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Messiaen and his muse Yvonne

  The famous French classical pianist, Roche Miraro (1959-), who has done in-depth research on French music and the composer Olivier, Messiaen, once commented on Messiaen and his wife Yvonne. Lolio: “If Messiaen hadn’t had a pianist wife like her, Messiaen probably wouldn’t have been Messiaen.” When Yvonne Lolio died, their student, the famous British pianist Paul Crossley (1944-) wrote in The Independent, comparing them to another great couple in music history, saying: “I have no doubts that Olivier Messian The musical partnership with Yvonne Lolio is as important as Robert’s relationship with Clara Schumann. Like Clara Schumann, Yvonne Lolio is Olivier Messi Ang’s muse, his lovely wife, and an excellent interpreter and enlightening teacher to those fortunate like me.” Indeed, in Mession’s life, Yvonne was not only his wife , and more importantly, his muse, even though both of them were extremely musically gifted.
  Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) was born in Avignon, southern France. His father, Pier Messiaen, was a poet and scholar of English literature who translated several of Shakespeare’s plays into French; his mother, Ceci Le Sauvage, also a poet, has published a series of poems “Sprouting Souls”, the last chapter of her poem “As the Earth Revolves”, written to the yet-to-be-born Messian. Messiaen later said that the poems had a profound impact on his life, and that it foretold his future career as an artist. After the outbreak of the First World War, Peel served in the army, and Cecil took Olivier and his brother to Grenoble in southern France, where they stayed at her brother’s home. Grenoble was Olivier’s favorite place in his life. Here, he first became fascinated by theater. Together with his younger brother, he made a toy theater and recited Shakespeare’s plays. Later, he began to compose and teach himself the piano. While studying, he fell in love with the contemporary French composer Claude Debussy and the Swiss-French composer Maurice Ravel in his prime. In addition, he has also studied “The Punishment of Faust” by the French Romantic composer Hector Berlioz, “Alchist” by the German classical composer Christopher Gluck and the Austrian composer Wall Scores from operas such as “Don Giovanni” and “The Magic Flute” by Fugang Mozart. One of the learnings was that in 1917, the young Messiaen composed his debut piano piece of the same name based on the famous poem “Miss Charlotte” by the great British poet Alfred Tennyson.
  In November 1918, after the end of the World War, my father moved his family to Nantes in the Loire region of western France after his father returned from the front. At this time, Olivier began to receive formal music instruction for the first time. In addition to learning the piano, his parents also invited Jean de Gibbon (1873-1952) to teach him harmony. On October 10 of this year, Mr. de Gibbon gave Messian a score of Debussy’s “Plaias and Melisande” as a birthday present. The only opera based on Maurice Maeterlinck’s screenplay of the same name. This score left a deep impression on Messiaen. Messiaen said that the two protagonists in the opera had committed suicide in a hazy dream, which made him feel like “a bolt from the blue”. This is the special sensitivity that a gifted musician has innately for music. Back then, when Berlioz listened to a piece of beautiful music when he was a child, he first felt immersed in a kind of lustful ecstasy, then his whole body became restless due to palpitations and depression, and finally he even shivered and convulsed, almost convulsing. passed out. Another Maria Malibran (1808-1836) had to leave the concert hall because of the strong vibrations when she heard Beethoven’s Symphony in C minor for the first time. It is this innate sensitivity to music that makes Berlioz a great composer of the French Romantic period and Malibran a world-renowned soprano. Messiaen later declared that Playas and Melisande “was the most decisive influence I could have had”. The researchers believe that there is a clear trace of Debussy’s music in Messiaen’s early compositions.
  In 1919, my father got a job as a teacher in Paris. So the family moved to Paris and managed to get 11-year-old Olivier Messian to study composition at the Paris Conservatoire. Here Messiaen began to study the rhythms of the East and the West systematically and extensively. A major benefit from his studies was that his mentor, Paul Duca (1865-1935), a professor of orchestral law known for his composition of orchestral music, taught that learning to compose music should involve “listening to the singing of the birds”. Messiaen took Duka’s direction and began to study birdsong and microphonic music. This helped his genius develop better. By the time he graduated from the academy in 1930, Messiaen had won many awards for his works in 1924, 1926, 1927, 1928 and 1929.
