Last updated
by Olivier Messiaen
Olivier Messiaen (1986).jpg
Olivier Messiaen in 1986
Composed1963 (1963): Paris
Performed19 May 1998 (1998-05-19): London
Published1997 (1997): Paris

Monodie (French for 'Monody') is a short composition for organ by French composer Olivier Messiaen.



The Monodie was composed in 1963 at the request of Jean Bonfils, who was Messiaen's assistant at the church of the Sainte-Trinité, Paris, where he was the main organist. It was written for Bonfils's and Noémie Pierrot's organ method book entitled Nouvelle méthode de clavier. Messiaen presumably didn't have his own organ at the Trinité because of a major refurbishment. [1] It was then published as a part of that book in 1963 by the Schola Cantorum. Musicologist Nigel Simeone alleges that Messiaen could have composed the Monodie as a part of a sight-reading examination at the Schola Cantorum. [2] The piece was later republished posthumously by Éditions Alphonse Leduc in 1997, as most other short works that were lost, forgotten, or never intended for publication. [1] It was formally premiered on May 19, 1998, at Westminster Cathedral, in London, with Gillian Weir at the organ. [3]


This composition has a total duration of 6 minutes and a total of 17 bars of variable length. As was customary in many works by Messiaen, the monodie has no time or key signature. It starts with a single staff (as opposed to a three-staff system, which is typical of organ works). Messiaen used the tempo marking "Très modéré". The stop configuration used in the piece is stable throughout: Flute 8 (or Quintaton 16), Cor de Nuit 8, Nazard 2⅔, and Octavin 2. The piece features multiple triplets, quintuplets and sextuplets. [4]


Following is a list of some of the most notable recordings:

OrganRecord companyYear of recordingFormat
Olivier Latry Deutsche Grammophon2002CD [5]
Gillian Weir Priory Records2004CD [6]

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  1. 1 2 Dingle, Christopher (5 July 2017). Messiaen's Final Works. Routledge. ISBN   978-1-351-55843-3 . Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  2. Simeone, Nigel (1998). Olivier Messiaen: A Bibliographical Catalogue of Messiaen's Works : First Editions and First Performances, with Illustrations of the Title Pages, Programmes, and Documents (in French). H. Schneider. ISBN   978-3-7952-0947-6 . Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  3. Benitez, Vincent (13 November 2007). Olivier Messiaen: A Research and Information Guide. Routledge. ISBN   978-1-135-87130-7 . Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  4. Messiaen, Olivier (1997). Monodie: pour orgue. Paris: Alphonse Leduc & Cie. ISMN  9790046291463. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  5. "MESSIAEN Complete Organ Works Latry". Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  6. "Messiaen - The Complete Organ Works - Vols 5 & 6 - Organ of Arhus Cathedral, Denmark (2 CD set) | Britain's Premier Church Music Label". Retrieved 19 August 2020.