Messiaen's major works include L'Ascension (1933), for orchestra Apparition de l'Église Éternelle (1932), La Nativité du Seigneur (1935), Le Banquet Céleste (1936), and Les Corps Glorieux (1939), for organ Quartet for the End of Time (1941), his best-known piece, composed while he was a prisoner of war in Germany (1940–42) Visions de l'Amen (1943), for two pianos the orchestral Oiseaux Exotiques (1956), Et Exspecto Resurrectionem Mortuorum (1965), and Des Canyons aux Étoiles (1974) and The Transfiguration (1969), an oratorio. He also wrote masses, songs, and much chamber music. His symphony in 10 movements, Turangalila Symphony (1948), is considered the most grandiose expression of his theories. Messiaen's only opera is the five-hour St. Francis of Assisi (1983). His last major composition, Éclairs sur l'Au-Delà (1992), was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, to celebrate its 150th anniversary.
See his Technique of My Mystical Language (tr. 1957) biography by R. S. Johnson (1975, rev. 1989) studies by C. H. Bell (1984), P. Griffiths (1985), and R. Nichols (1986).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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