For Olivier Messiaen, music was a way of expressing his faith. He considered it his good fortune to have been born a Catholic and declared that 'the illumination of the theological truths of the Catholic faith is the first aspect of my work, the noblest and no doubt the most useful'. Messiaen is one of the most widely performed and recorded composers of the twentieth-century and his popularity is increasing, but the theological component of his music has so far largely been neglected, or dealt with superficially, and continues to provide a serious impediment to understanding and appreciating his music for some of his audience. Messiaen the Theologian makes a significant contribution to Messiaen studies by providing cultural and historical context to Messiaen's theology. 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 lairs sur l'au-del ., Sept Ha nd Saint Fran s d'Assise. By approaching Messiaen and his music from such important and original perspectives, this book will be of interest not only to musicians and theologians, but also to readers interested in the connection between spirituality and the arts.
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About the Author
Andrew Shenton holds bachelor, masters and doctoral degrees from London University, Yale and Harvard respectively. A renowned performer, scholar and educator, Dr. Shenton is currently a member of the musicology faculty at Boston University where he directs the Messiaen Project. He was a contributor to Olivier Messiaen: Music, Art, Literature (Ashgate, 2007) and his monograph Olivier Messiaen’s System of Signs (Ashgate, 2008) won the 2009 Miller Book Award.
Table of ContentsContents: Introducing Messiaen the theologian, Andrew Shenton; Part 1 Messiaen the Theologian: Religious literature in Messiaen's personal library, Yves Balmer; Messiaen as preacher and evangelist in the context of European modernism, Peter Bannister; Messiaen's saintly naÃ¯veté, Sander van Maas. Part 2 Messiaen's Relationship with Theologians: Olivier Messiaen and Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger: 2 views of the liturgical reform according to the 2nd Vatican Council, Karin Heller; Messiaen's relationship to Jacques Maritain's musical circle and neo-Thomism, Douglas Shadle; Messiaen and Aquinas, Vincent P. Benitez. Part 3 Messiaen, Poets and Theological Themes: Dante as guide to Messiaen's Gothic spirituality, Robert Fallon; Five quartets: the search for the still point of the turning world in the war quartets of T.S. Eliot and Olivier Messiaen, Andrew Shenton; The charm of impossibilities: mystic surrealism as contemplative voluptuousness, Stephen Schloesser. Part 4 Theology in Messiaen's Music: 'Une Å“uvre simple, solonnelle...': Messiaen's commission from André Malraux, Nigel Simeone; Olivier Messiaen and the avant-garde poetics of the Mess de la PentecÃ´te, Robert Sholl; Messiaen as explorer in Livre du Saint Sacrement, Luke Berryman; Buddhist temple, Shinto shrine and the invisible God of Sept HaÃ¯kaÃ¯, Cheong Wai Ling; Glossary of people; Select bibliography; Index.