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This is not a definitive bibliography but rather a selection of key publications by scholars and authors from around the world.


Olivier Messiaen par 

Gaëtan Puaud

Bleu nuit éditeur

EAN : 9782358840989
Horizons N°77
Parution : 01/2021
176 pages
Format : 140 x 200 mm

Gaëtan Puaud is a long-time champion of Messiaen and his music and has held the position of director of the Festival de la Meije dedicated to Olivier Messiaen for 20 years. This first biography for the 'horizons collection' not only traces Messiaen's life in music and the arts but also reveals how Messiaen's work was received and promoted outside of Europe. In particular the efforts of Russian pianist Gregory Haimovsky who single handedly introduced the music of Messiaen to the Soviet Union, with great courage and in spite of several persecutions. He himself was spiritually transformed by the music of Messiaen and premiered several works in Russia and made a couple of recordings for Melodiya, Russia's national record label.


As one of only a few pieces not primarily inspired by Messiaen's Catholic faith, but by human love as described in the romance of Tristan and Isolde and elsewhere, the Turangalîla-symphonie is contextualized in Messiaen's oeuvre and as a genre piece. Using previously untranslated information from Messiaen's own description of the work in his Traité, close analysis of the music seeks to demystify some of the complex innovations he made to his musical language, especially in the areas of rhythm and orchestration. This Element pays special attention to the fragmentary and elusive program which is explained with reference to Messiaen's fascination with surrealism at this time. Information is included on the commission and composition of the piece, its premiere by the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein, its revision by Messiaen in 1990, and its reception history in both live and recorded performances.

Series: Elements in Music since 1945

Online ISBN: 9781009165723

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Print publication: 05 October 2023




This groundbreaking biography offers fresh perspectives on the life, ideas and music of French twentieth-century composer, organist and ornithologist Olivier Messiaen. Drawing on previously unexplored sketches and archival material, Robert Sholl seamlessly combines elements of biography, musicology, theology, philosophy, psychoanalysis and aesthetics to present a nuanced perspective on Messiaen’s work. This book examines the profound impact of Messiaen’s devout Catholicism, which found expression through his work as a church organist, his engagement with birdsong, his interaction with Surrealism and his influence on major musical figures of the latter twentieth century. Unlike previous biographies, this book also considers the perspectives of Messiaen’s contemporaries and students, providing a comprehensive understanding of his life and artistic legacy.


1 May 2024 - 9781789148657

234 mm x 156 mm | 208 pages

Hardback | £25

World Rights: Reaktion


Gregory Heimovsky: A Pianist's Odyssey to Freedom

University of Rochester Press; Illustrated edition (25 Jun. 2018)

Language ‏ : ‎ English

Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 280 pages

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1580469310

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1580469319

Interlacing material from previously unknown Russian archives, original recordings, photographs, and essays, Gregory Haimovsky: A Pianist's Odyssey to Freedom is the story of an extraordinary Russian concert pianist who, fighting the cultural prohibitions of the USSR, eventually succeeded in performing and recording major works by the prominent French composer Olivier Messiaen. At the lowest point of his life, expelled from Moscow and exiled to a small provincial city, Haimovsky discovered Messiaen's oeuvre uncatalogued and hidden in the library of the Union of Soviet Composers. Haimovsky's intense studies and Soviet premieres of these banned compositions healed and liberated his mind, spirit, and artistic imagination. Messiaen's music also deepened and fueled Haimovsky's fierce personal and musical opposition to Soviet political and cultural doctrines. Told partly in Haimovsky's own words and supplemented by interviews with several performers who worked with him between 1960 and 1972 as well as stories from his correspondence with major Russian artists, writers, and musicians of the time, Marissa Silverman's vivid narrative sheds new light on relationships between twentieth-century Russian music, Soviet politics, and the culture wars that raged during and after Stalin's barbaric rule.


Here is a very moving letter from Messiaen to Haimovsky, thanking him with all his heart for having struggled to introduce his music in Russia. (from Gregory Heimovsky's personal archive)


Boydell Press 

ISBN-10: 1783270136

ISBN-13: 978-1783270132

The music critic Felix Aprahamian (1914-2005) was a remarkable self-made man whose enormous influence in musical circles was deeply founded in his practical experience of promoting music in London, notably British and French composers. Early on he became interested in the organ and was soon corresponding with the leading French names of the day - André Marchal, Charles Tournemire, Maurice Duruflé and the young Olivier Messiaen.


Et Exspecto... 

Festival Messiaen au pays de la Meije - 20 ans d'utopie

Raphaëlle Blin
with the photos of Colin Samuels

Gaëtan Puaud, fondateur du Festival Olivier Messiaen au Pays de la Meije

Raphaëlle Blin, auteure et élève musicologue du Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris

Anne Roubet, responsable des Éditions du Conservatoire

See Home page for Special Offer purchase details.


Roderick Chadwick and Peter Hill give a detailed account of the evolution of Olivier Messiaen's Catalogue d'oiseaux  and  illuminates the Catalogue from a variety of angles: its historical significance, as a study of how mimicry of nature can be transformed into music of mesmeric originality, and as a guide that offers a wealth of fresh insights to listeners and performers. Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 9781107000315.


