#frenchcomposer

The Birth of Modern Music Series Part 4: Olivier Messiaen

Welcome back to Sonosphere’s Birth of Modern Music series featuring modern European, classical composers that inspired the experimental, avant garde art and music scenes of the 50s, 60s and resonate in music composition today.

In the first episode of the series we highlighted Arnold Schoenberg whose atonal works ushered in a  new school  of composers. Then we moved to Erik Satie whose Vexations and other “sonic experiments” influenced his peers and John Cage who discovered the piece years later.  After that we covered Edgard Varese, a peculiar composer who sculpted sounds in a way never accomplished previously. Today we will delve into the life and works of Olivier Messiaen.

Messiaen escaped the world of composition’s shift to serialism through religion, nature, and birdsong, but he had a profound influence on the evolution of electronic music composition through composers like Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez, and Xenakis. 

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Thanks for listening!

Songs in this month’s episode:

  1. Des Canyons Aux Etoiles I: Le Desert
  2. Des Canyons Aux Etoiles II: Les Orioles
  3. Preludes: La Colombe (The Dove)
  4. Quartet for the End of Time
  5. Turangalila – Symphonie
  6. Mode de valeurs et d’intensites
  7. Meditations sur le mystere de la Sainte Trinite

 

photo: Catalogue d’Oiseaux: styriarte.com

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For the Birds

Composer Oliver Messiaen at Piano

This month’s episode highlights French composer, Olivier Messiaen.

Messiaen famously thought birds to be the “greatest musicians existing on our planet.” From a Nazi concentration camp, to the halls of the Sainte Trinité church in Paris, Messiaen’s compositions influenced by birdsong, the Catholic religion, and modern atonal music alike, set him apart as one of history’s greatest modern composers.

Ahead of this month’s episode we have prepared for you a playlist of Messiaen’s compositions. Check it out!

The Birth of Modern Music Series Part 3: Edgard Varese

Varese searched for the modern sound, the sound that would define his generation. Like Schoenberg before him, Varese’s early atonal period broke down language and form into a stream of sensations – “his screaming chords seemed to have no emotion tied to them, no history or future” – just very present in the now.

Join us on the journey through the life and mind of French American composer Edgard Varese.

Edgard Varese “An Ear Opening Experience”

The next episode of Sonosphere will feature French composer Edgard Varese, often described as the “Father of Electronic Music.” A Sunday Times review called Varese “The great emancipator of noise, he transformed the clamor of big city life into clear musical images.”

John Cage said of Varese, he “fathered forth noise,” which “makes him more relative to the present musical necessity than even the Viennese masters.” Check out the playlist below and whet your appetite for this “ultra-modern” composer.