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Olivier Messiaen: Livre du Saint Sacrement

By Colin Andrews

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By Colin Andrews. By Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992). Country of Origin: United States. Classical. CD (2 discs). Published by Naxos (NX.LRCD-1152-53).

Item Number: NX.LRCD-1152-53

The "Livre du Saint Sacrement" is a summation of Messiaen's musical and theological persona, a statement of faith and a profound summary of his entire organ "oeuvres." In this work he employs the significant compositional techniques of his life's work as an organ composer: modes of limited transposition as the basis for his harmonies, Hindu rhythms, Greek rhythms, plainsong, birdsong, "communicable language," and serialism. As always these compositional elements are used to explore the mysteries of Christian faith, in this, his most massive work. Born in Avignon to Pierre Messiaen, a Shakespeare scholar, and the poet Cecile Sauvage, Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) exhibited a rare musical talent from an early age. He was admitted to the Paris Conservatory at age eleven, where he won five First Prizes- notably in classes with Marcel Dupre, Maurice Emmanuel, and Paul Dukas. In 1930, he was appointed Organiste Titulaire of Sainte Trinite Church in Paris, a position he held until the early 1970s. At the outbreak of WWII, he became a French army hospital attendance, and in 1941 was taken prisoner and held in a POW camp in Silesia (where he composed Quartet for the End of Time). Upon his repatriation in 1942, he was appointed professor of harmony at the Paris Conservatory. During his lifetime, Messiaen was famed as an organist and pianist and frequently performed his own difficult compositions in concerts around the world. Colin Andrews is an internationally famous concert artist, with extensive experience in the music of Messiaen. One of only four organists to have recorded Messiaen's complete organ works, Andrews was recently named "Membre d'Honneur" of the Association Grand Orgue Trinite Messiaen, based at Messiaen's church in Paris.

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