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OLIVIER MESSIAEN  

(1908 - 1992)

Olivier Messiaen has exercised a remarkable influence over composers both in his native France and elsewhere, although his own work is unique in its individuality. Educated at the Paris Conservatoire, where his teachers included the great French organist Marcel Dupré, he became principal organist of La Trinité in Paris after graduation in 1930, a position he retained for many years. Messiaen’s musical language is derived from a number of varied sources, including Greek metrical rhythms, Hindu tradition, the serialism of Schoenberg, Debussy and birdsong, with his whole work and life deeply influenced by the spirit of Catholicism.

Orchestral Music

Of orchestral works by Messiaen particular mention may be made of the Turangalîla-symphonie, with its Hindu inspiration, and the mystical L’Ascension, later arranged also for organ.

Piano Music

Two extended compositions for piano by Messiaen suggest two of the sources of his inspiration. Vingt Regards sur l’enfant Jésus, a title defying elegant translation, takes 20 different views of the Child Jesus—from the Father, the star and the Virgin to that of the Church of Love. The work was first performed in Paris in 1945 by the composer’s wife, the pianist Yvonne Loriod. The Catalogue d’oiseaux of 1959 is derived from birdsong and includes ‘Le Chocard des alpes’, ‘Le Loriot’ and ‘Le Courlis cendré’.

Organ Music

Messiaen made a significant addition to organ repertoire. His compositions for the instrument include La Nativité du Seigneur (‘The Birth of the Lord’), L’Ascension and Les Corps glorieux (‘Bodies in Glory’), the last described as seven brief visions of the life of the resurrected.

Chamber Music

Among the best known of Messiaen’s varied works for smaller groups of instruments is the Quatuor pour la fin du temps (‘Quartet for the End of Time’), written in 1941 during a period of wartime imprisonment in Silesia. This apocalyptic work was composed for the instruments available (clarinet, piano, violin and cello) and was first performed in the prison camp.

