Olivier Messiaen (IPA: [mɛsjɑ̃]; December 10, 1908 – April 27, 1992) was a French composer, organist, and ornithologist. Events 1041 - Empress Zoe of Byzantium elevates her adoptive son to the throne of the Eastern Roman Empire as Michael V Year 1908 ( MCMVIII) was a Leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Leap year Events 1124 - David I becomes King of Scotland. 1296 - Battle of Dunbar: The Scots are defeated Year 1992 ( MCMXCII) was a Leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1992 Gregorian calendar) This article is about the country For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic France topics. A composer (literally meaning 'one who puts together' is a person who creates Music, usually in the medium of notation, for Interpretation and Performance The organ (from Greek όργανον – organon "organ instrument tool" is a Keyboard instrument of one or more divisions each Ornithology (from Greek ὄρνις ὄρνιθος ornis, ornithos, "bird" and λόγος logos, "knowledge" is the branch of He entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 11, and numbered Paul Dukas, Maurice Emmanuel, Charles-Marie Widor and Marcel Dupré among his teachers. The Conservatoire de Paris is an institution of higher education that has played an important role in the development of Music in France and Western Europe Paul Abraham Dukas (October 1 1865 &ndash May 17 1935 was a Parisian born French Composer and teacher of classical music. Maurice Emmanuel ( May 2 1862 &ndash December 14 1938) was a French Composer of classical music. Charles-Marie Jean Albert Widor (February 21 1844 &ndash March 12 1937 was a French organist, Composer and teacher Marcel Dupré (May 3 1886 &ndash May 30 1971 was a French Organist, Pianist, Composer, and Pedagogue. He was appointed organist at the church of La Trinité in Paris in 1931, a post he held until his death. Paris (ˈpærɨs in English; in French) is the Capital of France and the country's largest city On the fall of France in 1940 Messiaen was made a prisoner of war, and while incarcerated he composed his Quatuor pour la fin du temps ("Quartet for the end of time") for the four available instruments, piano, violin, cello, and clarinet. In World War II, the Battle of France, also known as the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries Quatuor pour la fin du Temps, also known by its English title Quartet for the End of Time, is a piece of Chamber music by the The piano is a Musical instrument played by means of a keyboard that produces sound by striking steel strings with Felt covered hammers The violin is a bowed String instrument with four strings usually tuned in Perfect fifths It is the smallest and highest-pitched member The violoncello (abbreviated to cello, or 'cello, plural cellos or celli —the c is tʃ The clarinet is a Musical instrument in the Woodwind family The name derives from adding the suffix -et meaning little to the Italian word The piece was first performed by Messiaen and fellow prisoners to an audience of inmates and prison guards. Messiaen was appointed professor of harmony soon after his release in 1941, and professor of composition in 1966 at the Paris Conservatoire, positions he held until his retirement in 1978. In Western music, harmony is the use of different pitches simultaneously and chords actual or implied in Music. Musical composition is an original piece of Music the structure of a musical piece the process of creating a new His many distinguished pupils included Pierre Boulez, Yvonne Loriod (who later became Messiaen's second wife), Karlheinz Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis and George Benjamin. As well as being a prominent Composer, the Frenchman Olivier Messiaen was a noted teacher of musical analysis harmony and composition at the Paris Conservatoire from the WikipediaWikiProject Classical music#Biographical_infoboxes --> Pierre Boulez (pjɛʁ buˈlɛz (b Yvonne Loriod (born 20 January 1924, Houilles, Paris, France) is a French Pianist, and the widow of composer Iannis Xenakis (Ιάννης Ξενάκης (May 29 1922 - February 4 2001 was a Greek modernist composer musical theoretician and architect George Benjamin (born 31 January 1960 London, England is a British Composer of classical music.
Messiaen's music is rhythmically complex (he was interested in rhythms from ancient Greek and from Hindu sources), and is harmonically and melodically based on modes of limited transposition, which were Messiaen's own innovation. Rhythm (from Greek ῥυθμός - rhythmos, "any measured flow or movement symmetry" is the variation of the length and accentuation of The term ancient Greece refers to the period of Greek history lasting from the Greek Dark Ages ca Hinduism is a religious tradition that originated in the Indian subcontinent. In Music, a melody (from Greek μελῳδία - melōidía, "singing chanting" also tune, voice, or The modes of limited transposition are Musical modes which were first compiled by the French composer Olivier Messiaen. Many of his compositions depict what he termed "the marvellous aspects of the faith", drawing on his unshakeable Roman Catholicism. He travelled widely, and he wrote works inspired by such diverse influences as Japanese music, the landscape of Bryce Canyon in Utah, and the life of St. Francis of Assisi. For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Japan topics. Bryce Canyon National Park (ˈbraɪs is a National park located in southwestern Utah in the United States The State of Utah (ˈjuːtɔː or) is a western state of the United States. For the opera by Olivier Messiaen see Saint-François d'Assise. Messiaen experienced a mild form of synaesthesia manifested as a perception of colours when he heard certain harmonies, particularly harmonies built from his modes, and he used combinations of these colours in his compositions. Synesthesia (also spelled synæsthesia or synaesthesia, plural synesthesiae or synaesthesiae)—from the Ancient Greek (syn meaning "with" For a short period Messiaen experimented with the parametrization associated with "total serialism", in which field he is often cited as an innovator. In Mathematics, Statistics, and the mathematical Sciences a parameter ( G auxiliary measure) is a quantity that defines certain characteristics In Music, serialism is a technique for composition that uses sets to describe musical elements, and allows the manipulation of those His style absorbed many exotic musical influences such as Indonesian gamelan (tuned percussion often features prominently in his orchestral works), and he also championed the ondes Martenot. A gamelan is a musical ensemble of Indonesia typically featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones xylophones drums and gongs bamboo flutes bowed and The ondes Martenot (IPA maʀtəno French for "Martenot waves" also known as the ondium Martenot, Martenot and ondes musicales) is an early
Messiaen found birdsong fascinating; he believed birds to be the greatest musicians and considered himself as much an ornithologist as a composer. Bird vocalization includes both Bird calls and bird songs In non-technical use bird songs are the bird sounds that are melodious to the human ear He notated birdsongs worldwide, and he incorporated birdsong transcriptions into a majority of his music. This article is about music For other uses see Transcription disambiguation page In Music, transcription is the act of notating His innovative use of colour, his personal conception of the relationship between time and music, his use of birdsong, and his intent to express profound religious ideas, all combine to make it almost impossible to mistake a composition by Messiaen for the work of any other western composer.