Messiaen: Texts, Contexts, and Intertexts (1937-1948) the late French literature scholar Richard Burton examines nine of Messiaen's works in the context of the broader French Catholic intellectual tradition. Burton creates a vivid picture of the previously unexamined spiritual and philosophical inspirations behind Messiaen's pivotal mid-century compositions. Oxford University Press ISBN: 9780190277949.


Le Modèle et l'Invention. Olivier Messiaen et la technique de l'emprunt. 
Yves Balmer, Thomas Lacôte et Christopher Brent Murray - préface deGeorge Benjamin.
This book shows that Olivier Messiaen built his unique compositions by transforming the music he loved. Messiaen drew compositional material from eclectic sources ranging from the melodic curves of Mozart and Rameau to the irrational rhythms of Debussy and Jolivet; Publisher : Symétrie ISBN 978-2-36485-045-3


Four Last SongsAging and Creativity in Verdi, Strauss, Messiaen and Britten 
by Linda Hutcheon and Michael Hutcheon

Though it exhausted him physically and emotionally, Messiaen at the age of seventy-five finished his only opera, Saint François d’Assise, which marked the pinnacle of his career. Britten, meanwhile, suffering from heart problems, refused surgery until he had completed his masterpiece, Death in Venice. For all four composers, age, far from sapping their creative power, provided impetus for some of their best accomplishments. University of Chicago Press. ISBN: 9780226420684


Olivier Messiaen: A Research and Information Guide, Second Edition, presents researchers with the most significant and helpful resources on Olivier Messiaen, one of the twentieth century's greatest composers. With multiple indices, this annotated bibliography will serve as an excellent tool for librarians, researchers, and scholars sorting through the massive amount of material in the field. The second edition has been fully revised and updated. Routledge ISBN 9781138106505. 


The Doctoral dissertation “The Sounds of the Rainbow” is a study on La Nativité du
Seigneur for organ by Olivier Messiaen.
The work

inquires especially:

History of La Nativité

Analysis of the musical language

Relation between the musical language and Messiaen’s theological mind.The dissertation inquires expecially in depth the relationship between Messiaen and the synaesthetic painter Charles Blanc-Gatti, who painted nine pastels on La Nativité.  A theology of the organ is also remarked. 
In Italian by Dario Paolini


Quartet for the End of Time  by Johanna Skibsrud

Windmill Books,Language: English ISBN-10: 0099558629
A mesmerising tale of love, justice and the connections that transcend the passage of time, from the Giller prize-winning author Johanna Skibsrud. 


Visions of Amen: The Early Life and Music of

Olivier Messiaen
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company 
Language: English ISBN-10: 0802807623 ISBN-13: 978-0802807625

This book explores the enormous web of influences in the early part of Messiaens long life. The first section of the book provides an intellectual biography of Messiaens early life in order to make his (difficult) music more accessible to the general listener. The second section offers an analysis of and thematic commentaries on Messiaens pivotal work for two pianos, Visions of Amen, composed in 1943. Schloessers analysis includes timing indications corresponding to a downloadable performance of the work by accomplished pianists Stéphane Lemelin and Hyesook Kim.


Book by Carola Lambruschini -
450 pages, 90 musical examples, a wealth of synoptical tables - italian language
ABEditore, Milano, 2013. Collana: Saggistica musicale.
ISBN-10: 8865511389 
ISBN-13: 978-8865511381 


Messiaen Perspectives 1: Sources and Influences. Ashgate
ISBN: 978-1-4094-2695-0

Edited by Christopher Dingle, Birmingham Conservatoire, UK and Robert Fallon, Carnegie Mellon School of Music, USA

Sources and Influences presents many new primary sources, including discussion of Messiaen’s birdsong cahiers, sketch and archival materials for his Prix de Rome entries and war-time Portique, along with performance practice insights and theological inspiration in works as diverse as Visions de l’Amen, Harawi, Timbres-durées and the organ Méditations. The volume places the composer within a broader historical and cultural framework than has previously been attempted, ranging from specific influences to more general contexts. As a centrepiece, the book includes an examination of the impact of one of the greatest influences upon Messiaen, Yvonne Loriod.


Messiaen Perspectives 2: Techniques, Influence and Reception
ISBN: 978-1-4094-2696-7

Techniques, Influence and Reception explores Messiaen’s imprint on recent musical life. The first part scrutinizes his compositional technique in terms of counterpoint, spectralism and later piano music, while the second charts ways in which Messiaen’s influence is manifest in the music and careers of Ohana, Xenakis, Murail and Quebecois composers. The third part includes case studies of Messiaen’s reception in Italy, Spain and the USA. The volume also includes an ornithological catalogue of Messiaen’s birds, collates information on the numerous ‘tombeaux’ pieces he inspired, and concludes with a Critical Catalogue of Messiaen’s Musical Works.


