Monday, February 13, 2006


For the High Mass on Sunday, I played only plainsong, harmonised or not according to circumstances; for the eleven o'clock Mass on Sundays, classical and romantic music; for the Mass at noon, I was allowed to play my own music; and finally for the five o'clock Vespers, I was obliged to improvise.

--Olivier Messiaen, describing his work at La Trinité where he served as organist for sixty years. (Six-zero. 60.)

(from Nigel Simeone, Paris: A Musical Gazetteer, p.170)

If forced to choose only one, which service would you attend? It is an answer that "tells all" about one's musical tastes and inclinations, no?


I'd attend the noon Mass because I love to hear composers perform their own music.

Besides, I like to sleep late...

--The Incurable Insomniac

By Blogger Heather, at 7:07 PM  

"obliged to improvise"? That doesn't sound like Olivier was really into the idea. Perhaps it's a translation "thing". I'd probably want to check them all out as well, but the five o'clock Vespers would be my first choice with the noon Mass second.


By Blogger Heather, at 7:07 PM  

In '86 I went to hear "st Francios d'assise" in vredenburg, Utrecht (netherlands). It was an 5 hour performance (light dinner served in the break...) of magic..... Messiaen himself was also there, an old man with a smiling face, waving to everybody.........

--Rolf den Otter

By Blogger Heather, at 7:08 PM  

Definitely the Vespers...though personally I'd rather be at the service(s) where Ives felt obliged to improvise.

--Adam Baratz

By Blogger Heather, at 7:08 PM  

Gee ... if it "tells all" I'm more worried than ever about what I might say! (Ah, the insecure oboist appears again.)

And I honestly can't say which I'd choose but it would probably be between "allowed to play my own music" and "obliged to improvise". (Knowing that, in reality, I'd want to attend all the services to really figure it all out.)

All I know is that I struggle EVERY Sunday with what I have to listen to and sing with. :-(

-- Patty /

By Blogger Heather, at 7:09 PM  

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