Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 8:00pm
Olivier Messiaen - Le Banquet Célèste and La Nativité du Seigneur
We are proud to continue this distinguished series of concerts featuring The Complete Organ Works of Olivier Messiaen, played by Messiaen’s friend and disciple, Jon Gillock. In the first two programs of this cycle, Jon Gillock played the final two masterpieces Messiaen composed. This year, Gillock turns to two of the earliest — and most popular — of all his works.
According to Gillock, the Banquet Célèste “is a tender meditation . . .utter gentleness and love. . . far away in the heavens,” a piece which “transports us out of our everyday world.” Even though it was composed when Messiaen was but 20 years old, it remains one of the most beautiful and accessible of his works.
La Nativité du Seigneur (The Birth of our Savior) depicts “the events and personages of the Christmas story. This suite is probably the best known of all the Messiaen cycles for organ.”
Each movement utilizes wonderful French symphonic timbres found on Ascension’s Quoirin organ. The work culminates with Messiaen’s most famous organ piece, the brilliant, dazzling “Dieu parmi nous” (“God among us".)