The University of St Andrews Music Centre has provided a fantastic programme of events this year – and ‘Olivier Messiaen day’ on 14 February 2015 was no exception!
A series of concerts took place in venues throughout St Andrews, including the Byre Theatre and St Salvator’s Chapel, featuring vocal, organ and chamber works by Messiaen.
I was honoured to take part in a student vocal recital at the Byre, performing the song cycle Chants de terre et de ciel, accompanied by Jakub Gutkowski. There were also performances of “Vocalise” and “La mort du nombre”, for two voices, violin and piano.
I learned a great deal about Messiaen – both his music and his life – through preparing for the performance. Although Chants de terre et de ciel seemed initially daunting, I am delighted to have had the opportunity to perform it in its entirety – and found many passages of the cycle hauntingly beautiful. I’ve not had much experience with 20th century song repertoire – however I’m very excited to continue exploring it!
Thank you to everyone at the Music Centre who made ‘Olivier Messiaen day’ so enjoyable – and to all the people who put up with my practising tritones in the Younger Hall!