• Olivier Messiaen
  • Un Oiseau des arbres de Vie (Oiseau Tui)

  • Alphonse Leduc (World)


Orchestration realized from the sketches by Christopher Dingle
Orchestration réalisée d'après les esquisses par Christopher Dingle

  • 6+pic.3+ca.6+Ebcl+bcl.3/4100/10 perc./strings (without double basses) - Percussion: xylophone, xylorimba, marimba, tubular bells, claves, wood block, whip, 6 temple blocks, 3 tom-toms, suspended cymbal, tam-tam.
  • 4 min

Programme Note

Un oiseau des arbres de Vie (Oiseau Tui) was originally envisaged as the third movement of Éclairs sur l’Au-Delà…, Messiaen’s last completed work. It was to form the first of a pair of movements featuring, respectively, the tui bird from New Zealand and the superb lyrebird from Australia. In both cases, all of the material comes from the transcription of a single bird, a novelty in Messiaen’s orchestral music. At a relatively late stage, Messiaen reluctantly decided to omit the tui movement from Éclairs. His reasons are unclear, but it seems that a re-organisation of the other movements altered both the musical and theological balance of the work so that only one solo birdsong piece was needed. What is unusual is that Messiaen had written all the music for Un oiseau des arbres de Vie (Oiseau Tui) and only needed to write up the orchestration. The short score was finished, Messiaen confirming on the final page that this was the entire movement, and that it had been checked; he also wrote his customary ‘Bien’ to denote a completed piece. This realisation of Un oiseau des arbres de Vie (Oiseau Tui) is based on Messiaen’s annotations in the short score, supplemented by precedents from the music of Éclairs and the composer’s other final works.

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