Messiaen's Musical Techniques: The Composer's View and Beyond
by Gareth Healey.
April 2013. Ashgate ISBN: 978-1-4094-4825-9

Despite Messiaen's position as one of the greatest technical innovators of the twentieth century, his musical language has not been comprehensively defined and investigated. The composer's 1944 theoretical study, The Technique of My Musical Language, expounds only its initial stages, and while his posthumously published Traité de rythme, de couleur, et d'ornithologie contains detailed explanations of selected techniques, in most cases the reader is left to define these more precisely by observing them in the context of Messiaen's analyses of his own works. Gareth Healey charts the development and interconnections, considers their relationship with formal structures, and applies them in refined and extended form to works for which Messiaen himself left no published analysis. The method of analysing Messiaen's harmonies outlined in this book has been implemented in software available for download at


Les Chants du silence Broché – Béatrice MARCHAL
Delatour France; Édition : Collection Pensée Musicale dirigée par Jean-Michel Bardez 
Language : Français-ISBN-10: 2752100671 ISBN-13: 978-2752100672 
On a souvent répété, à la suite d'Olivier Messiaen lui-même, que sa mère Cécile Sauvage avait, en écrivant L'Ame en bourgeon, déterminé sa vocation d'artiste et de musicien. 
Tout n'était pas dit pour autant et la découverte récente de manuscrits longtemps cachés a révélé quel drame intime avait précipité la mélancolie puis la mort de cette femme bien différente de l'image  convenue qui nous en est restée. Devant le malheur de sa mère, l'enfant impuissant aurait alors exploité ses dons musicaux hors du commun comme l'opportunité d'instaurer 
une relation soustraite à l'inavouable, aussi intense que les mots. L'enfermement dans la douleur et le mutisme aurait ainsi trouvé remède dans une musique tissée de silence. Collection Pensée Musicale


Birdsong in the music of Olivier Messiaen by David Kraft  Arosa Press. ISBN 978-1477517796

In this book, Dr David Kraft surveys and evaluates Messiaen's use of birdsong and formulates a chronological and critical taxonomy of his music, covering the species involved and his evolving methods of manipulation, instrumentation and harmonic incorporation. He also explores issues relating to authenticity and modification with respect to the incorporation of birdsong in Messiaen's music. Further, he develops appropriate graphical and tabular methods in order to help the reader better to understand his music.



(Ashgate, ISBN 9780754606338)

Messiaen's Final Works examines the seven works which Messiaen completed after Saint François and argues that, following the crisis provoked by the opera, his music underwent a discernible change in style. In addition, the book uses the works in question to examine the characteristics of Messiaen's music, with a particular emphasis on an often overlooked aspect of his technique: harmony. In the process, many other questions are addressed, such as the ways in which Messiaen utilizes birdsong within a larger structure. Messiaen's Final Works is in three parts. Part I begins with a brief historical survey before discussing Saint François d'Assise as the work which defines everything that follows. Part II examines the series of miniatures whose significance belies their (relatively) modest proportions. Not only do they provide an indication of Messiaen's artistic self-confidence, but they also contain important links with his final masterpiece, Éclairs sur l'au-delà.. This sublime eleven movement work for large orchestra is the subject of Part III, and is the focus of the book. Each movement is analysed in turn, before the work is considered as an entity and its hidden structure and motivic cohesion is discussed. 


OLIVIER MESSIAEN-JOURNALIST: by Stephen Broad. Published Ashgate: 
(ISBN: 978-0-7546-0876-9)

Contents: Preface; Introduction; The Journalism: Articles for la revue musicale; Articles for La Sirène (later La Syrinx); Articles for Le monde musical; Articles for La Page musicale; Articles for various other journals; A catalogue of Messiaen's journalism; Selected personalia; Bibliography; Index.


Religion and Faith as 
Essential Artistic Energies in the Works of Olivier Messiaen 
and Other Composers 
Herausgeber: Goetze, Albrecht U. Hiekel, Jörn P.; Goetze, Albrecht; Hiekel, Jörn P.
Published by:Wolke Verlagsges. ISBN 10: 3936000263. 


Edited by Judith Crispin 

In 2008 musicians and scholars world-wide celebrated the centenary of Olivier Messiaen's birth. One of the most influential composers in living memory, Messiaen is remembered as a great nature poet - a mystic whose music had a profound effect on the Twentieth-century avant-garde. This volume of essays, marking the occasion of Messiaen's centenary, was authored by musicologists, performers, composers, ornithologists and researchers from Australia, Germany, France, North America, Japan, New Zealand, Serbia and England. The writers, internationally acclaimed experts as well as emerging scholars, span three generations - living testimony to the diverse and lasting sphere of Messiaen's legacy.
ISBN: 9781443824989 - Cambridge Scholars Publishing


The Miracle of Stalag 8A. Beauty Beyond the Horror by John William McMullen 

ASIN: B0040GJI6C - ISBN 978-0-9826255-2-151995 
The Miracle of Stalag 8A is a retelling of the fascinating story of Olivier Messiaen's composition of his Quartet for the End of Time. 
The enigmatic Messiaen, an avant-garde composer and also a devout Catholic, along with Etienne Pasquier, an agnostic cellist, Henri Akoka, a Jewish Trotskyite Clarinetist, and Jean le Boulaire, an atheistic violinist, become the famous quartet of Stalag 8A. These four very different men collaborated to create musical history in the most unlikely of places. Messiaen's Quartet, composed in a Stalag, transforms man's inhumanity to man with hope.