Olivier Eugène Prosper Charles Messiaen was born in Avignon into a literary family. Avignon (/aviɲɔ̃/ in French) ( Provençal: Avinhon in classical norm or Avignoun in Mistralian norm is a commune He was the elder of two sons of Cécile Sauvage, a poet, and Pierre Messiaen, a teacher of English who translated the plays of William Shakespeare into French. English is a West Germanic language originating in England and is the First language for most people in the United Kingdom, the United States William Shakespeare ( baptised French ( français,) is a Romance language spoken around the world by 118 million people as a native language and by about 180 to 260 million people Messiaen's mother published a sequence of poems, L'âme en bourgeon ("The Budding Soul"), the last chapter of Tandis que la terre tourne ("As the World Turns"), which address her unborn son. Messiaen later said this sequence of poems influenced him deeply, and he cited it as prophetic of his future artistic career. 
On the outbreak of World War I in 1914 Pierre Messiaen became a soldier, and their mother took the two boys to live with her brother in Grenoble. World War I (abbreviated WWI; also known as the First World War, the Great War, and the War to End All Grenoble is a city and commune in south-east France situated at the foot of the Alps where the Drac joins the Isère River. Here Messiaen became fascinated with drama, reciting Shakespeare to his brother with the help of a home-made toy theatre with translucent backdrops made from old Cellophane wrappers. Cellophane is a thin transparent sheet made of regenerated Cellulose.  At this time he also adopted the Roman Catholic faith. Later, Messiaen felt most at home in the Alps of the Dauphiné, where he had a house built south of Grenoble, and he composed most of his music there. The Dauphiné or Dauphiné Viennois is a former province in southeastern France, roughly corresponding to the present departments ' of the 
He commenced piano lessons after having already taught himself to play. The piano is a Musical instrument played by means of a keyboard that produces sound by striking steel strings with Felt covered hammers His interest embraced the recent music of French composers Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, and he asked for opera vocal scores for Christmas presents. Achille-Claude Debussy (aʃil klod dəbysi (August 22 1862 &ndash March 25 1918 was a French Composer. Sheet music is a hand-written or printed form of Musical notation; like its analogs -- books pamphlets etc  During this period he started to compose. In 1918 his father returned from the war, and the family moved to Nantes. Nantes (Naoned Gallo: Naunnt) is a city in western France, located on the Loire River, from the Atlantic coast He continued music lessons; one of his teachers, Jehan de Gibon, gave him a score of Debussy's opera Pelléas et Mélisande, which Messiaen described as "a thunderbolt" and "probably the most decisive influence on me". Pelléas et Mélisande ( Pelléas and Mélisande) is an Opera in five acts with music by Claude Debussy.  The following year Pierre Messiaen gained a teaching post in Paris, and the family moved there. Messiaen entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1919, aged 11.
At the Conservatoire Messiaen made excellent academic progress, many times finding himself top of the class. In 1924, aged 15, he was awarded second prize in harmony, in 1926 he gained first prize in counterpoint and fugue, and in 1927 he won first prize in piano accompaniment. In Music, counterpoint is the relationship between two or more voices that are independent in contour and Rhythm, and interdependent in Harmony In Music, a fugue (ˈfjuːg is a type of contrapuntal composition or technique of composition for a fixed number of parts, normally referred In Music, accompaniment is the art of playing along with a soloist or ensemble, often known as the Lead, in a Supporting manner In 1928, after studying with Maurice Emmanuel, he was awarded first prize for the history of music. Maurice Emmanuel ( May 2 1862 &ndash December 14 1938) was a French Composer of classical music. Emmanuel's example engendered in Messiaen an interest in ancient Greek rhythms and exotic modes. After showing improvisation skills on the piano Messiaen began to study the organ with Marcel Dupré, and from him he inherited the tradition of great French organists (Dupré had studied with Charles-Marie Widor and Louis Vierne; Vierne in turn was a pupil of César Franck). Improvisation (also called extemporization) is the practice of acting singing talking and reacting of making and creating in the moment and in response to the stimulus of The organ (from Greek όργανον – organon "organ instrument tool" is a Keyboard instrument of one or more divisions each Marcel Dupré (May 3 1886 &ndash May 30 1971 was a French Organist, Pianist, Composer, and Pedagogue. Louis Victor Jules Vierne was a renowned French organist and Composer. César Franck (December 10 1822 – November 8 1890 a Composer, Organist and music teacher of Belgian and German origin who lived in France Messiaen gained first prize in organ playing and improvisation in 1929. After a year studying composition with Charles-Marie Widor, in the autumn of 1927 he entered the class of the newly appointed Paul Dukas who instilled in Messiaen mastery of orchestration, and in 1930 Messiaen won first prize in composition. Charles-Marie Jean Albert Widor (February 21 1844 &ndash March 12 1937 was a French organist, Composer and teacher Paul Abraham Dukas (October 1 1865 &ndash May 17 1935 was a Parisian born French Composer and teacher of classical music. Orchestration is the study or practice of writing Music for Orchestra (or more loosely for any Musical ensemble) or of adapting for orchestra music composed
While he was a student he composed his first published compositions, his eight Préludes for piano (the earlier Le banquet céleste was published subsequently). These already exhibit Messiaen's use of his preferred modes of limited transposition and palindromic rhythms (Messiaen called these non-retrogradable rhythms). The modes of limited transposition are Musical modes which were first compiled by the French composer Olivier Messiaen. A palindrome is a word phrase number or other sequence of units that can be read the same way in either direction (the adjustment of punctuation and spaces between words In Music or Music theory, a non-retrogradable Rhythm is a pattern of note durations that is read or performed the same either forwards or backwards His public debut came in 1931 with his orchestral suite Les offrandes oubliées. Also in that year he first heard a gamelan group, which sparked his interest in the use of tuned percussion. A gamelan is a musical ensemble of Indonesia typically featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones xylophones drums and gongs bamboo flutes bowed and
Messiaen's special relationship with the organ began in autumn 1927, when he joined Dupré's organ course. The pipe organ is a Musical instrument that produces sound when pressurized air (wind is driven through a series of pipes, controlled by a keyboard Marcel Dupré (May 3 1886 &ndash May 30 1971 was a French Organist, Pianist, Composer, and Pedagogue. Dupré later reminisced that Messiaen, having never seen an organ console before, sat quietly for an hour while Dupré explained and demonstrated the instrument, and then came back a week later to play Johann Sebastian Bach's Fantasia in C minor to an impressive standard. WikipediaWikiProject Composers#Lead section.2 This article is written in British English including maximised use of "-ise"  From 1929 Messiaen regularly deputised for the organist at the Église de la Sainte-Trinité in Paris, Charles Quef, who was ill. The Église de la Sainte-Trinité is a Catholic church located in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, France. When Quef died in 1931 and the post became vacant, Dupré, Charles Tournemire and Widor among others supported Messiaen's candidacy to succeed him. Charles Tournemire ( Bordeaux, January 22 1870 &ndash Arcachon, November 3 1939) was a French Composer With his formal application Messiaen enclosed a letter of recommendation from Widor, and the appointment was confirmed in 1931.  Messiaen remained the organist at la Sainte-Trinité for more than sixty years.
