Olivier Messiaen

Robert Sholl


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Reaktion Books
13 May 2024
ISBN: 9781789148657
208 pages

From the publisher

Explores the life, ideas and music of visionary composer Olivier Messiaen.

This groundbreaking biography offers fresh perspectives on the life, ideas and music of French twentieth-century composer, organist and ornithologist Olivier Messiaen. Drawing on previously unexplored sketches and archival material, Robert Sholl seamlessly combines elements of biography, musicology, theology, philosophy, psychoanalysis and aesthetics to present a nuanced perspective on Messiaen’s work. This book examines the profound impact of Messiaen’s devout Catholicism, which found expression through his work as a church organist, his engagement with birdsong, his interaction with Surrealism and his influence on major musical figures of the latter twentieth century. Unlike previous biographies, this book also considers the perspectives of Messiaen’s contemporaries and students, providing a comprehensive understanding of his life and artistic legacy.