Olivier Messiaen - Dai canyons alle stelle by Peter Hill

Pub: Il Saggiatore (Italian) EAN9788842814856 

A century after his birth, Messiaen's work was missing in Italy. This gap is now filled by this book edited by the English pianist and musicologist Peter Hill, a former pupil of Messiaon and Yvonne Loriod. Here, broken down by gender, the vast production of the French master is addressed by scholars such as Wilfred Mellers, Jane Manning. Richard Steinitz, Paul Griffith and Hill himself. The work is completed by two introductory articles that emphasize the breadth of the cultural life and work of Messiaen: music of the Greeks, that of India and Japan, the song of birds, and structuralism Darmstadtium and more.


Messiaen the Theologian. Edited by Andrew Shenton, Boston University, USA Ashgate. 
ISBN: 978-0-7546-66400 

An international array of Messiaen scholars cover a wide variety of topics including Messiaen's personal spirituality, the context of Catholicism in France in the twentieth century, and comparisons between Messiaen and other artists such as Dante and T.S. Eliot. Interdisciplinary methodologies such as exegesis, theological studies and analysis are used to contribute to the understanding of several major works including Éclairs sur l'au-delá..., Sept Haïkaï and Saint François d'Assise.


La Maison Dieu Olivier Messiaen, les couleurs del Parole. 

Publisher: Cerf (2 July 2009) Articles by: Heller - Toury - Guiberteau - Fort - Girault - Sakharov
Language: French ASIN: B001VFNXUC


Messiaen: Transcending Time 
(ISBN: 363909574X / 3-639-09574-X )
Mareli Stolp. Publisher: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller

Olivier Messiaen, one of the most prolific composers of the 20th Century, was a devout Catholic whose compositions were very often inspired by the ideals of his faith. A theme that recurrs often in his works is music's relationship to time, and the linear nature of the passage of time as human beings comprehend it. It is Messiaen's ideal to write music that aspires to reach a divine level, free from human constraints. The most important of these constraints is time, music being dependant on the linear passage of time. By using a variety of techniques, Messiaen tries to alter the linear nature of time, thus reaching Divinity on a symbolic level. This book discusses the reasons for Messiaen's attitude towards time in music. It also gives a thorough analyses of two major works, the Visions de l'Amen and the Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant Jesus, as examples of Messiaen's techniques for approaching time in music.


Performing Messiaen's Organ Music: 66 Masterclasses by Jon Gillock. Publisher: Indiana University Press English
ISBN-10: 0253353734 - ISBN-13: 978-0253353733

Messiaen was the most influential composer for the organ in the 20th century. Shaped by French tradition as well as the innovations of Debussy, Stravinsky, and Bartók, Messiaen developed a unique style that would become his signature. Using Messiaen's own analytical and aesthetic notes as a point of departure, Jon Gillock offers detailed commentary on the performance of Messiaen's 66 organ works. Gillock provides background information on the composition and premiere of each piece, a translation of Messiaen's related writings, and a systematic explanation of performance considerations. Gillock also supplies details about the organ at La Trinité in Paris, the instrument for which most of Messiaen's pieces were imagined.


The Reinvention of Religious Music: Olivier Messiaen's Breakthrough Toward the Beyond by Sander van Maas. Fordham University Press ISBN-13: 9780823230587

On the basis of a careful analysis of Olivier Messiaen's work, this book argues for a renewal of our thinking about religious music. Addressing his notion of a “hyper-religious” music of sounds and colors, it aims to show that Messiaen has broken new ground. The work of Olivier Messiaen is well known for its inclusion of religious themes and gestures. These alone, however, do not seem enough to account for the religious status of the work. Arguing for a “breakthrough toward the beyond” on the basis of the synaesthetic experience of music, Messiaen invites a confrontation with contemporary theologians and post-secular thinkers. Starting from an analysis of his 1960s oratorio La Transfiguration de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ, this book arranges a moderated dialogue between Messiaen and the music theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar, the phenomenology of revelation of Jean-Luc Marion, the rethinking of religion and technics in Jacques Derrida and Bernard Stiegler, and the Augustinian ruminations of Søren Kierkegaard and Jean-François Lyotard. Ultimately, this confrontation underscores the challenging yet deeply affirmative nature of Messiaen's music.


Italian musician and musicologist Chiara Bertoglio's book, "Per Sorella Musica" deals with the most important musical versions of St. Francis' "Canticle of the Creatures" in 20th century classical music. Sizeable chunks of the book are devoted to Messiaen's St. François d'Assise. ISBN: 8874025157. Publisher: Effatà, Italy. 


