Olivier Messiaen’s Vingt regards is one of music’s great journeys and one of its most personal testaments. The music of Messiaen’s vast piano canvas is showered in great cascades of colour and light, drenched in rich and exotic harmonies, and illuminated by the song of birds and the mystery of God. Pianist Peter Hill, who was a close colleague of Messiaen and has been sharing his peerless interpretations with enraptured audiences for close to 40 years, is our guide into his unique mystical world.

MESSIAEN Vingt regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus

Peter Hill piano
ANAM Pianists

Peter Hill’s ANAM residency is generously supported by Arnold and Mary Bram

 - Messiaen’s early works were inspired by his devout Catholic faith and by the joys of marriage and parenthood. The wartime works begin with the Quartet for the end of Time, composed while a prisoner-of-war, and continue with a series of compositions – including Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus – prompted by the extraordinary brilliance of the young Yvonne Loriod. 

- For ten years, from 1952, Messiaen’s music was entirely based on his studies of birdsong, while the 1960s saw an emerging synthesis of his more modern style with the sensuous harmonies and colours of his earlier music. A series of monumental achievements followed, any one of which might have summed up his life’s work, most notably the opera on the life of St Francis, Saint François d’Assise (1975–83). 

- A six-week visit to Australia in 1988, during which he was particularly enthralled by the song of the lyrebird in the forests near Brisbane, inspired a final orchestral masterpiece, Éclairs sur l’au-delà (1987–92). 


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