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‘Orpheus the Explorer’: ‘Harmony of Parts’ and ‘Charm of Colour’ in the Performance of Olivier Messiaen’s Organ Music

Dunbavand, Simon (2013) ‘Orpheus the Explorer’: ‘Harmony of Parts’ and ‘Charm of Colour’ in the Performance of Olivier Messiaen’s Organ Music. MMus thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Orpheus.pdf
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Track 01 Apparition du Christ glorieux.mp3
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Track 02 Le Fils, Verbe et Lumière.mp3
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Track 03 Le Verbe.mp3
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Track 04 la Source de Vie.mp3
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Track 05 Joie et clarté des corps glorieux.mp3
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Track 06 L'ange aux parfums.mp3
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Track 07 Verset pour la fête de la Dédicace.mp3
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Track 08 La Sainteté de Jésus-Christ.mp3
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Track 09 Prière avant la communion.mp3
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Track 10 Communion.mp3
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Track 11 Sortie.mp3
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Abstract

This project aims to assemble interpretative and analytical materials, cross- connections, comparisons, and theological insights in order to form a hermeneutic, holistic approach to performances of Messiaen’s organ music. Thus, research and interpretation lead to the recording on a suitable instrument of performances, which in turn illustrate theological and interpretative issues. Rather than investigating complete cycles, the development of a carefully constructed programme of individual pieces, interlinked and selected from Messiaen’s entire œuvre, will help us to draw out a sophisticated and consistent theological message, as well as comparing the use of different compositional techniques and recurring thematic resonances (both musical and Christian) throughout the composer’s development. This interpretative work builds upon the approach and conclusions expressed in my dissertation: ‘In Search of Musique Chatoyante: Technique, Theology, and the Play of Harmonic Resonance in Olivier Messiaen’s Vitrail Sonore’. By forming the connections on both musical and theological levels between pieces from different periods and cycles, we can reveal fresh perspectives on the performance of Messiaen’s organ music. One aspect will be an understanding of Messiaen’s non-modal harmony: as ‘percée vers l’au-delà’, it becomes a foundation for dazzlement, and a conduit to the divine. How do these ‘accords spéciaux’ intersect with the theological subtext, and when identical chords are heard in different pieces, how does this intertextual play create new theological insight? Devising this programme in a framework exploring Messiaen’s compositional growth yields more fruitful insights than exploring just a single work, thus establishing connections across boundaries of work, genre and period, and linking Messiaen’s organ music to his wider output and to contemporary Catholic thought.

Item Type: Thesis (MMus)
Additional Information: The thesis 'In Search of "Musique Chatoyante": Technique, Theology, and the Play of Harmonic Resonance in Olivier Messiaen's "Vitrail Sonore"' should be consulted prior to reading this folio.
Keywords: Messiaen; Organ Music
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Music (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Mr Simon Dunbavand
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2014 07:52
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2014 07:52
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6267

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