In 1932, Messiaen married the violinist and fellow composer Claire Delbos. Claire Delbos (1906–1959 was a French Violinist and composer and first wife of the composer Olivier Messiaen. Their marriage inspired him to compose works for her to play (Thème et variations for violin and piano in the year they were married), and pieces to celebrate their domestic happiness (including the song cycle Poèmes pour Mi in 1936, which Messiaen orchestrated in 1937). Song cycles in classical music The first generally accepted example of a song cycle is Ludwig van Beethoven 's An die ferne Geliebte (1816 Mi was Messiaen's affectionate nickname for his wife. In 1937 their son Pascal was born. Messiaen's marriage turned to tragedy when his wife lost her memory after an operation, and she spent the rest of her life in mental institutions. 
In 1936, Messiaen, André Jolivet, Daniel-Lesur and Yves Baudrier formed the group La Jeune France ("Young France"). André Jolivet (8 August 1905 &ndash 20 December 1974 was a French composer Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur, known often simply as Daniel-Lesur ( November 19, 1908 &ndash July 2, 2002) was a French organist Their manifesto implicitly attacked the frivolity predominant in contemporary Parisian music, rejecting Jean Cocteau's manifesto Le coq et l'arlequin of 1918 in favour of a "living music, having the impetus of sincerity, generosity and artistic conscientiousness". Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau (5 July 1889 &ndash 11 October 1963 was a French Poet, Novelist, Dramatist, Designer, Boxing  Messiaen's career soon departed from this public phase, however, as the music he was composing at this time was not for public commissions or conventional concerts.
In 1937, in response to a commission for a piece to accompany light- and water-shows on the Seine during the Paris Exposition, Messiaen demonstrated his interest in using the ondes Martenot, an electronic instrument, by composing the unpublished Fêtes des belles eaux for an ensemble of six. The Seine (sɛn in French) is a slow flowing major River and commercial waterway within the regions of Île-de-France and Haute-Normandie The Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (International Exposition dedicated to Art and Technology in Modern Life was held in 1937 in Paris The ondes Martenot (IPA maʀtəno French for "Martenot waves" also known as the ondium Martenot, Martenot and ondes musicales) is an early  He included a part for the instrument in several of his subsequent compositions.
During this period Messiaen composed several multi-movement organ works. He arranged his orchestral suite L'Ascension ("The Ascension") for organ, replacing the orchestral version's third movement with an entirely new movement, Transports de joie d'une âme devant la gloire du Christ qui est la sienne ("Ecstasies of a soul before the glory of Christ, which is its own glory"). L'Ascension ("The Ascension" is a piece for Orchestra, composed by Olivier Messiaen in 1932-33 ( ) This movement became one of Messiaen's most popular pieces. He also wrote the extensive cycles La Nativité du Seigneur ("The Nativity of the Lord") and Les corps glorieux ("The glorious bodies"). The final toccata of La Nativité, Dieu parmi nous ("God among us"), has become another favourite recital piece. Toccata (from Italian toccare, "to touch" is a Virtuoso piece of music typically for a keyboard or Plucked string instrument
At the outbreak of World War II Messiaen was called up into the French army, as a medical auxiliary rather than an active combatant due to his poor eyesight. World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including  In May 1940 he was captured at Verdun, and was taken to Görlitz where he was imprisoned at prison camp Stalag VIII-A. Görlitz ( is a town in Germany on the Lusatian Neisse River in the Bundesland Stalag VIII-A was a World War II German POW camp just east of Görlitz, Germany (currently Zgorzelec, Poland He soon encountered a violinist, a cellist, and a clarinettist among his fellow prisoners. Initially he wrote a trio for them, but gradually incorporated this trio into his Quatuor pour la fin du temps ("Quartet for the End of Time"). Quatuor pour la fin du Temps, also known by its English title Quartet for the End of Time, is a piece of Chamber music by the This was first performed in the camp to an audience of prisoners and prison guards, the composer playing a poorly maintained upright piano, in freezing conditions in January 1941. Thus the enforced introspection and reflection of camp life bore fruit in one of 20th-century European classical music's acknowledged masterpieces. The "end of time" of the title is not purely an allusion to the Apocalypse, the work's ostensible subject, but also refers to the way in which Messiaen, through rhythm and harmony, used time in a way completely different from the music of his predecessors or contemporaries. 
