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Pianism and virtuosity in Messiaen’s Vingt regards sur l’enfant-Jésus

Rae, Caroline ORCID: 2023. Pianism and virtuosity in Messiaen’s Vingt regards sur l’enfant-Jésus. Sholl, Robert, ed. Messiaen in Context, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 207-220.

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Composed in 1944, Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus represents one of the most substantial contributions to the solo piano repertoire by any composer of the twentieth century. Making colossal musical, technical and intellectual demands on even the most accomplished performer, this most gargantuan of cycles raises Messiaen’s pianism to an epic level. Its approach owed much to the outstanding abilities of the young Yvonne Loriod who gave the first performance at the Salle Gaveau in March 1945 at the age of only twenty-one, and whose phenomenal virtuosity enabled Messiaen to explore new complexities of musical thought and pianistic expression. Through investigating Messiaen’s pianistic style and treatment of sonority, this essay considers the physicality of his pianism against a background of its indebtedness to virtuoso traditions stemming from Chopin, Liszt and Mussorgsky while exploring parallels in Albéniz and Ravel.

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 14:36

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