Peter Hill & Nigel Simeone



Yale University Press, (2005), Schott, Fayard


This is the first biography of Messiaen to reveal the private world behind his extraordinary music, made possible by the unprecedented access to Messiaen’s private archive granted by the composer’s widow, Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen. The archive includes musical sketches, correspondence, lecture notes, diaries, as well as hundreds of photographs, many of which are published here for the first time. Using this remarkable material, the authors trace the origins of Messiaen’s greatest works, and place them in the context of his life, from his years as a student at the Paris Conservatoire to the immense achievements of his final decades. The biography has been described by Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen as ‘vraiment le grand livre qui était inespéré sur la vie de Messiaen’.