One of the most influential and idiosyncratic composers of the twentieth century, Messiaen was at the centre of many significant developments in music throughout his lengthy career. This accessible and informative study traces the life and works of this intriguing personality, detailing how he formed his own individual musical voice.
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'The best parts of this absorbing book are those where Dingle relates the music to Messiaen's religious faith and to the many difficulties he faced during his life … many of the author's judgments on the music itself have made me want to go back and listen to works I know - or thought I knew.' BBC Music Magazine
'Christopher Dingle is a seasoned Messiaen insider with a good feel for narrative pacing, and for how much speculation can be risked alongside authentic documentary material.' Gramophone
'… this neatly assembled and marvellously readable volume in the Cambridge Musical lives series. … surprises with several new investigative strands and more than satisfies with a cogent and entertaining commentary … a thoroughly researched, beautifully executed display if lightly-handled scholarship that makes one feel simultaneously admiring of such an all too rare facility and thoroughly envious of it.' Classical Music
Christopher Dingle is Reader in Music and Assistant Course Director (BMus) at Birmingham Conservatoire. In addition to The Life of Messiaen, he is co-author, with Chris Morley, of Music Criticism (Cambridge University Press, in preparation), author of Messiaen's Final Works (Ashgate, forthcoming), and co-editor of Olivier Messiaen: Music, Art and Literature (Ashgate, 2007). He was the organiser of the Messiaen 2008 International Centenary Conference at Birmingham Conservatoire and is in demand as a speaker. He is also on the review panel for BBC Music Magazine and contributes regularly to Tempo.
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