Olivier Messiaen: Journalism 1935–1939  book cover
1st Edition

Olivier Messiaen: Journalism 1935–1939

ISBN 9780754608769
Published April 28, 2012 by Routledge
184 Pages

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Book Description

One of the foremost composers of the twentieth century, Olivier Messiaen wrote widely on his music and on his beliefs. This is the first edition of his early journalism and provides both the original French text and an English translation. The writing in this volume dates from the 1930s, before the composer gained the international reputation that he and his music now enjoy. The pieces he wrote range from reviews of individual performances to essays on particular works or composers and articles that discuss more general themes such as sincerity of expression in music. Many of the articles included in this collection are new to the Messiaen bibliography, and others are available here for the first time in English. A number are, as Broad describes them, 'quietly shocking' in that they force us to reappraise certain aspects of the composer such as his role in La Jeune France, and his wider participation in the debates of his time. This edition, therefore, represents a new source for understanding Messiaen and provides a fascinating glimpse of the composer in the early part of his career.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction; Part I The Journalism (French Original): 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; Part II The Journalism (English Translation): 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. Appendices: A catalogue of Messiaen's journalism (1935-1939); Selected personalia; Bibliography; Index.

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Stephen Broad is Head of Postgraduate Programmes and Research at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. A graduate of the universities of Glasgow and Oxford, he has made a special study of Messiaen's early life and writing. Originally from the Isle of Mull, he now lives in Perthshire.


A Yankee Book Peddler US Core Title for 2012 'For those who only know Messiaen's later writings, Olivier Messiaen: Journalism 1935-1939 will be a revelation. Even for those familiar with some of this material, it is wonderful and immensely useful to have this material collated in a single volume. As such, this is not only an invaluable resource for any scholar interested in both Messiaen and the musical and artistic discourse within France in the 1930s but also a thoroughly absorbing read. Broad adroitly assesses Messiaen's written style and the recurrent themes found in the journalism, while succinctly providing context, and the translations of Messiaen's texts elegantly capture his voice.' Christopher Dingle, Birmingham Conservatoire, UK and author of The Life of Messiaen '... this is a beautifully produced book'. Classical Music Magazine ' ... a valuable addition to the Messiaen literature, making these early writings available in one convenient volume. Messiaen’s journalism and Stephen Broad’s lucid, penetrating scholarship both deserve the warmest possible recommendation'. International Record Review 'Broad makes a valuable contribution not only to Messiaen scholarship, but to current debates about the francophone musical press in the twentieth century and the role composers played in promoting and advertising their own works and projecting their distinctive musical contribution.' H-France