Visions de l'Amen ("Visions of the Amen") is a suite of seven pieces for two pianos by the French composer Olivier Messiaen (1908–1992), commissioned for the Concerts de la Pléiadethat 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.
According to Messiaen's "author's note" attached to the original score,the work takes its inspiration from a quote of Ernest Hello: "Amen, word of Genesis, which leads to Revelation; Amen, word of Revelation, which is the consummation of Genesis". Messiaen gives four basic interpretations of Amen: "It is done", "So be it, according to thy will", "In the hope, the desire, that I may freely give and freely receive", "It is so, world without end". He describes the music as seven musical visions which reflect the living beings who say "Amen" in gratitude for their existence.
Messiaen explains the different roles of the two piano parts: he assigned the primo part (played by Yvonne Loriod) "rhythmic difficulties, chord clusters, all that has speed, charm, and quality of sound". The secondo part (played by himself) he assigned "the principal melody, thematic elements, all that demands emotion and strength".
One of the principal themes of the work is the Creation theme,appearing in the first movement in the bass in long notes, in the fifth movement in three variations (altered), and finally in the seventh movement, over ten times.
There are seven movements:
Olivier Eugène Prosper Charles Messiaen was a French composer, organist, and ornithologist, 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 Loriod was a French pianist, teacher, and composer, and the second wife of composer Olivier Messiaen. Her sister was the Ondes Martenot player Jeanne Loriod.
Saint François d'Assise is an opera in three acts and eight scenes by French composer and librettist Olivier Messiaen, written from 1975 to 1983. It concerns Saint Francis of Assisi, the title character, and displays the composer's devout Catholicism. The world première was given by the Paris Opera at the Palais Garnier on 28 November 1983.
Vingt regards sur l'enfant-Jésus is a suite of 20 pieces for solo piano by the French composer Olivier Messiaen (1908–1992). The work is a meditation on the infancy of Jesus. It was composed in 1944 for Yvonne Loriod. A typical performance lasts about two hours.
Claire Delbos was a French violinist and composer, and first wife of the composer Olivier Messiaen.
La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ is a work written between 1965 and 1969 by Olivier Messiaen. It is based on the account found in the synoptic gospels of Jesus' transfiguration. The writing is on a very large scale; the work requires around 200 performers. The forces required include a mixed choir, seven instrumental soloists and a large orchestra.
Harawi is a song cycle for soprano and piano, written by Olivier Messiaen in 1945.
Siglind Bruhn is a German musicologist and concert pianist.
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 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.
Concert à quatre is one of the final works of the French composer Olivier Messiaen. It is written for four solo instruments and orchestra.
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.
Quatre Études de rythme is a set of four piano compositions by Olivier Messiaen, written in 1949 and 1950. A performance of them lasts between 15 and 20 minutes.
Fête des belles eaux is a 1937 composition by French composer Olivier Messiaen. The work is scored for six ondes Martenots and was commissioned for the 1937 Paris Exhibition. The work was written to accompany the movement of the fountains at the Exhibition.
Matthew Schellhorn is an English classical pianist.
Préludes pour piano is an early work for piano by the French composer Olivier Messiaen composed in 1928–1929, when the composer was 20 years old. Messiaen considered it to be his first work of any value. The composition is based on Messiaen's modes of limited transposition, and betrays an influence of Debussy's preludes.
Catalogue d'oiseaux is a work for piano solo by Olivier Messiaen composed of thirteen pieces, written between October 1956 and September 1958. It is devoted to birds and dedicated to his second wife Yvonne Loriod.
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.