September 1st, 2008
A huge celebration….
Automne Messiaen is Montréal's commemoration of the centenary of the birth of Olivier Messiaen, born in Avignon, on December 10, 1908.
His works having been part of my life for over thirty years now, I simply could not ignore this anniversary. I felt the need to plan an event around Messiaen, an idea which I explored first with Maestro Kent Nagano, conductor and musical director of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, and with Gilles Tremblay, composer, former pupil and spiritual son of Olivier Messiaen; and ultimately Ishared this idea with the rest of Montréal's musical community.
The music of Messiaen conjures up in me strength and tenderness, rigour and vertigo, persisting and bewitching rhythms, radiant colors, poetry and spirituality, language of the heart and of the soul, brilliance and amazement.
It is the celebration of nature through the songs of birds, "our finest musicians", he stated as he traveled the world to faithfully capture their songs in musical notation. It is the majestic evocative power of a thousand landscapes shaded by a multitude of colors, of which Messiaen provided precise but deeply sensitive descriptions. Not to mention his research into unusual, complex and exotic rhythms.
Olivier Messiaen was a generous teacher, sharing and conveying his passion and his research to generations of young composers from around the world. Among those, Quebecers Gilles Tremblay, Bruce Mather, Serge Garant, and the British composer George Benjamin, have had the chance to experience the lessons of the Maestro in an atmosphere of fullness and joy.
And this is what Automne Messiaen wishes to convey: a celebration of joy and life through the philosophy and the works of this French composer who dazzled and enriched the musical world of the 20th century.