Newly discovered work by Olivier Messiaen to be performed

Premiere of newly discovered work by the great French composer Olivier Messiaen

Peter Hill, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Music, gives the world premiere of a newly-discovered work by Olivier Messiaen in a recital at the Upper Chapel on 2 November, as part of the Music in the Round autumn series.

The exciting discovery of a substantial unknown work by Messiaen was made by Peter when working on Messiaen’s sketchbooks. The piece, entitled La Fauvette Passerinette (Subalpine warbler), shows Messiaen’s piano writing at its most spectacular and virtuoso, and the music marks an important step forward from the birdsong-inspired music developed by Messiaen in the 1950s (in works like Catalogue d’oiseaux, 1956–58) towards the rich harmonisations of his later style, in Des Canyons aux Étoiles or the opera Saint François d’Assise.

Peter’s recital – which will be recorded for transmission by Radio 3 – will also include more music by Messiaen, a group of preludes of fugues by Bach, and works by Schoenberg and Berg. He also recently gave a talk at the Crucible Studio introducing the piece.