Two Ways of Looking at Messiaen's "Vingt regards dur l'enfant-Jésus"
The analytic component of my dissertation, Two Ways of Looking at Messiaens Vingt Regards
sur lEnfant-Jésus, takes two points of entry into the masterwork for piano: the first examines
the role of repetition in two of the movements, Regard de la Vierge and Regard du Fils sur le
Fils; the second investigates Messiaens synesthesia, analyzing the pitch collections that
contributed to his visual perceptions. Regard de la Vierge utilizes the juxtaposition of
disparate musics in order to create a conflict; pitch-centricity and the sharing of motives unify
the movement and contribute to the resolution of the conflict. In Regard du Fils sur le Fils,
Messiaen re-contextualizes the first movement, labeled the Thème de Dieu, which provides the
structural foundations for the superimposition of two additional musics.
In Baptism, the compositional component of my dissertation, I continue to explore a
technique that is for me a significant change in style: the overlapping of musical events. Some
sections of the ensemble continue with one music, while other sections begin new or divergent
material. In most instances, the simultaneous musics are realized through metric modulations.
The piece was originally commissioned by the Duquesne Contemporary Ensemble and David Stock, and after the initial performance, I revised the work in order to highlight this feature. The
University of Pittsburgh Orchestra, under the direction of Roger Zahab, performed the revised
version in February of 2007.
Advisor:Dennis Looney; Amy Williams; Mathew Rosenblum; Eric Moe
School:University of Pittsburgh
School Location:USA - Pennsylvania
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:09/19/2007