Olivier Messiaen – “Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum”

by richibi

just in time for Easter here is something from
Olivier Messiaen, whom I consider to be, after
Shostakovich, the most important composer of
the Twentieth Century, and may one day, with
more distance, prove to be, of the two,
preeminent 
  
Messiaen, a devout Catholic, wrote specifically
to the glory of the Catholic God, an interesting
return to the music of the Baroque period, and
earlier, when the Church sponsored essentially
all the arts  
 
perhaps Messiaen is also a precursor – the Et
exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum“, which
I’m presenting, or, in my humble Latin,”In 
is from 1964 – of the resurgent fundamentalism
we’ve been witnessing in all churches,
synagogues, mosques, in our own times
 
Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum“, is
not at all Romantic, not even Impressionistic,
two world wars have been fought since, man  
has stepped on the unglorious moon, God even
died in the early sixties leaving us to reinvent
our own future, a time of youth and flowers,
and great indeed expectations, as it turned out  
 
the even profound assumptions of the earlier
order however, in the language of music
represented fundamentally by beat and tonality, 
hadn’t worked, couldn’t work anymore, having
been manifestly discredited, women had received 
the vote, financial and sexual independence,
traditional authority had been categorically
overthrown, there was no going back
 
 
Richard Strauss had already suggested this new
broader horizon, in 1896, with his “Also Sprach 
Zarathustra, a mighty work, made famous, even
unforgettable, by the movie  “2001: A Space   
Odyssey“, when the very sun bursts upon the
intergalactic universe to its interstellar strains
 
but Messiaen takes you even further into the
reaches of the infinite 
 
I couldn’t help thinking of a more adult Miró –
the individualized elements – but more profoundly 
metaphysical, I have rarely seen, heard, something
so transfixing, powerful, even the silences between
movements, there are five, are riveting
 
 
happy Easter

 
Richard 
 
 
 
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