Olivier Messiaen, The Crystal Liturgy

A film by Olivier Mille

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Program notes

The ideal door to look into the world of one of the most inventive composers.

The Crystal Liturgy, from the name of the first movement of the Quartet for the End of Time, is the ideal introduction to the world of Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) whose original work is like a singular planet rotating around nature and faith, its stars.

The film uses rare documents: we see Messiaen giving lessons at the Conservatoire de Paris with generous simplicity; we follow him down the parths of nature as he writes down the songs the birds teach him; we admire Yvonne Loriod, his wife, student and accomplice, who plays the works of her teacher…

He is also interviewed at length, at different ages, which enables us to understand the particularity of his creative process and to understand the mysteries of a vocation: how could an eight-year-old boy, living alone with a mother who wasn't a musician, in a family where there were no musicians, know beyond the shadow of a doubt that he was a musician?

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