Pietro Perugino, Ascension, Musée Municipal des Beaux-Arts, Lyon, 1496-98
Christ Church Cathedral Choir Notes
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Patrick Wedd will perform Olivier Messiaen, L'Ascension, on the 1980 Wilhelm organ, on Ascension Thursday, May 5, at 1:00 pm, following the 12:15 liturgy. Admission free. Continue below to listen online to orchestral and organ versions of l'Ascension.
L'Ascension ("The Ascension") is a piece for orchestra, composed by Olivier Messiaen in 1932-33. Messiaen described it as "4 meditations for orchestra."
The orchestral piece is in four brief sections:
- Majesté du Christ demandant sa gloire à son Père ("The majesty of Christ demanding its glory of the Father")
- Alleluias sereins d’une âme qui désire le ciel ("Serene alleluias of a soul that longs for heaven")
- Alleluia sur la trompette, alleluia sur la cymbale ("Alleluia on the trumpet, alleluia on the cymbal")
- Prière du Christ montant vers son Père ("Prayer of Christ ascending towards his Father")
A complete performance takes around 27 minutes.
Olivier Messiaen: L'Ascension, Four meditations for orchestra:
Performance of Sinfonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks,
Performance of the Orquesta Sinfonica y Coro de RTVE,
Available, among others, for free online listening from the Naxos Music Library (info):
Performance of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Performance of the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, Sylvan Cambreling conducting [BNQ; BM] (info)
Available for free online listening from the Classical Music Library (info):
Performance of the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, Sylvan Cambreling conducting [CML] (info)
In 1933-34, Messiaen made a version for solo organ. The first, second and fourth movements are arrangements of the orchestral pieces, but Messiaen composed a new third movement, Transports de joie d'une âme devant la gloire du Christ qui est la sienne ("Ecstasies of a soul before the glory of Christ, which is its own glory"), usually just known as Transports de joie
Olivier Messiaen, L'Ascension, Four meditations for organ:
Performance of Bert van Stam at the 1973 Marcussen & Son organ of the Sint- Laurenskerk, Rotterdam [YouTube]
Performance of Olivier Latry at the Cavaillé-Coll organ of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Paris [YouTube]
Performance of Thomas Trotter at the 1914 Cavaillé-Coll/Mutin organ of the Collegiale Church of Saint-Pierre, Douai [musicMe]
Available, among others, for free online listening from the Naxos Music Library:
Performance of Olivier Messiaen himself at the Cavaillé-Coll of the Église de la Trinité, Paris [BNQ; BM] (info)
Performance of Naji Hakim at the Cavaillé-Coll organ of the Église de la Trinité, Paris [BNQ; BM] info
Performance of Tom Winpenny at the 1992 Rieger organ of St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh [BNQ; BM] (info)
Performance of Timothy Byram-Wigfield at the 2002 Harrison & Harrison organ of St. George Chapel, Windsor Castle [BNQ; BM] (info)
Performance of Colin Andrews at the C.B. Fisk organ, opus 126, of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Greenville, SC [BNQ; BM] (info)
Theodore Baierl, The Ascension, private collection, c.1918
Click to go to music for the Ascension composed by Byrd, Palestrina, Gowers and Finzi.
Click to go to the Introit (Viri Galilaei) for the Mass of the Ascension in Gregorian Chant.
Charles Tournemire, L'orgue mystique: Easter Cycle, Op. 56: No. 23
Performance on the 4-manual 1890 Cavaillé-Coll organ of the former Abbey of Saint-Ouen, Rouen
Mass of the Feast of the Ascension
Prelude for the Introit [YouTube]
Paraphrases on a Choral [YouTube]
Click to go to Bach Cantatas for Online Listening.
Benjamin West, Ascension, 1801
Bach Cantatas for the Ascension:
Click to go to Johann Sebastian Bach, Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen / Praise God in his kingdoms, Cantata 11,with performances by Gardiner, Harnoncourt, Leusink , Parrott and Richter.
Click to go to Johann Sebastian Bach, Wer da gläubet und getauft wird /Whoever believes and is baptised, Cantata 37, with performances by Gardiner, Harnoncourt, Koopman and Leusink.
Click to go to Johann Sebastian Bach, Gott fähret auf mit Jauchzen / God ascends with shouts of joy, Cantata 43,with performances by Gardiner, Harnoncourt, Herreweghe, Koopman, Leusink and Suzuki.
Click to go to Johann Sebastian Bach, Auf Christi Himmelfahrt allein / On Christ's ascension [journey to heaven] alone, Cantata 128, with performances by Gardiner, Leonhardt and Leusink.