Louise-Justine Messiaen (née Delbos; 2 November 1906 – 22 April 1959), more commonly known under her pseudonym Claire Delbos, was a French violinist and composer, and first wife of the composer Olivier Messiaen.
Delbos was born in Paris, the daughter of a Sorbonne professor, Victor Delbos. Although she was usually known after her marriage as Claire or as Claire-Louise, she was baptized Louise Justine Delbos.She was a pupil at the Schola Cantorum, a private music school in Paris, and later studied violin and composition at the Paris Conservatoire.
Her skill on the violin brought her to the attention of the young Messiaen. They gave recitals together in Paris in the early 1930s, and were married on 22 June 1932. The composer Claude Arrieu was Delbos's bridesmaid.Messiaen wrote the Thème et variations for violin and piano as a wedding gift for his wife; they performed it together on 22 November 1932.
During that summer, the Messiaens moved into an apartment at 77 rue des Plantes, on the Left Bank in the 14th arrondissement of Paris. This was to be their home for the next six years, and was the venue of occasional musical gatherings of select friends; it was where they first met the Jolivets.Some of Messiaen's works were written to celebrate the happiness of the young couple, an example being the song cycle Poèmes pour Mi for soprano and piano in 1936, which he arranged for soprano and orchestra in 1937, and which was based on his own poems about the joy of marriage. Mi was Messiaen's affectionate nickname for Delbos. Delbos also composed several organ works, including Paraphrase sur le jugement dernier and L'offrande à Marie, for Messiaen.
In the early years of their marriage, several of the Messiaens' holidays were spent at the Château St Benoît, in Neussargues-Moissac – a château, owned by the Delbos family, which Messiaen found conducive to composing, and where much of L'Ascension was written.The successful Thème et variations was followed by another violin work written by Messiaen for his wife – Fantaisie, though this was not published until 2007 or 2008, and it is not clear if it was ever performed in public during Messiaen's lifetime.
Delbos suffered a series of miscarriages in the early years of her marriage,but in 1937 their son Pascal was born, and Messiaen produced another song cycle, Chants de terre et de ciel (1938), in which all three members of the family were portrayed. The Messiaens moved into 13 villa du Danube in the 19th arrondissement. Towards the end of the war, Delbos had an operation, after which she began to suffer from loss of memory. She entered a sanatorium, and remained institutionalized, with steadily declining health, for the rest of her life. She died in 1959, in Hauts-de-Seine.
Songs (for voice and piano):
Olivier Eugène Prosper Charles Messiaen was a French composer, organist, and ornithologist who was one of the major composers of the 20th century. His music is rhythmically complex; harmonically and melodically he employs a system he called modes of limited transposition, which he abstracted from the systems of material generated by his early compositions and improvisations. He wrote music for chamber ensembles and orchestra, vocal music, as well as for solo organ and piano, and also experimented with the use of novel electronic instruments developed in Europe during his lifetime.
Yvonne Louise-Georgette Loriod-Messiaen was a French pianist, teacher, and composer, and the second wife of composer Olivier Messiaen. Her sister was the Ondes Martenot player Jeanne Loriod.
Quatuor pour la fin du temps, also known by its English title Quartet for the End of Time, is a piece of chamber music by the French composer Olivier Messiaen. It was premiered in 1941. The piece is scored for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano; a typical performance of the complete work lasts about 50 minutes. Messiaen wrote the piece while a prisoner of war in German captivity and it was first performed by his fellow prisoners. It is generally considered one of his most important works.
Pierre Eugène Onfroy de Bréville was a French composer.
Thème et variations is a 1932 composition by Olivier Messiaen for violin and piano. It is considered as equally characteristic and immediately accessible as his Quatuor pour la fin du temps. The work was originally written as a wedding present for the composer's first wife, the violinist Claire Delbos, whom he married on 22 June 1932. The young couple gave the first performance on 22 November the same year.
Le Merle noir is a chamber work by the French composer Olivier Messiaen for flute and piano. It was written and first performed in 1952 and is the composer's shortest independently published work, lasting just over five minutes. It has neither time signature nor key signature. This work has become a staple of the French flute and piano repertoire.The composition originated in a commission for a test piece for flute for the Paris Conservatoire, at which Messiaen was a professor. The winners of the premier prix in the Concours de flûte that year were Daniel Morlier, Jean Pierre Eustache, Jean Ornetti, Régis Calle and the British flute player Alexander Murray. Messiaen had a consuming, lifelong interest in ornithology and particularly bird songs. While not his first work to incorporate stylised birdsong, Le Merle noir was the earliest of his pieces to be based mainly on birdsong, and it foreshadows Messiaen's later, more extended birdsong-inspired pieces.
Walther Straram (1876-1933) was an English conductor active in France during the early twentieth century.
Messe de la Pentecôte is an organ mass composed by Olivier Messiaen in 1949–50. According to the composer, it is based on twenty years of improvising at Église de la Sainte-Trinité, where Messiaen was organist since 1931.
Des canyons aux étoiles... is a large twelve-movement orchestral work by the French composer Olivier Messiaen. American Alice Tully commissioned the piece in 1971 to celebrate the bicentenary of the United States Declaration of Independence. In 1972, while preparing the work, Messiaen visited Utah, where he was inspired by the birds and the landscape, particularly at colourful Bryce Canyon. It received its premiere in 1974. Performances of the work can have a duration in the range of 90 to 100 minutes.
Trois petites liturgies de la présence divine is a 1944 piece by Olivier Messiaen for women's voices, piano solo, ondes Martenot, and orchestra, in three movements. The libretto for the piece was written by Messiaen himself.
Elsa Jacqueline Barraine was a composer of French music in the time after the neoclassicist movement of Les Six, Ravel, and Stravinsky. Despite being considered “one of the outstanding French composers of the mid-20th century,” Barraine's music is seldom performed today. She won the Prix de Rome in 1929 for La vierge guerrière, a sacred trilogy named for Joan of Arc, and was the fourth woman ever to receive that prestigious award.
Thierry Joseph-Louis Escaich is a French organist and composer.
Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum is a work for wind orchestra by Olivier Messiaen, written in 1964 and first performed the following year. It is composed in five movements.
Visions de l'Amen is a suite of seven pieces for two pianos by the French composer Olivier Messiaen (1908–1992), commissioned for the Concerts de la Pléiade that were held during the German occupation of Paris. It was composed in 1943 for the composer and Yvonne Loriod, and its performance requires about 40–45 minutes.
Adolphe Alexandre Silvain Marty was a French organist, improviser, composer and music educator who was blind for most of his life.
Poèmes pour Mi is a song cycle for dramatic soprano and piano or orchestra by Olivier Messiaen, composed in 1936 and 1937 and dedicated to his first wife, Claire Delbos. The text are poems by the composer based on the New Testament.
Voyage à Paris is a 70-minute studio album of French art songs performed by Frederica von Stade with piano accompaniment by Martin Katz.. It was released in 1995.
O sacrum convivium! is a short offertory motet for four-part mixed chorus by French composer Olivier Messiaen, setting "O sacrum convivium". It was composed and published in 1937.
Diptyque : essai sur la vie terrestre et l'éternité bienheureuse is a piece for organ by French composer Olivier Messiaen.