Shortly after his release from Görlitz in May 1941, Messiaen was appointed a professor of harmony at the Paris Conservatoire, where he taught until his retirement in 1978. He also compiled his Technique de mon langage musical ("Technique of my musical language") published in 1944, in which he quotes many examples from his music, particularly the Quartet.
Among Messiaen's early students at the Conservatoire were the composers Pierre Boulez and Karel Goeyvaerts, and the pianist Yvonne Loriod. WikipediaWikiProject Classical music#Biographical_infoboxes --> Pierre Boulez (pjɛʁ buˈlɛz (b Karel Goeyvaerts ( Antwerp 8 June 1923 – February 3 1993, Antwerp was a Belgian Composer. Yvonne Loriod (born 20 January 1924, Houilles, Paris, France) is a French Pianist, and the widow of composer Other pupils later included Karlheinz Stockhausen in 1952, György Kurtág in 1957, and George Benjamin in the second half of the 1970s. As well as being a prominent Composer, the Frenchman Olivier Messiaen was a noted teacher of musical analysis harmony and composition at the Paris Conservatoire from the György Kurtág (ˈɟørɟ ˈkurtaːɡ born February 19, 1926) is a Hungarian composer of Contemporary music. The Greek Iannis Xenakis was briefly referred to him in 1951; Messiaen provided encouragement and exhorted Xenakis to take advantage of his background in mathematics and architecture, and use them in his music. Iannis Xenakis (Ιάννης Ξενάκης (May 29 1922 - February 4 2001 was a Greek modernist composer musical theoretician and architect Although Messiaen was only in his mid-thirties his students of the period later reported that he was already an outstanding teacher, encouraging each of them to find their own voice rather than imposing his own ideas.
In 1943, Messiaen wrote Visions de l'Amen ("Visions of the Amen") for two pianos for Loriod and himself to perform, and shortly afterwards composed the enormous solo piano cycle Vingt regards sur l'enfant-Jésus ("Twenty gazes on the child Jesus") for her. Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus is a collection of pieces by the French Composer Olivier Messiaen for solo Piano. He also wrote Trois petites liturgies de la Présence Divine ("Three small liturgies of the Divine Presence") for female chorus and orchestra which includes a difficult solo piano part, again for Loriod. Messiaen thus continued to bring liturgical subjects into the piano recital and the concert hall.
Two years after Visions de l'Amen, in 1945, Messiaen composed the first of three works on the theme of human (as opposed to divine) love, particularly inspired by the legend of Tristan and Isolde. Sir Tristan ( Latin / Brythonic: Drustanus; Welsh: Drystan; also known as Tristran, Tristram, etc Iseult (alternatively Isolde, Yseult, Isode, Isoude, Isotta) is the name of several characters in the Arthurian story of This was the song cycle Harawi. The second of the Tristan works was the result of a commission from Serge Koussevitsky for a piece (Messiaen stated that the commission did not specify the length of the work or the size of the orchestra); this was the ten-movement Turangalîla-Symphonie. WikipediaWikiProject Classical music#Biographical_infoboxes -->Dr The Turangalîla-Symphonie is a large-scale piece of Orchestral music by Olivier Messiaen. This is not a conventional symphony, but rather an extended meditation on the joy of human love and union. A symphony is a Musical composition, often extended and usually for Orchestra. It lacks the sexual guilt inherent in, say, Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, because Messiaen's attitude was that sexual love is a divine gift. Tristan und Isolde ( Tristan and Isolde, or Tristan and Isolda) is an Opera, or Music drama, in three acts by Richard Wagner  ( ) The third piece inspired by the Tristan myth was Cinq rechants for twelve unaccompanied singers, which Messiaen said was influenced by the alba of the troubadours. Alba is the Scottish Gaelic name (ˈalˠ̪əpə for Scotland. A troubadour ( IPA:, originally) was a composer and performer of Occitan Lyric poetry during the High Middle Ages (1100&ndash1350 
Messiaen visited the United States in 1947, his music being conducted there by Koussevitsky and Leopold Stokowski, and his Turangalîla-Symphonie was first performed there in 1949 conducted by Leonard Bernstein. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the WikipediaWikiProject Classical music#Biographical_infoboxes --> Leopold Stokowski (born Leopold Anthony Stokowski though on occasion WikipediaWikiProject Composers#Lead section --> WikipediaWikiProject Classical music#Biographical_infoboxes During this period, as well as giving an analysis class at the Paris Conservatoire, he also taught in Budapest in 1947 and Tanglewood in 1949; in the summers of 1949 and 1950 he taught in the new music summer school classes at Darmstadt. Musical analysis can be defined as an attempt to answer the Question how does this Music work?. Budapest ( also /ˈbʊ-/) is the capital city of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary it serves as the country's principal Political, Tanglewood is an estate and Music venue in Lenox and Stockbridge Massachusetts and is the home of the annual summer Tanglewood Music Festival Initiated in 1946 by Wolfgang Steinecke, the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik Darmstadt ( Darmstadt International Summer Courses for New Music held annually Darmstadt is a city in the Bundesland Though he never employed twelve-tone technique himself, after three years teaching analysis of scores using it, such as works by Arnold Schoenberg, he did experiment with ways of making scales of other elements (including duration, articulation, and dynamics) analogous to the chromatic pitch scale. Twelve-tone technique (also dodecaphony, especially in British usage twelve-note composition) is a method of musical composition devised by Arnold Arnold Schoenberg ( pronounced ˈʃøːnbɛrk (13 September 1874 &ndash 13 July 1951 was an Austrian and later American Composer, associated with The results of these innovations was the piece "Mode de valeurs et d'intensités" for piano (from the Quatre Études de Rhythme) which has been incorrectly described as the first work of total serialism, though it had a large influence on the earliest European serial composers, including Pierre Boulez, Karel Goeyvaerts, and Karlheinz Stockhausen. In Music, serialism is a technique for composition that uses sets to describe musical elements, and allows the manipulation of those WikipediaWikiProject Classical music#Biographical_infoboxes --> Pierre Boulez (pjɛʁ buˈlɛz (b Karel Goeyvaerts ( Antwerp 8 June 1923 – February 3 1993, Antwerp was a Belgian Composer. During this period he also experimented with musique concrète, music for recorded sounds. Musique concrète ( French; literally "concrete music" is a style of Avant-garde music that relies on recorded sounds including natural
In 1952, Messiaen was asked to provide a test piece for flautists wishing to enter the Paris Conservatoire, and for this he composed the piece Le merle noir for flute and piano. A flautist, flutist, or flute player is a Musician who plays the Flute. While Messiaen had long been fascinated by birdsong, and birds had made appearances in several of his earlier works (for example La Nativité, Quatuor and Vingt regards), the flute piece is based entirely on the song of the blackbird. The Blackbird, Common Blackbird or Eurasian Blackbird ( Turdus merula) is a species of true thrush which breeds in Europe, Asia
He took this development to a new level with his 1953 orchestral work Réveil des oiseaux — the work is composed almost entirely of birdsong, taking as its material the birds one might hear between midnight and noon in the Jura. The Jura Mountains are a small Mountain range located north of the Alps, separating the Rhine and Rhone rivers and forming part of From this period onwards Messiaen incorporated birdsong into all of his compositions, and indeed he composed several works for which birds provide the title and subject matter (for example the collection of thirteen pieces for piano Catalogue d'oiseaux completed in 1958, and La fauvette des jardins of 1971). Far from being simple transcriptions of birdsong, these works are sophisticated tone poems evoking the place and its atmosphere. Paul Griffiths comments that Messiaen was a more conscientious ornithologist than any previous composer, and a more musical observer of birdsong than any previous ornithologist. 
