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Lot n° 134

MESSIAEN Olivier (1908 - 1992)...

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MUSICAL MANUSCRIPT autograph "Olivier Messiaen", La Transfi guration de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ, for mixed choir, seven instrumental soloists and very large orchestra (1969); 7 and 374 pages in-fol. or large in-fol., plus title and text sheets, and interleaved blank sheets, in 15 folders.
Spectacular orchestral score of this monumental work for choir and very large orchestra.
This gigantic work is the result of a long elaboration, for a commission from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, in memory of its founder, for the tenth anniversary of the death of this great patron. From June 1965 to February 1969, the work continued to evolve and develop in 14 movements, reaching a duration of about 100 minutes with an ensemble of more than 200 performers.
The first performance was given at the Gulbenkian Festival, at the Coliseu in Lisbon, on June 7, 1969, in front of 9,000 people, by the Gulbenkian Orchestra.000 people, by the Orchestre de Paris, the Gulbenkian Choir and the seven soloists (Yvonne Loriod, Mstislav
Rostropvitch, Michel Debost, Henry Druart, Alain Jacquet, Jacques
Delécluse and François Dupin) under the direction of Serge Baudo, and then by the same performers with the ORTF Choirs in Paris, at the Palais de Chaillot on October 20, 1969. It was published in 2 volumes by
Alphonse Leduc in July and August 1972.
La Transfi guration is composed for a large mixed choir on Latin texts, taken from the Bible (Genesis, Psalms, Book of Wisdom, Gospels, epistles of Saint Paul) and the Summa Theologica of Saint Thomas Aquinas, with seven soloists (piano, cello, flute, clarinet, xylorimba, vibraphone, and marimba) and a very large orchestra. Of a very complex structure, it forms an imposing altarpiece in fourteen parts organized in two septenaries, each presenting two gospel accounts, each followed by two commentaries or meditations, and a chorale to finish. "This violent orchestral and vocal mass, rough and full of shimmering scales, creates an emotion in keeping with the terrible and splendid infi nity of the Almighty Eternal" (Pierrette Mari).
The manuscript is very carefully noted in black pencil on papers of different formats, classified in folders: 9 folders are on 28-line paper, and 6 others are in very large format on 40-line paper; each folder includes a title page, and a page with the sacred text in Latin and French.
The first folder contains the title sheet and preliminary sheets (7 p.): table of pieces, nomenclature of instruments, note on the pronunciation of the Latin text. The Nomenclature des instruments gives the eff ectives (and the range of some instruments). "WOODS : 2 small flutes, 3 flutes, 3 oboes, 1 English horn, 1 small clarinet in E flat, 3 clarinets in B flat, 1 bass clarinet in B flat, 3 bassoons, 1 contrabassoon (18 woodwinds in all). BRASS: 1 small trumpet in D, 3 trumpets in C, 6 horns in F, 3 trombones, 1 bass trombone, 1 tuba, 1 bass saxhorn in B flat, 1 bass tuba in C (17 brass instruments in all). SOLSTERS: solo flute, solo clarinet, xylorimba, vibraphone, large marimba, solo cello, solo piano (7 soloists in all). CHORUS: 10 1st sopranos, 10 2nd sopranos, 10 mezzos, 10 1st contraltos, 10 2nd contraltos, 10 1st tenors, 10 2nd tenors, 10 baritones, 10 1st basses, 10 2nd basses (100 singers in all). STRINGS: 16 first violins, 16 second violins, 14 violas, 12 cellos, 10 double basses (68 strings in all). PERCUSSIONS: I triangle-grelot, reco-reco, 3 small Turkish cymbals, suspended cymbal, 1 pair of cymbals; II set of crotales, 1 claves, wood-block, 6 temple-block, 1 pair of maracas, suspended cymbals, 1 pair of cymbals; III set of bell-tubes;
IV 7 gongs (staggered from high to low); V 3 tam-tams (1 low, 1 low, 1 very low); VI suspended cymbal, 3 toms, 1 bass drum (in all, 6 percussionists - plus 3 percussion-keyboards in the soloists' group)
The 1st septennium includes:
I. Récit Évangélique (4 p.);
II. Confi guratum corpori claritatis suae (28 p.);
III. Christus Jesus, splendor Patris (36 p.);
IV. Récit Évangélique (4 p.);
V. Quam dilecta tabernacula tua (27 p.);
VI. Candor est lucis aeternae (20 p. large format);
VII. Choral de la Sainte Montagne (6 p. large format).
The 2nd septenary includes:
VIII. Récit Évangélique (10 p.);
IX. Perfecte conscius illius perfectae generationis (64 p. large format);
X. Adoptionem fi liorum perfectam (44 p.);
XI. Récit Évangélique (7 p.);
XII. Terribilis est locus iste (34 p. large format);
XIII. Tota Trinitas apparuit (74 p. large format);
XIV. Choral de la Lumière de Gloire (16 p. large format).
BIBLIOGRAPHY Peter Hill and Nigel Simeone, Olivier Messiaen (

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