Olivier Messiaen: a bibliographical catalogue of Messiaen's works : first editions and first performances : with illustrations of the title pages, programmes and documents.
by Nigel Simeone. Schneider, 1998. ISBN    3795209471, 9783795209476


Olivier Messiaen: Saint François d'Assise. Cammino verso la joie parfaite:
With musical examples
pp. 146 - cm. 17x24 - Euro 25,00 - - ISBN 13: 978-88-87203-76-9



Publisher: HARMATTAN ISBN: 9782296056657 in French 

Ce livre examine l'influence profonde de la religion sur le langage musical d'Olivier Messiaen. Dans la première partie, il décrit la relation pratiquement invariable entre certains motifs, accords et autres composants musicaux et leur signification théologique. Dans les seconde et troisième parties, les intuitions développées autour de ce "vocabulaire musico-théologique" sont appliquées à une analyse détaillée et approfondie de deux cycles fondamentaux de ce compositeur, Visions de l'Amen pour deux pianos (1943) et Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus pour piano seul (1944).


Messiaen's Contemplations of Covenant and Incarnation: 
Musical Symbols of Faith in the Two Great Piano Cycles of the 1940s by Siglind Bruhn
Pendragon Press ISBN-10: 1576471292
ISBN-13: 978-1576471296

Messiaen characterized himself as a rhythmician, ornithologist, and theologian. All interpreters concur that his life and work are grounded in a profound faith. This book examines the translation of his faith into his musical language. It centers on a hermeutic analysis of two spiritually motiviated instrumental compositions, Visions de l'amen for two pianos (1943) and Vingt Regards sur l enfant-Jésus for piano solo (1944). Part I introduces the main aspects of the composer s religious environment (the catholic literary revival, his father Pierre and his mentor Charles Tournemire) as well as the components of his idiosyncratic musico-symbolic vocabulary. Parts II and III examine the twenty-seven movements comprised in the Visions< and the Regards, whose thematic material, structure, and musical as well as spiritual function within the whole cycle are interpreted in light of the literary source and imagery that inspired Messiaen.


Messiaen's Explorations of Love and Death: 
Musico-poetic Signification in the Tristan Trilogy and Three Related Song Cycles 

(Dimension and Diversity: Studies in 20th-Century Music) Pendragon Press 
ISBN-10: 1576471365 - ISBN-13: 978-1576471364
Messiaen's lifelong quest centered on the colors and rhythms of a music that would serve as a vehicle for his thoughts about time, his love of God, and his enthusiasm for birdsong. An additional topic about which he felt deeply is that of passionate, fated human love and its relationship to death on the one hand, the love of God on the other. During the years 1936-1948, he composed five cycles of vocal music to his own texts as well as the Turangalîla Symphony, the monumental centerpiece of his Tristan Trilogy.
The focus of this study is the in-depth analysis and interpretation of these six works on love, with particular regard for their unusual wealth of poetic, sonic, and visual colors and imagery. The wonder of rainbows, the magic of exotic sounds, the fantastic attractiveness of surrealist representations, and the majestic inexorability of fate in myths of various times and cultures define Messiaen s lyrics as much as his idiosyncratic, highly symbolic musical language, which never fails to build bridges between this and another world.


Messiaen's Interpretations of Holiness and Trinity: 
Echoes of Medieval Theology in the Oratorio, Organ Meditations, and Opera by Siglind Bruhn

ISBN-10: 157647139X - ISBN-13: 978-1576471395

Three of Messiaen's later works, La Transfiguration de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ, Méditations sur le mystére de la Sainte Trinité, and Saint François d Assise, are linked by the fact that the composer refers to and quotes from Thomas Aquinas. The composer s reception of Thomistic texts is one of the principles guiding the interpretations in this study. On the one hand, Messiaen had been pondering Thomas s thoughts on the role of music in the life of a Christian and on music s possible spiritual content all through his professional life; on the other hand, the oratorio, the organ meditations, and the opera are the only works in which Messiaen quotes extensive Thomistic sentences addressing purely theological subject matter. The first aspect, Messiaen s appropriation of or felicitous congruence with the medieval theologian s views on music underlies all analyses as a kind of background fabric. The second aspect, Messiaen s quotations from the Summa theologica and their musical translation, determines segments of a larger discussion that, in the book s three main chapters, attempts to do justice to the compositions as a whole. While Thomas theological aesthetics appears as a thread woven through a texture in a way that brings it only periodically to the foreground, the statements from Thomas s writings provide essential foundations determining the works content and its musical rendering.