Messiaen's first wife died in 1959 following her long illness, and in 1961 he married Yvonne Loriod. He began to travel widely, both to attend musical events and to seek out and transcribe the songs of more exotic birds. Loriod frequently assisted her husband's detailed studies of birdsongs, which he notated in the wild, by walking with him and making a tape recording for checking later. In 1962 his travels took him to Japan, where Gagaku music and Noh theatre inspired him to compose the orchestral "Japanese sketches", Sept haïkaï, which contain stylised imitations of traditional Japanese instruments. For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Japan topics. Gagaku (ja [[wiktionary雅 雅]][[wiktionary楽 楽]] literally "elegant music" is a type of Japanese classical music that has been performed at the Imperial court or is a major form of classic Japanese musical Drama that has been performed since the 14th century
Messiaen's music was at this time championed by, among others, Pierre Boulez, who programmed first performances at his Domaine musical concerts and the Donaueschingen festival. The Domaine musical was a concert society established by Pierre Boulez in Paris, which was active from 1954 to 1973. Donaueschingen is a German town in the southwest of the federal state Baden-Württemberg in the Schwarzwald-Baar District near the confluence Works performed here included Réveil des oiseaux, Chronochromie (commissioned for the 1960 festival) and Couleurs de la cité céleste. The latter piece was the result of a commission for a composition for three trombones and three xylophones; Messiaen added to this more brass, wind, percussion and piano, and specified a xylophone, xylorimba and marimba rather than three xylophones. The trombone is a Musical instrument in the brass family Like all brass instruments it is a lip-reed Aerophone: sound is produced when the player’s The xylophone (from the Greek words ξύλον - xylon, "wood" + φωνή - phone, "voice" meaning "wooden The xylorimba (sometimes referred to as xylo-marimba or marimba-xylophone) is a pitched percussion instrument corresponding to a Xylophone In some parts of Africa the term "marimba" refers to the Kalimba. Another work of this period, Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorem, was commissioned as a commemoration of the dead of the two World Wars, and was performed first semi-privately in the Sainte-Chapelle, then publicly in Chartres Cathedral with Charles de Gaulle in the audience. La Sainte-Chapelle (The Holy Chapel is a Gothic Chapel on the Île de la Cité in the heart of Paris, France. Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle ( ( 22 November 1890 – 9 November 1970) was a French General and statesman who led the Free French
His reputation as a composer continued to grow. In 1959 Messiaen was nominated as an Officier of the Légion d'honneur, and in 1966 he was officially appointed professor of composition at the Paris Conservatoire (although he had in effect been teaching composition for years). Further honours bestowed on Messiaen later included election to the Institut de France in 1967, the Erasmus Prize in 1971, the award of the Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal in 1975, the Sonning Award (Denmark's highest musical honour) in 1977, and the presentation of the Croix de Commander of the Belgian Order of the Crown in 1980. The Institut de France (French Institute is a French Learned society, grouping five académies, the most famous of which is probably the Académie The Erasmus Prize is an annual prize awarded by the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation, a Dutch non-profit organization to individuals or institutions that have made The Royal Philharmonic Society is a British music society formed in 1813 The Léonie Sonning Music Prize, or Sonning Award, which is recognized as Denmark 's highest musical honor is given annually to an international Musician The Kingdom of Belgium is a Country in northwest Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts its headquarters as well as those The Order of the Crown is an Order of Belgium which was first created in the year 1897 
Messiaen's next work was the enormous La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ. La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ ( The Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ) is a piece of music that was written between 1965 and 1969 by Olivier Messiaen This composition occupied Messiaen from 1965 to 1969 and the forces employed include a 100-voice ten-part choir, seven solo instruments and a large orchestra. Its fourteen movements are a meditation on the story of Christ's Transfiguration. Shortly afterwards Messiaen received a commission from the American Alice Tully for a work to celebrate the bicentenary of the United States Declaration of Independence. Alice Tully ( September 14 1902, Corning, New York &ndash December 10 1993, New York City, New York The United States Declaration of Independence is a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4 1776 announcing that the thirteen American colonies then He arranged a visit to the USA in spring 1972, and was inspired by Bryce Canyon in Utah, where he noted the canyon's distinctive colours and birdsongs. Bryce Canyon National Park (ˈbraɪs is a National park located in southwestern Utah in the United States The State of Utah (ˈjuːtɔː or) is a western state of the United States.  The twelve-movement orchestral piece Des canyons aux étoiles… was the result, which was first performed in 1974 in New York. Des canyons aux étoiles… (From the Canyons to the stars is a twelve-movement work by the French Composer Olivier Messiaen.
