Ours are the enriched tonality, the explosive counterpoint, the clusters of chords, the melodies that burn with love! (Olivier Messiaen)
Modern religious music has not always taken the part-contemplative, part-depressive turn of today’s spiritual repertoire. Composed during the occupation in 1943, Messiaen’s seven part Visions de l’Amen for two pianos form a monumental cyclical work, full of virtuosity and brilliance, imbued with unmatched harmonic grandeur. Angels and birds, saints and planets, windows of stained glass, pealing bells, all testify to Messiaen’s attachment to a flamboyant Catholicism of which our century has no idea. Based on a text by Ernest Hello – the maddest of all the writers of the “Catholic literary revival” – Messiaen’s music reflects on the different possible meanings of the word Amen: from the genesis of the world to the moment of ecstasy when “all is fulfilled”.
Olivier Messiaen: Visions de l’Amen for two pianos, 1943
Jean-Luc Fafchamps, Jean-Luc Plouvier: pianos