French composer Messiaen | Olivier Messiaen 20th Century music

Web Name: 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)

The 27th April 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of the death of Olivier Messiaen

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1908 - 1992
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Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen
1924 - 2010


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© 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.

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New items in the 'Yvonne Loriod' page
New items in the 'In the Press' page

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

Read more here.

!Two publications worthy of note!

see Bibliography page

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

Matthew Schellhorn's special film for the
RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2021

15th January 1941


at Stalag VIIIA Gorlitz by Messiaen and fellow musician prisoners Henri Akoka, Étienne Pasquier and Jean Le Boulaire.

The memorial andvisitor 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 paystribute to the commitment of its founder and artistic director, Gaëtan Puaud and editor/author Raphaëlle Blin highlights the artistic, social and political experiences that maintainedand 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 andsoft cloth cover : asigned copy to the UK or anywhere in Europe for £31 or €35including shipping.Any other country including USA and Japan:£36 or €40 includes shipping.

Orders can be made directly from Colin Samuelsvia Paypal at:

Multiple copies orquestions, pleaseemail 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.



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.

Events etc.

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Concert Calendar ~
CD New Releases and more!!

© 2019Malcolm Ball


TAGS:Messiaen Olivier French composer

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