2018 Student Research Conference:
31st Annual Student Research Conference

Analysis of Appel Interstellaire from Des Canyons aux Étoiles...for Solo Piano, Horn, Xylorimba, Glockenspiel, and Orchestra by Olivier Messiaen

Amber M. Colvis
Prof. Patricia Mickey, Faculty Mentor

“Interstellar Call,” scored for solo French horn, is the sixth movement of Olivier Messiaen’s programmatic orchestral work, “From the Canyons to the Stars…”.  Olivier Messiaen was a French avant-garde composer who studied at the Paris Conservatoire under Paul Dukas.  Messiaen considered himself a Romantic, but harnessed the technique of serialism to perpetuate his religious philosophies and his personal fixation on what he termed the “charm of impossibilities,” or symmetry.  In addition to expressing his Roman Catholic beliefs, Messiaen had a fascination with birdcalls and exhibited characteristics of synesthesia.  This work represents the French avant-garde compositional styles of the mid-20th century.  Features of this piece that will be discussed include a variety of extended techniques for horn, as well as religious symbolism, tonal and rhythmic serialism, and transcriptions of birdsongs.  Messiaen’s use of birdsongs and timbres in relation to horn will be analyzed and demonstrated live. 

Keywords: birdsongs, synesthesia, Roman Catholicism, serialism, "charm of impossibilities", French horn extended technique, programmatic music, French avant-garde


Presentation Type: Performance Art

Session: 412-3
Location: OP Performance Hall
Time: 3:40

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