ART/4/LIFE: #2 – Olivier Messiaen

A cappella choral music is my jam. I live it, I breathe (to) it. In the great abyss of vocal music I’m especially drawn to the mystical works of composers like Hildegard von Bingen, Arvo Pärt, and, most of all, Olivier Messiaen. I remember sitting, score in hand and mind blown, the first time I heard Quatour pour la fin du temps. Messiaen’s music is ripe with dualities (ecstasy v. damnation, nature v. man, classicism v. modernism) and I do love the extremes. (He really liked birds too, like really.)

The latin text of the motet O sacrum convivium (1937) comes from Thomas Aquinas and praises the mystery of the Christian Eucharist. However, these words also venerate the connections that sustain us through food, community, and love. These ideas in harmony with the intensely chromatic and lush music make for a resplendent three and a half minutes.

One thought on “ART/4/LIFE: #2 – Olivier Messiaen

  1. Love the Hildegard selections! Could not find the Messiaen motet you were referencing. The cello solo is almost TOO slow, although that may be the tempo marked.

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