Messiaen joins us on his birthday in our Advent entry for today.
Olivier Messiaen was born on December 10th 1908.
His La Nativité du Seigneur, composed when he was 27 and first heard at La Trinité in Paris in 1936, seems appropriate in this season. Even those who don’t particularly enjoy works composed for the Organ tend to appreciate this one – possibly because, as the composer wrote in his preface, he looked for “the emotion and sincerity first.”
The work is structured as nine ‘meditations’ on the Nativity, and was said to have been inspired by the mountains around Grenoble where the composer was living at the time, and by the stained glass windows in medieval churches. Here’s Dame Gillian Weir, who studied with Messiaen, playing ‘Dieu Parmi nous’ (God among us) on the Cavaillé-Coll organ in St Ouen, Rouen.
Watch it here.