View by Role: Classical Composer | Lyricist
Role: Classical Composer 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
ANIMALS IN MUSIC Naxos
8.578281-82
Instrumental
Artist Profile Series - VAN RAAT, Ralph Naxos
8.578026
Orchestral
Choral Concert: Bavarian Radio Chorus - POULENC, F. / DURUFLE, M. / LEEUW, T. de / MESSIAEN, O. (Sacred Choral Music) Oehms Classics
OC540
Choral - Sacred
Choral Music - VALEN, F. / BERG, A. / MESSIAEN, O. / WEBERN , A. (Refractions) (Norwegian Soloists' Choir, Pedersen) BIS
BIS-1970
Choral - Secular, Choral - Sacred
Choral Music (Russian) - TCHAIKOVKSY, P.I. / CHESNOKOV, P. / KALINNIKOV, V.S. / KOSELEV, A.I. (Sounds on my Spirit) (Russia Spiritual Revival Choir) Delos
DE3301
Choral - Sacred
COLGRASS, M.: Dream Dancer / MESSIAEN, O.: Oiseaux exotiques / KUCHARZYK, H.: Some Assembly Required (Northern Winds) (Toronto Wind Orchestra, Gomes) Naxos
8.572248
Concertos
Discover Music of the Twentieth Century Naxos Educational
8.558168-69
Chamber Music
ENGINEER'S CHOICE, Vol. 2 Delos
DE3512
Instrumental
FAURE / BOULANGER / RAVEL / DEBUSSY: Songs Cedille
CDR90000-054
Vocal
Flute Recital: Bezaly, Sharon - POULENC, F. / MARTIN, F. / REINECKE, C. / MARTINU, B. / MESSIAEN, O. BIS
BIS-SACD-1729
Chamber Music
Flute Recital: Janik, Urszula - DEBUSSY, C. / IBERT, J. / POULENC, F. / FERROUD, P.-O. / JOLIVET, A. / MESSIAEN, O. (Colours of a Flute) CD Accord
CDAccordACD179
Chamber Music
Flute Recital: Walker, Adam - POULENC, F. / MESSIAEN, O. / BARTOK, B. / BARBER, S. / SCHUBERT, F. (Vocalise) Opus Arte
OACD9012D
Chamber Music
GUTBUCKET: Sludge Test Cantaloupe Music
CA-21033
Contemporary Jazz
HISTORY OF THE ORGAN - Vol. 4. The Modern Age (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
102153
Classical Documentary
HISTORY OF THE ORGAN (4 DVD set) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
107508
Classical Documentary
JESUS CHRIST IN MUSIC Naxos
8.557161
Chamber Music
JUXTAPOSITIONS - THE EDITION (NTSC) Ideale Audience
3078398
Classical Documentary
LEAVING HOME: Orchestral Music in the 20th Century (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
102073
Classical Documentary
LEAVING HOME: Orchestral Music in the 20th Century, Vol. 2: Rhythm (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
102035
Classical Documentary
LEAVING HOME: Orchestral Music in the 20th Century, Vol. 3: Colours (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
102037
Classical Documentary
LISZT: Weihnachtsbaum / REGER: Maria Wiegenlied BIS
BIS-CD-1164
Instrumental
MESSIAEN, O.: Catalogue d'Oiseaux (J. de Oliveira) Naxos
9.70117-19
Instrumental
MESSIAEN, O.: Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum / Le tombeau resplendissant / Hymne (Lyon National Orchestra, Markl) Naxos
8.572714
Orchestral
MESSIAEN, O.: Harawi / 3 Melodies (Bruun, Hyldig) Naxos
8.572189
Vocal
MESSIAEN, O.: Livre du Saint Sacrement (P. Jacobs) Naxos
8.572436-37
Instrumental
MESSIAEN, O.: Messe de la Pentecote / LANGLAIS, J.: 3 Paraphrases gregoriennes / ALAIN, J.: 3 Danses (Things Visible and Invisible) (Crozier) Delos
DE3147
Instrumental
MESSIAEN, O.: Nativité du Seigneur (La) (Winpenny) Naxos
8.573332
Instrumental
MESSIAEN, O.: Poemes pour Mi / Les offrandes oubliees / Un sourire (Schwanewilms, Lyon National Orchestra, Markl) Naxos
8.572174
Orchestral, Vocal, Orchestral
MESSIAEN, O.: Quartet for the End of Time / BARTOK, B.: Contrasts (Chamber Music Northwest) Delos
DE3043
Chamber Music
MESSIAEN, O.: Saint Francois d'Assise (DNO, 2008) (NTSC) Opus Arte
OA1007D
Opera DVD
MESSIAEN, O.: Turangalîla-symphonie (Hewitt, Hartmann-Claverie, Finnish Radio Symphony, H. Lintu) Ondine
ODE1251-5
Orchestral
MESSIAEN, O.: Vingt regards sur l'Enfant-Jesus (J. de Oliveira) Naxos
9.70115-16
Instrumental
MESSIAEN, O.: Visions de l'Amen / BEETHOVEN, L. van: Grosse Fuge, Op. 134 (Duo d'Accord) Oehms Classics
OC704
Instrumental
MESSIAEN, O.: Visions de l'Amen / DEBUSSY, C.: En blanc et noir (Oppens, Lowenthal) Cedille
CDR90000-119
Instrumental
