the footnote in the "Notes" section at the bottom of the page
Fingering and Pedaling
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Articulation and Phrasing
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Tempo and Meter
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Scores and Editions
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Messiaen - L'Ascension, for solo organ, performed by Olivier Latry
Olivier Messiaen - improvisation "Puer Natus Est", performed by Olivier Messiaen
Pay to Listen
- Complete Organ Works as recorded by Hans-Ola Ericsson on NAXOS
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