Messiaen had been asked as early as 1971 for a piece for the Paris Opéra. Initially reluctant to undertake such a major project, in 1975 Messiaen was finally persuaded to accept the commission and began work on his Saint-François d'Assise. Composition of this work was an intensive task (he also wrote his own libretto), occupying him during the period 1975–79, and then the orchestration was carried out from 1979 until 1983. A libretto is the text used in an extended Musical work such as an Opera, Operetta, Masque, sacred or secular Oratorio and  The work (which Messiaen preferred to call a "spectacle" rather than an opera) was first performed in 1983. Opera is an art form in which Singers and Musicians perform a Dramatic work (called an opera which combines a text (called a Libretto Some commentators at the time of its first production thought that Messiaen's opera would be his valediction (indeed, at times Messiaen himself believed so), but he continued composing, bringing out a major collection of organ pieces, Livre du Saint Sacrement, in 1984, as well as further bird pieces for solo piano and pieces for piano with orchestra.
Messiaen had retired from teaching at the Conservatoire in the summer of 1978. In 1987 he was promoted to the highest rank, Grand-Croix, of the Légion d'honneur.  An operation prevented his participating in events to celebrate his 70th birthday, but in 1988 tributes for Messiaen's 80th birthday around the globe included a complete performance in London's Royal Festival Hall of St. London ( ˈlʌndən is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom. Royal Festival Hall is a concert dance and talks venue within Southbank Centre in London, England. François, which the composer attended, and Erato's publication of a seventeen-CD collection of Messiaen's music including recordings by Loriod and a disc of the composer in conversation with Claude Samuel.
Messiaen's last composition resulted from a commission from the New York Philharmonic Orchestra; although he was in considerable pain near the end of his life (requiring repeated surgery on his back) he was able to complete Éclairs sur l'au-delà…, which premiered six months after the composer's death. Éclairs sur l'au-delà… ("Illuminations (lit 'flashes of lightning' on the beyond…" is an Orchestral piece by the French Composer Messiaen had also been composing a concerto for four musicians he felt particularly grateful to, namely Loriod, the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, the oboist Heinz Holliger and the flautist Catherine Cantin. The violoncello (abbreviated to cello, or 'cello, plural cellos or celli —the c is tʃ WikipediaWikiProject Classical music#Biographical_infoboxes --> Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich KBE ( Russian: Мстисла́в "Hautbois" redirects here for the strawberry variety see Hautbois strawberry. Heinz Holliger (born) is a Swiss oboist, Composer and conductor. This was substantially complete when Messiaen died, and Yvonne Loriod undertook the final movement's orchestration with advice from George Benjamin.
It is almost impossible to mistake a Messiaen composition for the work of any other Western classical composer. The term Western world, the West or the Occident ( Latin: occidens -sunset -west as distinct from the Orient) can have multiple meanings His music has been described as outside the western musical tradition, although growing out of that tradition and influenced by it.  Much of Messiaen's output denies the western conventions of forward motion, development and diatonic harmonic resolution. In European classical music, musical development is a process by which a musical Idea is communicated in the course of a composition. In Music theory, a diatonic scale (from the Greek διατονικος, meaning " through tones" also known as the heptatonia prima and This is partly due to the symmetries of his technique — for instance the modes of limited transposition do not admit the conventional cadences found in western classical music. Symmetry generally conveys two primary meanings The first is an imprecise sense of harmonious or aesthetically-pleasing proportionality and balance such that it reflects beauty or In Western Musical theory, a harmonic cadence (Latin cadentia, "a falling" is a formula of two chords that conclude
Messiaen's youthful love for the fairy-tale element in Shakespeare prefigured his later expressions of what he called "the marvellous aspects of the [Roman Catholic] Faith" — among which may be numbered Christ's Nativity, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension, Transfiguration, the Apocalypse and the hereafter. For depictions in painting and sculpture see Nativity of Jesus in art. Crucifixion (from Latin crucifixio, noun of process crucifixio, from perfect passive participle crucifixus, fixed to a cross from Within the body of Christian beliefs the resurrection of Jesus is a core event on which much of Christian doctrine and theology depend The general and most common understanding of the Christian Doctrine of Ascension holds that Jesus bodily ascended to Heaven in the presence AfterLife is a film drama set in Scotland directed by Alison Peebles made in 2003 about an ambitious Scottish journalist forced to choose between Messiaen was not interested in depicting aspects of theology such as sin; rather he concentrated on the theology of joy, divine love, and human redemption. Theology is the study of a god or the gods from a religious perspective Sin is a term used mainly in a religious context to describe an act that violates a moral Rule, or the state of having committed such a violation Agapē (ˈægəpiː ( Gk αγάπη) is one of several Greek words translated into English as love. In Theology, salvation can mean three related things being saved from or Liberation from something such as Suffering or the punishment of
Although Messiaen continually evolved new composition techniques, he integrated them into his musical style; so, for instance, his final work still retains the use of modes of limited transposition. For many commentators this continual development of Messiaen's musical language made every major work from the Quatuor onwards a conscious summation of all that Messiaen had composed up to that time. However, very few of these major works contain no new technical ideas — simple examples being the introduction of communicable language in Meditations, the invention of a new percussion instrument (the geophone) for Des canyons aux etoiles…, and the freedom from any synchronisation with the main pulse of individual parts in certain birdsong episodes of St. The geophone is a Percussion instrument, invented by the French Composer Olivier Messiaen for use in his piece for Piano and François d'Assise.
