2014 Student Research Conference:
27th Annual Student Research Conference

The Three Personnages of Messiaen's Instants Défunts
Chloe F. Bertschi♦
Dr. Warren Gooch, Faculty Mentor

The composer Olivier Messiaen was one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. He used techniques that were inspired by his love of nature, scientific principles, ancient music, and his deep personal spirituality. His pieces exhibit extensive symmetry, the use of modes created by himself, Impressionism as well as world music influences, birdsong, and more. After his mother's passing, he wrote a collection of eight piano preludes that exhibit themes of loss, melancholy, and introspection. The fourth prelude, Instants Défunts, shows the use of personnages, a compositional technique Messiaen borrowed from theater in which three different personnages, or personalities, are represented in music. One personnage gradually gives away to another dominating personnage, while the third looks on and observes their interaction. The presentation will focus on a discussion of this prelude.

Keywords: Messiaen, Personnages, Instants Défunts, Instants Defunts, 20th century music


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 109-2
Location: OP 2117
Time: 8:15

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