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Morceau de lecture à vue


Before the Second World War Messiaen taught for a time at the École Normale de Musique and in 1934 he wrote a Morceau de lecture à vue—a sight-reading piece—for the piano exams there. Even if he had pity on the students’ rhythmic capabilities (the piece is in 6/8 throughout), there are plenty of accidentals to sort out, often through his use of what he rather cumbersomely called his ‘second mode of limited transposition’, a scale of alternating tones and semitones. The opening five-note motif would later be developed into the ‘Theme of Love’ in the Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus of 1944 (a further instance of the composer recycling material); the whole piece radiates the sort of lushness that was to upset so many critics after the war.

from notes by Roger Nichols © 2008


Messiaen: Chamber Works
SIGCD126Download only


Track 12 on SIGCD126 [1'59] Download only

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD126 track 12

Recording date
19 February 2008
Recording venue
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Rachel Smith
Recording engineer
Peter Newble
Hyperion usage
  1. Messiaen: Chamber Works (SIGCD126)
    Disc 1 Track 12
    Release date: July 2008
    Download only
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