Olivier Messiaen: spectralist

Sholl, Robert (2019) Olivier Messiaen: spectralist. In: The Oxford Handbook to Spectralism. Oxford Music Handbooks . Oxford University Press. (Submitted)

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Abstract

This study seeks to understand Messiaen’s music and aesthetics as spectralist through the writings of Hugues Dufourt and Gerard Grisey and through a Lacanian framework. To understand Messiaen in this way is to listen to a reciprocal relationship between past and future through his music and to appreciate the way its religious-modernism fantaisie works on the listener as a focal point. This study concentrates on four aspects of Messiaen’s output and follows the trajectory of his compositional development. It uses a considerable range of secondary sources and provides a demonstrably different purview from that of previous writers on Messiaen such as Anderson (2000), Chadwick (2013) or Nonken (2014). Initially, the work connects Messiaen’s late aesthetics with synaesthesia and color in his earliest music. It then examines a range of spectralist gestures and the way they are absorbed into his music. The last two sections on birdsong and meaning in his opera show operative uses of spectralism. The conclusion provides a brief foray into the way classical spectralism (of Grisey and Murail) acts as critique of Messiaen. This study provides one attempt at a comprehensive overview of Messiaen and spectralism and shows the way his music and thought provides an essential step to understand later music. It provides new frameworks for understanding his music and fresh insight into the poetics of his work.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Music > Musicology
Depositing User: Robert Sholl
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2018 08:28
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2018 13:44
URI: http://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/5133

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