Messiaenby Peter Hill, Nigel Simeone
The French composer Olivier Messiaen (190892) is a musician about whom most remains to be discovered. More than a decade after his death our knowledge of Messiaen is largely conditioned by what he said about himself in lectures and interviews, in his work as a teacher, and in the monumental seven-volume treatise that encompassed the whole of his composing
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Simeone and Hill's biography of Messiaen provides and interesting and enlightening view of Messiaen's life and music, and in particular brings to life the world (specifically the Parisian world) in which he lived and composed. I used this as a text for a class about Messiaen, and go back to it frequntly as I continue to listen to his music. The only drawback to this book is that it contains a relatively small amount of actual musical analysis, though the positive side of this is that those who don't have a background in music theory can still gain such a deep insight into his life.