MESSIAEN AS TEOLOOG: VERKONDIGING EN LOFPRYSING IN DIE ORRELWERK “DIEU PARMI NOUS”
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Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) was one of the most influential 20th-century composers, teachers and performers. For him, the proclaiming nature of his music was its most important and most noble aim. Despite this fact, his sacred works, including those for organ, were controversial from the outset, and they have often been experienced as inaccessible. In this article, the degree to which radical and exotic compositional means may be understood as proclamation and praise in the large-scale work for organ, “Dieu Parmi Nous”, the final piece in his cycle La Nativité du Seigneur (1935), is investigated. It is found that the said aspect of the work may only be interpreted via contextualisation, whereby the composer’s own elucidation plays a crucial role. Non-conformist aspects of the work point to Messiaen’s ecumenically enriched views on faith.