Saturday, December 10, 2011

Olivier Messiaen: Complete Chronological Catalogue on Spotify

"A true music, that is to say, spiritual, a music which may be an act of faith; a music which may touch upon all subjects without ceasing to touch upon God; an original music, in short, whose language may open a few doors, take down some yet distant stars." - Olivier Messiaen, in the preface of his Technique de mon Langage Musical (Technique of my Musical Language)

Olivier Messiaen was a French composer, organist, teacher, and ornithologist whose music is distinguished by his deep devotion to Catholicism, exoticism, and nature. - AllMusic

On the fall of France in 1940, Messiaen was made a prisoner of war, during which time he composed his Quatuor pour la fin du temps ("Quartet for the end of time") for the four available instruments—piano, violin, cello and clarinet. It was first performed by Messiaen and fellow prisoners for an audience of inmates and prison guards.

He found birdsong fascinating, believed birds to be the greatest musicians, and considered himself as much an ornithologist as a composer. He notated bird songs worldwide and incorporated birdsong transcriptions into most of his music. His innovative use of colour, his conception of the relationship between time and music, his use of birdsong and his desire to express religious ideas are among features that make Messiaen's music distinctive. - Wikipedia

Here's the Spotify playlist: Olivier Messiaen: Complete Chronological Catalogue (357 tracks from more than 60 albums, total time: 36 hours) Ctrl (CMD)+G to browse in album view. Méditations sur le mystère de la Sainte Trinité in this playlist was recorded on the organ of Trinité Church, where Messiaen served as organist for 61 years. You can also hear the composer plays the piano in Poèmes pour Mi in the previous playlist Composer As Pianist. For newbies, try 4 Etudes de rythme, Zion Park et la cité céleste, Quartet For The End Of Time and Vingt Regards Sur L'enfant Jesus first.

Messiaen is Elliott Carter's senior by one day, happy 103rd birthday too.

Below is a list of works in this playlist, including English translation for the original French titles. All works are linked to introductory articles.


  1. Missing the 2nd Rhythmic Etude (Mode de valeurs et d'intensites) - the 2nd Aimard track is the last etude.

  2. Gladly. Awesome list!

  3. This, what you've done for us here, is EXACTLY what I was hoping for with services like Spotify. Thank you so much for the time and effort you put into this, I'm really looking forward to this journey.