Friday, September 18, 2009

Organ works of Olivier Messiaen

Olivier Messiaen was one of the most important composers of the twentieth century, mostly remembered for the Quartet for the End of Time, a chamber piece he wrote while in a Nazi concentration camp. I personally love that piece, but Messiaen had such a wide range of influences (birdsong, French Impressionism, Ancient Greek and Hindu music, etc.) that it is impossible to know him just from one piece. Although it is not easy music to listen to, one can hear passion often not heard in serialist music, stemming from his endless Roman Catholicism, as seen in the titles of his pieces.

This is a 4 disc set of his organ works played by Messiaen himself, so excuse the gigantic file size. It is not often that one gets to hear composers performing their own work, but these rare occasions offer a glimpse into the composer's music performed exactly as it was conceived.

I also recommend everyone find his Quartet for the End of Time, the timbral variation might be good for those put off by an organ's sound.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this - I've got all of his organ works on vinyl and was dreading spending a whole day converting them.

I am so addicted to this man's music. It took a long time to even begin to get my head around it, but I can tell it will provide me with mysteries to lose myself in for a long time.