As well as discovering new techniques for himself, Messiaen found and absorbed exotic music into his compositional style, including Ancient Greek rhythms, Hindu rhythms (he encountered Śārṅgadeva's list of 120 rhythmic units, the deçî-tâlas) Balinese and Javanese Gamelan, birdsong, and Japanese music (see Example 1 for an instance of his use of ancient Greek and Hindu rhythms). A Hindu ( Devanagari: हिन्दू is an adherent of the philosophies and scriptures of Hinduism, a set of religious, Philosophical
While he was instrumental in the academic exploration of his techniques (he published two treatises, the later one in five volumes which was substantially complete when he died), and was himself a master of music analysis, he considered the development and study of techniques to be a means to intellectual, aesthetic and emotional ends. A treatise is a formal lengthy systematic Discourse on some subject Aesthetics or esthetics ( also spelled æsthetics) is commonly known as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values sometimes called An emotion is a mental and physiological state associated with a wide variety of feelings thoughts and behaviours In this connection, Messiaen maintained that a musical composition must be measured against three separate criteria: to be successful it must be interesting, beautiful to listen to, and it must touch the listener. 
Messiaen wrote a large body of music for the piano. Although a considerable pianist himself, he was undoubtedly assisted by Yvonne Loriod's formidable piano technique and ability to convey complex rhythms and rhythmic combinations; in his piano writing from Visions de l'Amen onwards he had her in mind. Messiaen said, "I am able to allow myself the greatest eccentricities because to her anything is possible. "
Developments in modern French music were a major influence on Messiaen, particularly the music of Claude Debussy and his use of the whole tone scale (which Messiaen called Mode 1 in his modes of limited transposition). Achille-Claude Debussy (aʃil klod dəbysi (August 22 1862 &ndash March 25 1918 was a French Composer. In Music, a whole tone scale is a scale in which each Note is separated from its neighbours by the interval of a Whole step. Although Messiaen very rarely used the whole tone scale in his compositions (because, he said, after Debussy and Dukas there was "nothing to add") he did use similarly symmetric modes.
Messiaen also had a great admiration for the music of Igor Stravinsky, particularly his use of rhythm in earlier works such as The Rite of Spring, and also his use of colour. Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (Игорь Фёдорович Стравинский) ( &ndash 6 April 1971 was a Russian born Composer, considered by many to This article is about the ballet music For the emo/hardcore band see Rites of Spring The Rite of Spring, commonly referred He was also influenced by the orchestral brilliance of Heitor Villa-Lobos, who lived in Paris in the 1920s and gave acclaimed concerts there. Heitor Villa-Lobos (March 5 1887 &ndash November 17 1959 was a Brazilian Composer, possibly the best-known classical composer born in South America Among composers for the keyboard Messiaen singled out Jean-Philippe Rameau, Domenico Scarlatti, Frédéric Chopin, Debussy and Isaac Albéniz. Jean-Philippe Rameau (ʒɑ̃filip ʀaˈmo in French (September 25 1683 – September 12 1764 was one of the most important French Composers and music theorists Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti (October 26 1685 – July 23 1757 was a Neapolitan Composer who spent much of his life in Spain and Portugal. Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz i Pascual (iˈsak alˈβeniθ ( May 29, 1860 &ndash May 18, 1909) was a Spanish Pianist  He also loved the music of Modest Mussorgsky, and Messiaen incorporated varied modifications of what he called the "M-shaped" melodic motif from Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov into his music, although Messiaen characteristically modified the final interval in this motif from a perfect fourth to a tritone (Example 3). Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (Моде́ст Петро́вич Му́соргский Modest Petrovič Musorgskij) ( March 21 March 9 1839 &ndash March Boris Godunov ( Борис Годунов, original Orthography Борисъ Годуновъ, Borís Godunóv) is an Opera by The perfect fourth () is a Musical interval which spans four scale degrees The tritone ( Tri - or three and tone) is a Musical interval that spans three whole tones.
Messiaen was also influenced by Surrealism, as may be seen from the titles of some of the piano Préludes (Un reflet dans le vent…, "A reflection in the wind") and in some of the imagery of his poetry (he published poems as prefaces to certain works, for example Les offrandes oubliées). Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early-1920s and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members
Colour lies at the heart of Messiaen's music. Messiaen said that the terms "tonal", "modal" and "serial" (and other such terms) are misleading analytical conveniences, and that for him there were no modal, tonal or serial compositions, only music with colour and music without colour. Tonality is a system of Music in which specific hierarchical pitch relationships are based on a key "center" or tonic. In Music, a scale is an ordered series of Musical intervals which along with the key or tonic, define the pitches However mode In Music, serialism is a technique for composition that uses sets to describe musical elements, and allows the manipulation of those  For Messiaen the composers Claudio Monteverdi, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Chopin, Richard Wagner, Mussorgsky and Stravinsky all wrote strongly coloured music.  In addition, Messiaen experienced mild synaesthesia, manifested as the experience of colours when he heard or imagined music (he said that he did not perceive the colours visually). Synesthesia (also spelled synæsthesia or synaesthesia, plural synesthesiae or synaesthesiae)—from the Ancient Greek (syn meaning "with" In certain of Messiaen's scores, he notated the colours in the music (notably in Couleurs de la Cité Céleste and Des canyons aux étoiles…) — Messiaen's purpose being to aid the conductor in interpretation rather than to specify which colours the listener should experience. Conducting is the act of directing a Musical performance by way of visible gestures
George Benjamin said, when asked what Messiaen's main influence had been on composers, "I think the sheer […] colour has been so influential, […] rather than being a decorative element, [Messiaen showed that colour] could be a structural, a fundamental element, […] the fundamental material of the music itself. "
Many of Messiaen's composition techniques made use of symmetries of time and pitch. Pitch represents the perceived Fundamental frequency of a sound
From his earliest works Messiaen often used non-retrogradable (palindromic) rhythms (Example 2). A palindrome is a word phrase number or other sequence of units that can be read the same way in either direction (the adjustment of punctuation and spaces between words
Messiaen sometimes combined rhythms with harmonic sequences in such a way that if the process were allowed to proceed indefinitely the music would eventually run through all the possible permutations and return to its starting point. For Messiaen, this represented what he termed the "charm of impossibilities" of these processes. In practice, of course, Messiaen only ever presented a portion of any such process, as if allowing the informed listener a glimpse of something eternal. In the first movement of Quatuor pour la fin du temps the piano and cello together provide an early example.
