The Life of Messiaen

There can be little doubt that Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) is the most profoundly theological composer of the 20th century. Virtually all his pieces bear some form of explicit Christian intent or reference. The titles, the biblical quotations and the ascriptions he attaches to his scores, his spoken commentaries at performances and his writings and interviews all evince a devout and passionate Roman Catholic, eager that the often weighty and dense theological symbolism of his music not be missed and that the listener sense something of God’s presence in and through it.


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