Dissertation Index



Author: Dellosa, Lerie Grace

Title: Messiaen\'s Musical Language: Technique and Theological Symbolism in Les Corps glorieux, \"Combat de la mort et de la vie\"

Institution: University of North Texas

Begun: January 2014

Completed: October 2015

Abstract:

One of the most important ways to understand Olivier Messiaen’s musical language is through the lens of the theological ideas that many of his works convey. He considers expressing his Christian faith to be the primary purpose in his music. Through his idiosyncratic technique, Messiaen gives power and life to his religious music that he combines with his interest in literature, musical analysis, poetic imagery and symbolism, his love for theatre, and his compositional and organ abilities. The abundant studies of Messiaen’s works deal with the intricacies of his musical language, yet most of these studies barely discuss his theological ideas in relation to his technique. Nevertheless, technical analysis of his music poses immense challenges, especially in the domains of melody and harmony.

Although my approach is unconventional and do not follow any existing system, I base my technical and theological analyses mainly from Messiaen\'s technique, his commentaries and his references to the Scriptures. The Combat de la mort et de la vie is the heart of Les Corps glorieux in both technical and theological aspects. It is an intricate musical and analytical artwork where Messiaen demonstrates his melodic and harmonic developments using his idiosyncratic language, and through symbolism portrays the most complex of all drama according to Christian theology—the story of Jesus Christ\'s Passion and Resurrection. My research can relate directly to a more informed and convincing performance of the work, and can contribute a different perspective to the study, understanding, and appreciation of Messiaen\'s theologically inspired works.

Keywords: Olivier Messiaen, melodic and harmonic analysis, Messiaen\'s musical language, modes of limited transposition, twentieth century analysis, music symbolism, number symbolism, toccata analysis, idiosyncratic music, Les Corps glorieux, Combat de la mort et de la vie

TOC:

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF TABLES
LIST OF FIGURES
LIST OF ANNOTATED GLOSSARY IN APPENDIX
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
CHAPTER 2 MESSIAEN’S WORLD IN RELATION TO HIS MUSICAL LANGUAGE
Poetry and Literature
Christian Faith
Paris Conservatoire
La Trinité
Sound-Color Synesthesia
Charm of Impossibilities
CHAPTER 3 ASPECTS RELATED TO THE COMBAT DE LA MORT ET DE LA VIE
Introduction
Overview of the Seven Movements of Les Corps glorieux
Messiaen’s Commentaries and Analysis
French Organ Toccata Elements
CHAPTER 4 FORM AND DESIGN
Two Main Parts
Three Major Sections in the First Part
Binary Sentence in the Second Part
Theme-Related Designs
CHAPTER 5 ANALYSIS OF THE TOCCATA FIGURATIONS
Introduction
Alternating Chords
Fan-like Movements
Distinct Figurations
CHAPTER 6 ANALYSIS OF THE THEME STATEMENTS
Distinguishing Elements of the Theme
Theme Statements in the First Part
Theme Statements in the Second Part
CHAPTER 7 THEOLOGICAL SYMBOLISM AND INTERPRETATION
Messiaen’s Use of Symbolism in the Combat de la mort et de la vie
Main Aspects in the Movement
Three Main Sections in the First Part
Two Main Sections in the Second Part
CHAPTER 8 CONCLUSION
APPENDIX Annotated Glossary of Messiaen’s Musical Language
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Contact:

leriedellosa@my.unt.edu

Date Listed: 04/05/2016


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