Olivier Messiaen, Troubadour by Siglind Bruhn

Liebesverständnis und musikalische Symbolik in Poèmes pour Mi, Chants de terre et de ciel, 
Trois petites Liturgies de la présence divine, Harawi, Turangalîla-Sinfonie und Cinq Rechants
EDITION GORZ. ISBN 978-3-938095-07-2 in German


Messiaens ‘Summa theologica’ by Siglind Bruhn

Musikalische Spurensuche mit Thomas von Aquin in 
La Transfiguration, Méditations und Saint François d’Assise
EDITION GORZ. ISBN 978-3-938095-09-6 in German


Messiaen, l'empreinte d'un géant by

Catherine Lechner-Reydellet

ISBN-10: 2840495112 - ISBN-13: 978-2840495116 Pub. Editions Seguier

in French 
Présentation de l'éditeur
Il fut celui par qui tout arriva pour que demeure notre passion, celui pour qui le chant du rossignol en lisière des forêts, de la linotte dans les vignobles de Charente et de la fauvette à lunettes dans les garrigues du Roussillon, redonna le droit d'être musicien Catherine Lechner-Reydellet, écrivain et pianiste, professeur au Conservatoire de Musique et d'Art dramatique de Grenoble, nous présente Olivier Messiaen, revisité par ses anciens élèves, ses illustres interprètes, ses amis, journalistes, chefs d'orchestre et poètes, sous un éclairage inhabituel jamais dévoilé à ce jour.


Messiaen ou la lumière by Philippe Olivier

Pub.Hermann in French 
ISBN-10: 2705667253 - ISBN-13: 978-2705667252


by CHRISTOPHER DINGLE (Cambridge University Press,  ISBN 052163220X / 0521635470)

The Life of Messiaen paints a more nuanced picture of the man and the musician, peering behind Messiaen's public persona to examine the private difficulties and creative struggles that were the true backdrop to many of his greatest achievements. Based upon the latest research, including previously overlooked sources, this book provides an excellent introduction to Messiaen's life and work, presenting a fascinating new perspective of a man whose story is more remarkable than the myths surrounding it.


Olivier Messiaen's System of Signs Notes Towards Understanding His Music
Andrew Shenton

Andrew Shenton's groundbreaking cross-disciplinary approach to Messiaen's music presents a systematic and detailed examination of the compositional techniques of one of the most significant musicians of the twentieth century as they relate to his desire to express profound truths about Catholicism.It is widely accepted that music can have mystical and transformative powers, but because 'pure' music has no programme, Messiaen sought to refine his compositions to speak more clearly about the truths of the Catholic faith by developing a sophisticated semiotic system in which aspects of music become direct signs for words and concepts. Using interdisciplinary methodologies drawing on linguistics, cognition studies, theological studies and semiotics, Shenton traces the development of Messiaen's sign system using examples from many of Messiaen's works and concentrating in particular on the "Meditations sur le mystere de la Sainte Trinite" for organ, a suite which contains the most sophisticated and developed use of a sign system and represents a profound exegesis of Messiaen's understanding of the Catholic triune God.By working on issues of interpretation, Shenton endeavours to bridge the traditional gap between scholars and performers and to help people listen to Messiaen's music with spirit and understanding.


Messiaen, a major biography by Peter Hill and Nigel Simeone, published by Yale University Press
This book includes extracts from the private diaries and papers of Olivier
Messiaen for the first time, along with several hundred photographs.
This project has been awarded very significant Research Grant funding
by the Arts and Humanities Research Board.

see reviews


The French edition of the book (Paris, Fayard, 2008) includes "Sigle" - a
short little piece for unaccompanied flute which has been published 
for the first time as an illustration here. There is also a detailed catalogue 
of works and an additional chapter on Messiaen's musical language that 
are not in the English version. 


OLIVIER MESSIAEN- Christopher Dingle & Nigel Simeone (editors)
Music, Art and Literature (Ashgate, ISBN 0754606333). 

When Olivier Messiaen died in 1992, the prevailing image was of a man apart; a deeply religious man whose only sources of inspiration were God and Nature and a composer whose music progressed along an entirely individual path, artistically impervious to contemporaneous events and the whims both of his contemporaries and the critics. Whilst such a view contains a large element of truth, the past ten years has seen an explosion of interest in the composer, and the work of a diverse range of scholars has painted a much richer, more complex picture of Messiaen. This volume presents some of the fruits of this research for the first time, concentrating on three broad, interrelated areas: Messiaen's relationship with fellow artists; key developments in the composer's musical language and technique; and his influences, both sacred and secular. 


Vingt regards sur l'enfant-Jesus: Messiaen's means of conveying extra-musical subtext (Olivier Messiaen, France)
by Christopher S. Bowlby
ProQuest / UMI (March 22, 2006) ISBN: 0542177072

The purpose of this study is to answer the question: How does Messiaen's approach to musical architecture convey symbolic or programmatic meaning in his mammoth work for solo piano, Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus ? Not every movement is described in detail. Each example is only discussed insomuch as is necessary to determine how applicable musical elements or compositional processes underline the intended message. Much of the conclusions identify the ways in which a basic technique, such as a melody and the mode with which it is constructed, implies a meaning, perhaps through Messiaen's own notes or indications in the score or through original or previously published analysis. Furthermore, the examination deals with these basic means and how they are combined and superimposed to produce proportions of interest or how they might serve to exemplify a numerological or theological significance.


