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Un vitrail et des oiseaux

Messiaen: Un vitrail et des oiseaux

Both Un vitrail et des oiseaux of 1986 and La ville d’en haut of 1987 follow the mosaic patterning of earlier works, with music ranging from the athletic ecstasies of birdsong to the blazing dignity of brass chorales. In the case of Un vitrail et des oiseaux (‘stained glass and birds’), it is tempting to take the composer at his word when he writes ‘there is nothing much one can add to the title, which says it all’; though one may just mention that at various times Messiaen allows instruments to play at their own speeds from an entry point indicated by the conductor.

Roger Nichols

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