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La ville d'en haut

Messiaen: La ville d’en haut

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 La ville d’en haut Messiaen returns to strict temporal notation, and also gives a clue to the import of the work’s structure; ‘the brass chorale represents the glory of the celestial city. The birdsong in the tuned percussion, woodwind and solo piano symbolises the joy of the resurrected, assured of being ever close to Christ’.

Roger Nichols


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