Olivier Messiaen\'s composition techniques in Reveil des Oiseaux (France) -- Dissertation 
ProQuest / UMI (December 18, 2006) Language: English
ISBN-10: 0542015919ISBN-13: 978-0542015915 

In his first major composition in the so-called “le style oiseaux”, Olivier Messiaen uses thirty-eight bird calls as his main musical material. Despite Messiaen's claim that the piece is ‘merely a truthful translation’ of nature, this dissertation focuses on how the composition is organically produced; in terms of its form, its pitch material and its timbral treatment.  It was especially exciting to follow his very personal and literal form of ‘com-po-sing’ (in the sense of ‘putting together’ or ‘combining’); a technique in which small units of previously heard music reappear later, meticulously re-shuffled or combined with seemingly different music. It was particularly thrilling to delve into his innovative ways of treating the original bird calls.


MESSIAEN STUDIES. Edited by Robert Sholl 

This collection of scholarly essays offers new cultural, historical, biographical and analytical perspectives on Messiaen's musical oeuvre from 1941 to 1992. The volume includes: a fascinating snapshot of Messiaen's life in occupied France; a study of the Surrealist poetics of Messiaen's song cycle Harawi; a chapter on Messiaen's iconoclastic path to the avant-garde heritage that he bequeathed to his pupils; discussion on Messiaen's place in twentieth-century music; and detailed analysis of specific works, including his opera St François d'Assise.


OH MY GOD: Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever is based on Paul Festa's award-winning and critically acclaimed film Apparition of the Eternal Church.
The book and movie capture the explosive responses of 31 mostly nonreligious artists to the apocalyptic music of the Christian visionary Olivier Messiaen.
Published by
Bar Nothing Books


OLIVIER MESSIAEN: Oiseaux exotiques

Peter Hill and Nigel Simeone
Series: Landmarks in Music Since 1950 Ashgate ISBN: 0 7546 5630 6


OLIVIER MESSIAEN: Benitez, Vincent P. Olivier Messiaen: A Research and Information Guide. 
New York: Routledge Publishing, 2008.


Music for the End of Time by Jen Bryant 
(Wm B Eerdmans Publishing Co)ISBN: 0802852297 

This work is Jen Bryant's poetic biography of French composer Olivier Messiaen, coupled with Beth Peck's evocative pastel illustrations, captures both the desolation of a World War II prison camp and the transforming power of music. This book will stir readers of all ages to seek hope in the things that inspire them, and is a great introduction to Messiaen for children from 8 years upward.

Saint Francois D'Assise Premieres Loges Avant Scene Opera Arts Et Spectacle Revues 
21/10/2004 ISBN:2843852021


French Masters of the Organ
Saint-Saëns, Franck, Widor, Vierne, Dupré, Langlais, Messiaen
Michael Murray. Yale University Press 2005

For the End of Time
The Story of the Messiaen Quartet
Rebecca Rischin

see reviews


After his death Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen compiled all of Messiaens' writings which are now published in 7 volumes entitled
'Traité de Rythme, de Couleur, et d'Ornithologie' (Paris, Leduc)


Yves Baudrier - Daniel Lesur - André Jolivet - Olivier Messiaen
Editions Honoré Champion, Collection Musique - Musicologie, 1977


The composer writes about his works. Text by Messiaen translated by Irene Feddern
Frangipani Press. 1986 


The 22 Piano Concertos by Mozart. Introduced and analyzed by Messiaen 
Paris. Librairie Seguier. 1990. in-12° (11,5x18,5 cm). 121 p.


The Messiaen Companion: edited by Peter Hill (London, Faber and Faber 1995)


Les Oiseaux de Messiaen: Nicole Malinconi, Melanie Berger (Esperluete Eds 2005) ISBN:2930223561

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Olivier Messiaen: L'homme et son oeuvre. Pierrette Mari (Paris, Segheres, 1965)

Das orgelwerk Messiaens:Sieglinde Ahrens ,Hans-Dieter Möller, and Almut Rössler, (Duisburg, Gilles and Francke, 1976)


Olivier Messiaen: Claude Rostand (Ed. Ventadour,1952/57)


Contributions to the Spiritual World of Olivier Messiaen: Almut Rössler (Gilles & Francke 1986)


Recontres avec Olivier Messiaen: Antoine Goléa (Paris, Julliard 1960-reprinted Slatkine Genéve-Paris 1984)


Olivier Messiaen: Harry Halbreich (Paris, Fayard/SACEM 1980)

Extensively revised in 2008


Olivier Messiaen: Leben und Werk: Theo Hirsbrunner (Laaber-Verlag 1988)


Olivier Messiaen and the Music of Time: Paul Griffiths (London/Boston, Faber and Faber 1985)


Thomas Daniel Schlee / Dietrich Kämper (Hg.): Olivier Messiaen. La Cite celeste - das himmlische Jerusalem. Über das Leben und Werk des französischen Komponisten. Köln Wienand Verlag 1998. 


