Da Camera of Houston will join with music organizations around the world in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of French composer Olivier Messiaen with a performance of his great religious piano cycle “Visions de l’Amen.”
“Messiaen Centennial Concert: Visions de l’Amen” will be presented at The Rothko Chapel on Tuesday, Jan. 20, at 7:30 p.m. The Rothko Chapel is located at 1409 Sul Ross.
The work was first performed by the composer and his student and future wife Yvonne Loriod in a semi-secret art gallery concert in Nazi-occupied Paris.
Da Camera Artistic Director Sarah Rothenberg studied the music of Messiaen with Loriod in Paris. Rothberg will be joined in the performance by Marilyn Nonken, who made her Da Camera debut in 2007.
“The rapturously resonant harmonies, the thrilling pianistic textures, the shifting sense of time which is so integral to Messiaen’s vision seemed like nothing I had encountered before in music,” Rothenberg said about her first encounter with the work. “Messiaen’s deep spirituality allowed his music to move from a slowness that made one feel the span of eternity to a rollicking, rhythmic vitality that one could only relate to a state of ecstasy.”
Messiaen (1908-1992) was a French composer, organist and ornithologist. He entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 11 and was appointed organist at the church of La Trinité in Paris in 1931, a post he held until his death.
On the fall of France in 1940. Messiaen was made a prisoner of war. While incarcerated, he composed his “Quatuor pour la fin du temps” (“Quartet for the end of time”) for the four instruments available to him – the piano, violin, cello and clarinet. The piece was first performed by Messiaen and fellow prisoners to an audience of inmates and prison guards.
Messiaen was appointed professor of harmony soon after his release in 1941, and professor of composition in 1966 at the Paris Conservatoire, positions he held until his retirement in 1978. His many distinguished pupils included Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis and George Benjamin.
Tickets for “Messiaen Centennial Concert: Visions de l’Amen” are $35, and are available by contacting Da Camera, 1427 Branard, at 713-524-5050 or online at www.dacamera.com.
Tickets for students and senior citizens are always half-price. There are discounts for groups of 10 or more.