Messiaen used modes which he referred to as his modes of limited transposition, which are distinguished as groups of notes which can only be transposed by a semitone a limited number of times. The modes of limited transposition are Musical modes which were first compiled by the French composer Olivier Messiaen. In Music transposition refers to the process of moving a collection of notes ( pitches) up or down in pitch by a constant interval. For example the whole tone scale (Messiaen's Mode 1) only exists in two transpositions: namely C–D–E–F♯–G♯–A♯ and D♭–E♭–F–G–A–B. Messiaen abstracted these modes from the harmony of his improvisations and early works.  Music written using the modes avoids conventional diatonic harmonic progressions, since for example Messiaen's Mode 2 (identical to the octatonic scale used also by other composers) permits precisely the dominant seventh chords whose tonic the mode does not contain. An octatonic scale is an eight-note musical scale Among the most famous of these is a scale in which the notes ascend in alternating intervals of a whole step and a half step A seventh chord is a chord consisting of a triad plus a note forming an interval of a Seventh above the chord's root.  For Messiaen the modes also possessed colours.
Messiaen considered his rhythmic contribution to music to be his distinguishing mark among modern composers. As well as making use of non-retrogradable rhythms, and the Hindu decî-tâlas, Messiaen also made use of "additive" rhythms. This involves lengthening individual notes slightly or interpolating a short note into an otherwise regular rhythm (see Example 3 or Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring which Messiaen admired. Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (Игорь Фёдорович Стравинский) ( &ndash 6 April 1971 was a Russian born Composer, considered by many to This article is about the ballet music For the emo/hardcore band see Rites of Spring The Rite of Spring, commonly referredto Danse de fureur from the Quatuor), or shortening or lengthening every note of a rhythm by the same duration (adding a semiquaver to every note in a rhythm on its repeat, for example). This led Messiaen to use rhythmic cells alternating between two and three units, a process which also occurs in
A factor that contributes to Messiaen's suspension of the conventional perception of time in his music is the extremely slow tempos he often specifies (the 5th movement Louange à l'Eternité de Jésus of Quatuor is actually given the tempo marking infiniment lent); and even in his quick music he often uses repeated phrases and harmonies to make the speed seem static.
Messiaen also used the concept of "chromatic durations", for example in his Soixante-quatre durées from Livre d'orgue, () which assigns a distinct duration to 64 pitches ranging from long to short and low to high, respectively.
Messiaen, in addition to making harmonic use of the modes of limited transposition, also cited the harmonic series as a physical phenomenon which provides chords with a context which he felt to be missing in purely serial music. See Harmonic series (mathematics for the (related mathematical concept  An example of Messiaen's harmonic use of this phenomenon, which he called "resonance", is the last two bars of Messiaen's first piano Prélude, La colombe ("The dove"); the chord is built from harmonics of the fundamental base note E. 
Related to this use of resonance, Messiaen also composed music where the lowest, or fundamental, note is combined with higher notes or chords played much more quietly. These higher notes, far from being perceived as conventional harmony, function as harmonics that alter the timbre of the fundamental note like mixture stops on a pipe organ. A mixture is an Organ stop of principal tone quality that contains multiple ranks of pipes. The pipe organ is a Musical instrument that produces sound when pressurized air (wind is driven through a series of pipes, controlled by a keyboard An example is the song of the golden oriole in Le loriot of the Catalogue d'oiseaux for solo piano (Example 4). The Golden Oriole or European (or Eurasian) Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus, is the only member of the Oriole family of passerine
In his use of conventional diatonic chords, Messiaen often transcended their historically banal connotations (for example, his frequent use of the added sixth chord as a resolution). An added tone chord is a triadic chord with an extra "added" note such as the added Sixth. Resolution in western tonal Music theory is the "need" for a sounded Note and/or chord to move from a dissonance (an unstable sound
Birdsong fascinated Messiaen from an early age, and in this he found encouragement from his teacher Dukas who reportedly urged his pupils to "listen to the birds". Messiaen included stylised birdsong in some of his early compositions (for example L'abîme d'oiseaux from the Quatuor), integrating it into his sound-world by techniques like the modes of limited transposition and chord colouration. The birdsong episodes in his work became increasingly sophisticated, and with Le Réveil des Oiseaux this process reached maturity, the whole piece being built from birdsong: in effect it is a dawn chorus for orchestra. The dawn chorus occurs when Songbirds sing at the start of a new day Messiaen even notated the bird species with the music in the score (Examples 1 and 4). The pieces are not simple transcriptions, however: even the works with purely bird-inspired titles, such as Catalogue d'oiseaux and Fauvette des jardins, are tone poems evoking the landscape, its colour and its atmosphere. ( )
For some of his compositions, Messiaen created scales for duration, attack, and timbre which are analogous to the chromatic pitch scale. He expressed annoyance at the historical importance given to one of these works, Mode de valeurs et d'intensités, by musicologists intent on crediting him with the invention of "total serialism". 
In a related development, Messiaen introduced what he called a "communicable language", in which he used a "musical alphabet" to encode sentences. This technique was first introduced in his Meditations sur le mystère de la Sainte Trinité for organ; in this work the "alphabet" also includes motifs for the concepts to have, to be, and God, and the sentences encoded include sections from the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas.
A number of Messiaen's compositions were not sanctioned by the composer for publication. They include the following, some of which have been published posthumously, and some of which are lost.
|SHORT DESCRIPTION||French composer, organist, and ornithologist|
|DATE OF BIRTH||10 December 1908|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Avignon, France|
|DATE OF DEATH||27 April 1992|
|PLACE OF DEATH|
Events 1041 - Empress Zoe of Byzantium elevates her adoptive son to the throne of the Eastern Roman Empire as Michael V Year 1908 ( MCMVIII) was a Leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Leap year Avignon (/aviɲɔ̃/ in French) ( Provençal: Avinhon in classical norm or Avignoun in Mistralian norm is a commune This article is about the country For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic France topics. Events 1124 - David I becomes King of Scotland. 1296 - Battle of Dunbar: The Scots are defeated Year 1992 ( MCMXCII) was a Leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1992 Gregorian calendar)