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Imke List
T. +49 / (0)89 / 6 36 - 3 29 07
list@evs-musikstiftung.ch


Tanja Pröbstl
T. +49 / (0)89 / 6 36 - 3 29 07
proebstl@evs-musikstiftung.ch

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Press

Contact

Imke List
T. +49 / (0)89 / 6 36 - 3 29 07
list@evs-musikstiftung.ch


Tanja Pröbstl
T. +49 / (0)89 / 6 36 - 3 29 07
proebstl@evs-musikstiftung.ch

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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.

Messiaen found birdsong fascinating; he believed birds to be the greatest musicians and considered himself as much an ornithologist as a composer. He notated birdsongs worldwide, and he incorporated birdsong transcriptions into a majority of his music. 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.

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. For a short period Messiaen experimented with the parametrization associated with “total serialism”, in which field he is often cited as an innovator. 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.

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 BryceCanyon in Utah, and the life of St. Francis of Assisi.

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