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Mystery of the Eucharistic Presence
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In his last monumental organ piece, “Livre du Saint Sacrement,” the French composer Olivier Messiaen (1908–1992) approaches the mystery of the eucharistic presence, using all elements of his extraordinary compositional language: Gregorian chants, birdsongs, Greek and Hindu rhythms, serialism, and sound-colors. In this book, the Livre du Saint Sacrement, which premiered in 1986, is fully analyzed and theologically interpreted for the first time. The influence of the eucharistic hymns of Thomas Aquinas, among other sources, on the work’s conception and the composer’s theology is explored, and the author points out the ways in which Messiaen’s musico-theological dedication to the Eucharist can inspire actual theology.