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Revitalising the spiritual: Messiaen and La Jeune France

Rae, Caroline ORCID: 2023. Revitalising the spiritual: Messiaen and La Jeune France. Sholl, Robert, ed. Messiaen in Context, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 103-118.

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By the mid 1930s, Messiaen’s Catholic faith was already emerging as a defining feature of his compositional persona. At the same time, Messiaen became increasingly attracted to the music of André Jolivet whose innovative language influenced many of his own technical processes. Cementing their friendship through discovering a shared interest in the importance of spiritual concerns, Messiaen and Jolivet joined with Daniel-Lesur in 1935 to found the avant-garde chamber music society La Spirale, the organisation that paved the way for a more ambitious orchestral concert society initiated by Yves Baudrier under the name La Jeune France. Established in 1936 with the aim of promoting new music in a spirit of sincerity, generosity and artistic conscience, the composers of La Jeune France sought to assert a sense of French national identity while revitalising more human and spiritual values in an increasingly mechanised and impersonal world lurching towards the catastrophe of World War Two. This essay discusses the activities of La Jeune France and considers their aesthetics and ideals in the context not only of similar initiatives in the field of the visual arts but also the Catholic revival that took hold in 1930s France.

Item Type: Book Section
Status: Published
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781108487911
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2024 14:39

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