MESSIAEN, O.: Visions de l'Amen / DEBUSSY, C.: En blanc et noir (van Raat, Austbo) Naxos
8.572472
Instrumental
MESSIAEN, O: Organ Music (Complete) (H.-O. Ericsson) BIS
BIS-CD-1770-72
Instrumental, Nature Sounds, Instrumental
MESSIAEN: Catalogue d'oiseaux / Petites esquisses d'oiseaux Naxos
8.553532-34
Instrumental
MESSIAEN: Complete Bird Music for Piano Solo BIS
BIS-CD-594-96
Instrumental
MESSIAEN: Complete Organ Music, Vol. 1 BIS
BIS-CD-409
Instrumental
MESSIAEN: Complete Organ Music, Vol. 2 BIS
BIS-CD-410
Instrumental
MESSIAEN: Complete Organ Music, Vol. 3 BIS
BIS-CD-441
Instrumental
MESSIAEN: Complete Organ Music, Vol. 4 BIS
BIS-CD-442
Instrumental
MESSIAEN: Complete Organ Music, Vol. 5 BIS
BIS-CD-464
Instrumental
MESSIAEN: Complete Organ Music, Vol. 6 BIS
BIS-CD-491-92
Instrumental, Nature Sounds
MESSIAEN: Crystal Liturgy (The) (NTSC) Ideale Audience
DVD9DS44
Classical Documentary
MESSIAEN: Fauvette des jardins (La) / Offrandes oubliees (Les) Naxos
8.554655
Instrumental
MESSIAEN: Harawi / Poemes pour Mi BIS
BIS-CD-86
Vocal
MESSIAEN: Preludes / 4 Rhythmic Studies / Canteyodjaya Naxos
8.554090
Instrumental
MESSIAEN: Quartet for the End of Time / Theme and Variations Naxos
8.554824
Chamber Music
MESSIAEN: Turangalila Symphony / L'ascension Naxos
8.554478-79
Orchestral
MESSIAEN: Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant Jesus Naxos
8.550829-30
Instrumental
Music for Ondes Martenot Naxos
8.555779
Chamber Music
NAXOS 15TH ANNIVERSARY CD Naxos
8.555964
Orchestral
Organ Music - BACH, J.S. / GHERARDESCHI, G. / BUXTEHUDE, D. / LEFEBURE-WELY, L. / DURUFLE, M. / MESSIAEN, O. / SOWERBY, L. / ROREM, N. Delos
DE3503
Instrumental
Organ Recital: Fukumoto, Mari – BRUHNS, N. / RADULESCU, M. / GRIGNY, N. de / BACH, J.S. / BUXTEHUDE, D. / MESSIAEN, O. Naxos
8.573155
Instrumental
Organ Recital: Noehren, Robert - WIDOR, C.-M. / BRAHMS, J. / BACH, J.S. / ALAIN, J. / HINDEMITH, P. / KARG-ELERT, S. / MESSIAEN, O. Delos
DE3045
Instrumental
Organ Recital: Sakari, Pétur - TOURNEMIRE, C. / VIERNE, L. / MESSIAEN, O. / DUPRÉ, M. / DURUFLÉ, M. (The Great Organ of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, Paris) BIS
BIS-1969
Instrumental
Organ Recital: Soria, Samuel - DUBOIS, T. / LAMARTER, E. / DURUFLE, M. / DRAYTON, P. / REUCHSEL, E. / MESSIAEN, O. (Organ Voices) Delos
DE3343
Instrumental
Organ Recital: Unger, Michael - BUXTEHUDE, D. / BACH, J.S. / LITAIZE, G. / WIDOR, C.-M. / MESSIAEN, O. Naxos
8.572246
Instrumental
PALSSON, Hans: I Doda Mastares Sallskap, Vol. 4 Naxos
8.553934
Instrumental
PIANO MUSIC FOR STUDENTS - Associated Board Piano Examination, Grade 8 (1995) Marco Polo
AB-80803/4
Instrumental
Piano Recital: Kessel, Susanne - MESSIAEN, O. / TAKEMITSU, Toru / MILO, L. (… à Olivier Messiaen) Oehms Classics
OC859
Instrumental
Piano Recital: Lewin, Michael - RAMEAU, J.-P. / HOFMANN, J. / GRIFFES, C. / MACDOWELL, E. / MESSIAEN, O. / GRIEG, E. / GRANADOS, E. (If I Were a Bird) Dorian Sono Luminus
DSL-92103
Instrumental
Piano Recital: Rangell, Andrew - SWEELINCK, J.P. / BACH, J.S. / ENESCU, G. / BEETHOVEN, L. van / MESSIAEN, O. (A Recital of Intimate Works) Dorian Sono Luminus
DIS-80147
Instrumental
Piano Recital: Ullen, Fredrik - LISZT, F / MESSIAEN, O. BIS
BIS-CD-1803
Instrumental
POULENC: Flute Sonata / MESSIAEN: Le Merle Noir / BOULEZ: Sonatine Naxos
8.557328
Chamber Music
POULENC: Flute Sonata / OLSSON: Romance / FAURE: Fantaisie BIS
BIS-CD-160
Chamber Music
REVOLUTION DER KLANGE (DIE): Musik im 20. Jahrhundert (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
102072
Classical Documentary
SOUNDSCAPES, Vol. 2 - A Delos Digital Compact Disc Sampler Delos
DE3501
Chamber Music
Violin Recital: Dodds, Daniel - BACH, J.S. / YSAYE, E. / BERIO, L. / ROCHBERG, G. / ERNST, H.W. / BRAM, T. / MESSIAEN, O. (Time Transcending) Oehms Classics
OC832
Chamber Music
WIESLER, Manuela: Flute Music BIS
BIS-CD-689
Chamber Music
WOMEN AT THE PIANO - AN ANTHOLOGY OF HISTORIC PERFORMANCES, Vol. 3 (1928-1954) Naxos Historical
8.111217
Instrumental
Role: Lyricist 
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