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Celebrating the pipe organ, the King of Instruments

[Olivier Messiaen]
Olivier Messiaen

The Nativity of the Lord

…in tribute to Olivier Messiaen on the centenary of his birth, a composite performance of one of his best-loved compositions, La Nativité du Seigneur, music inspired by the birth of Jesus.

Audio 0848 Complete Show 1 hr 28 min

Audio 0848 Part 1 36:16
Audio 0848 Part 2 29:20
Audio 0848 Part 3 22:36

Program Broadcast dates:

  • Week of December 01, 2008

Links and Resources:

  • Printable program listings
  • Sophie Hacker art work - a set of nine separate works, each approximately 23 in [60 cm] square, created in 2007 to illustrate the nine movements in La Nativité du Seigneur
  • Richard Franko Goldman’s review of Simon Preston’s recording of La Nativité du Seigneur on the Argo label. The review appeared in Musical Quarterly. 1967; LIII: pages 290—293. An archive copy can be obtained form JSTOR or from the Music Quarterly Archives

Related Archived Programs:


Music played in the program

Part 1

OLIVIER MESSIAEN: Prelude [1934] –Olivier Latry (1868 Cavaillé-Coll/Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France) Deutsche Grammophon 471 480

OLIVIER MESSIAEN: The Virgin and Child - La Vierge et l’Enfant, Number 1 from La Nativité du Seigneur [1935] –Olivier Messiaen (1868 Cavaillé-Coll/La Trinité, Paris, France) EMI Classics CDC 67400

OLIVIER MESSIAEN: The Shepherds - Les Bergers, Number 2 –Jennifer Bate (1979 Danion-Gonzalez/Cathédrale, Beauvais, France) Unicorn-Kanchana 9005

OLIVIER MESSIAEN: Eternal Purposes - Desseins éternels, Number 3 –Erik Boström (1949 Marcussen/Oscarskyrkan, Stockholm, Sweden) Proprius PRCD-9009

Part 2

OLIVIER MESSIAEN: The Word - Le Verbe, Number 4 –Marie-Claire Alain (1977 Kuhn/Hofkirche St. Leodegar, Luzern, Switzerland) Erato ECD-45470

OLIVIER MESSIAEN: The Children of God - Les Enfants de Dieu, Number 5 –Wolfgang Rübsam (1880 Cavaillé-Coll/Cathédrale Sainte-Croix, Orleans, France) Bayer BR100 004

OLIVIER MESSIAEN: The Angels - Les Anges, Number 6 –Susan Landale (1852 Cavaillé-Coll/Église Saint-Vincent de Paul, Paris, France) ADDA CD-581039

OLIVIER MESSIAEN: Jesus accepts suffering - Jésus accepte la souffrance, Number 7 –Rudolf Innig (1976 Breil/St. Martin Church, Bad Lippspringe, Germany) Dabringhaus und Grimm MDG 317 0009

Part 3

OLIVIER MESSIAEN: The Magi - Les Mages, Number 8 –Dame Gillian Weir (1929; 1993 Frobenius/Århus Domkirke [Århus Cathedral], Denmark) Priory PRCD921

OLIVIER MESSIAEN God among us - Dieu parmi nous, Number 9 –Pierre Cochereau (1868 Cavaillé-Coll/Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France) Philips 446 642

Filler –OLIVIER MESSIAEN: The Magi (see above)

 

Olivier Messiaen [December 10, 1908 — April 27, 1992], the most important composer of organ music in the 20 th century, took inspiration from his intense religious faith coupled to a mystic’s vision. He created a unique musical language that would evolve to embrace Gregorian chant, ancient Greek and Hindu rhythms, intensely colorful chordal harmonies, and the songs of birds. In La Nativité du Seigneur, in ways which simultaneously seem somewhat strange and strangely engaging, he creates a sequence of nine vivid scenes that capture the essence of that first Christmas, its characters, events and ideals.