Olivier Messiaen: une poetique de merveilleux: Brigitte Massin (Aix-en-Provence, Alinéa, 1989)


Messiaen: Robert Sherlaw Johnson (London. Dent 1976. R/1989)


Portrait(s) d'Olivier Messiaen: Catherine Massip (Bibliothèque Nationale de France)


Messiaen: Roger Nichols (London Oxford University Press 1975 2/1986)


Bien Cher Félix..Letters from Olivier Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod to Felix Aprahamian (Cambridge, Mirage 1998)


Messiaen: Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps: Anthony Pople (Cambridge University Press 1998 ISBN 0521585384)


Entretiens avec Olivier Messiaen: Claude Samuel (Paris, Belfond 1967 Eng. translation 1976)


The Organ Music of Olivier Messiaen: Stuart Waumsley (Paris, Leduc 1968)


Music and Colour: New Interviews: Claude Samuel (Paris, Belfond 1986)


Olivier Messiaen, the Musical Mediator. A study of the influence of Liszt, Debussy and Bartok: Madeleine Hsu (Fairleigh Dickinson UP1996)


Technique de non langage musical: Messiaen (Paris, Leduc 1944 Eng. translation 1956)

Vingt lecons d'harmonie: Messiaen (Paris, Leduc 1944 Eng. translation 1956)


Conférence de Bruxelles: Messiaen (Paris, Leduc 1958)

Conférence de Kyoto: (Paris, Leduc 1985)


Conférence de Notre Dame: Messiaen (Paris, Leduc 1978)


Olivier Messiaen: Heinz-Klaus Metzger and Rainer Riehn. text + kritic (Munich 1982)


Messiaens"Saint Francois d'Assise" von Aloyse Michaely, Heinz-Klaus Metzger, Rainer Riehn (2006) 
ISBN 10: 3878779763-ISBN 13: 9783878779766, Querstand, Musikalische Konzepte Bd.1+2. Stroemfeld - Kartoniert/Broschie


Siglind Bruhn, Images and Ideas in Modern French Piano Music: 
The Extra Musical Subtext in Piano Works by Ravel, Debussy and Messiaen (Stuyvesant, NY: Pendragon, 1997)


Olivier Messiaen and the Tristan Myth by Audrey Ekdahl Davidson  (Praeger Pub Text; ISBN: 0275973409)


Siglind Bruhn (ed.), Messiaen’s Language of Mystical Love. Volume 1 in the series “Twentieth-Century Studies in Music” (New York: Garland, 1998).

Jean Boivin: La classe de Messiaen. Paris, Christian Bourgois éditeur, collection " Musique/Passé/Présent 1995.


Meisterwerke der Musik:Olivier Messiaen Turangalîla Symphonie by Klaus Schweizer (Wilhem Fink Verlag) 


Messiaen Les sons impalpables du rêve
Pascal Arnault, Nicolas Darbon. Editeur : Millenaire III

Collection : Compositeurs De Notre Temps ISBN : 2911906055


STEFAN KEYM: Farbe und Zeit - Untersuchungen zur musiktheatralen Struktur und Semantik von 
Olivier Messiaens Saint Francois d'Assise. 

Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag 2002. - X/557 S. mit zahlreichen Notenbeispielen und Register. ISBN: 3-487-11661-8


Messiaen by Alain Périer (Paris, Seuil 1979) 


Olivier Messiaen homme de foi (Trinite Media Communication 1995)


I have included this VHS SECAM video here (now available on DVD) as I believe it to be an invaluable archive to those of us who
were not lucky enough to experience first hand lectures by the Maitre during his lifetime.

Olivier Milles' film covers a masterclass/lecture given by Messiaen during the 1987 Festival d'Avignon at the Chartreuse de Villeneuve lés-Avignon.


"Les couleurs du temps: Trente ans d'entretiens avec Claude Samuel". INA/Radio France 211848, 2CDs
Claude Samuel met Messiaen in the late fifties and from then grew a most fertile professional relationship that
produced many landmark interviews and discussion throughout the composer's life. Thirty years of interviews
are represented here on 2CDs in French.

L'œuvre pour piano d'Olivier Messiaen: Michéle Reverdy (Paris, Leduc 1978)


L'œuvre pour orchestre d'Olivier Messiaen: Michéle Reverdy (Paris, Leduc 1988)


Rosemary Walker, Modes and Pitch Class Sets In Messiaen. (Music Analysis 8:1/2 Basil Blackwell 1989)

David Morris, A Semiotic Investigation of Messiaen's 'Abîme des Oiseaux'. (Music Analysis 8:1/2 Basil Blackwell 1989)

Messiaen, Gooeyvaerts, Fano, Stockhausen, Boulez. Perspectives of New Music XIII 1974 pp141-16 An in-depth (29 A5 pages) analysis of the musical ideas of the 1940's and 50's. Many technical terms, graphs, note charts etc make this indispensable for all students of composition and interest in Messiaen.

Olivier Messiaen:Eclairs Sur L'Au-Dela: Die Christlich-Eschatologische Dimension Des Opus Ultimum
ISBN: 3631348460 Author: Tolle, Julian Christopher
Publisher: Lang, Peter Publishing, Incorporated Edition/Year: 1999



Olivier Messiaen's Orchesterwerk: Des Canyons aux Etoile. Studen, zu Struktur und Konnex. Diss Kassel
Carl Beate Bärenreiter 1994

Olivier Messiaen a Bibliographical Catalogue: Nigel Simeone (Hans Schneider Verlag)

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