'The overall effect is astoundingly bright and wild. It suggests the voice of a woman or child calling for help, or super-amplified double-bass harmonics. The wail and final glissando are like the siren of a boat drawing away into darkness .....'
Appropriately Soleil des eaux composed by Messiaen's pupil Pierre Boulez plays live on BBC Radio 3 as I write, with the composer conducting his own 80th birthday concert with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Messiaen by Peter Hill and Nigel Simeone is published by Yale University Press
Picture credit - Messiaen in five minutes
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