  In September 1931, Messiaen was appointed organist of the Trinity Church in Paris, a position he held until his death. Four years later, in order to promote the new French music, he and composers Georges Migot, Andre Jolivet, Yves Baudrillard, etc., created the “Helix Nebula” or “Young France”. a group. From 1936, Messiaen taught at the Sacred Music School and the Music Normal School until the outbreak of World War II in 1939. He enlisted in the French army, but because of his poor eyesight, he did not directly participate in the battle, but did some auxiliary work. Work. But in May 1940, he was arrested in Verdun and imprisoned as a soldier in a prison in Gorlitz, eastern Germany. In 1941, he was deported from the Silesia prisoner-of-war camp to Paris. In 1942, he resumed his post at Trinity Church and was a professor of harmony at the Paris Conservatory. Yvonne Lolio is one of his students here.
  Yvonne Lolio (1924-2010) was taught the piano at the age of 5 by her Austrian godmother, Madame Sivard, and by the age of 12 or 14 she had learned to perform at the stage level, including all of Mozart’s Concertos, all of Beethoven’s sonatas, and Bach’s two volumes of 24 preludes and fugue “48”. These works were all very difficult, but the talented Yvonne later recalled: “I think they were all very easy, and God gave me a good memory.” After entering the Paris Conservatory, Yvonne Lolio first Learn piano from Lazar Levy and harmony from Andre Bloch. Olivier Messiaen did not begin teaching her until he was repatriated on May 7, 1941. Lolio once recounted how the students saw Mession in their first class:
  ”…the students eagerly awaited the arrival of the new teacher, and at last he appeared with a score, his fingers due to The relationship he had spent in the prisoner of war camp was so swollen. He went to the piano, spread out the entire score of Debussy’s “Afternoon Prelude to the Faun”, and played it all section by section. The whole class Both were captivated and moved, and immediately everyone fell in love with him.”
  In the process of teaching and learning, Messiaen soon saw that Yvonne Lorio had an extraordinary memory and dazzling skill, and was convinced that she could perform superbly on the music he wrote. explanation of. Messiah claimed that Yvonne was “a unique and extremely outstanding pianist whose presence not only changed the way composers write piano, but also their style, worldview and mode of thinking”.
  In December 1942, Messiaen was commissioned by filmmaker Dennis Tour to write a piece for the “Seven Stars Concert”. So he created “Amen’s Fantasy” in 1943. He is inspired by Lolio’s playing skills and inspired by her to describe their feelings for two piano pieces. The first part was written specifically for the dazzling skill of Lolion, with its brilliant tones, which required the player to be extremely skilled; the second part, which featured major chords, was written for Messiaen himself. played. Later, when discussing his music with several other pianists, Messiaen said he never worried about the difficulty of the piece because he knew that Lolio could play anything. On May 10, 1943, “Amen’s Fantasy” premiered at the “Charpentier Gallery” in Paris, and achieved good results. Yvonne Lolio, who was only 19 years old, was performing. Shortly thereafter, in 1944, Mession wrote his most important religious work for solo piano, “Twenty Gazes on the Holy Infant Jesus” for Lorio. Messiaen declared that the work “has a lot of piano characteristics and unique effects, a small innovation in the composition of piano music, and if I hadn’t heard Yvonne Lorio’s earliest recitals, I would have It must be impossible to realize that.” Experts say Messiaen’s great work can be seen as the clearest example of a composer whose creative style was directly influenced by the performers he wrote for. In the same year, Messiaen also wrote “Three Pieces of the Worship of the Gods” for Lolio, which combines female vocal chorus and orchestra. In the printed score of this work, Messiaen has only a simple dedication: “To Yvonne Lorio.” The tacit understanding of the relationship: “Dedicated to Yvonne Lorio, whose skills are matched by her talents, and she completely understands my heart.”

  From the relationship between the two in the past few years, it is not difficult to see that Messiaen has already decided that Yvonne Lorio is his muse and the source of his inspiration. He loves her deeply. But Messiah, a Catholic, had also married the accomplished violinist and composer Claire Delbos (1906-1959), daughter of a professor at the Sorbonne, in 1932, and had a son in 1937. Claire suffered multiple miscarriages early in her marriage, and after a failed operation after World War II, she began to lose her memory, suffered from mental illness, and was admitted to a nursing home, where her health deteriorated and she lost the ability to take care of herself. Catholics cannot divorce, and divorce is considered adultery and is against the canon. Therefore, although Mession and Lolio live in a three-story building, they have to be separated: Mession lives on one floor, Lorio lives on the other floor, and the middle floor is a teaching building, and the two cannot live together. together. Because neither divorce nor cohabitation with Lorio makes Messia feel extremely distressed and emotional. In such a situation, “we just cried,” Lolio recalls. “We cried for almost 20 years, and it wasn’t until she (Claire) died that we couldn’t get married.”
  Still, love grew in their hearts, It grows like a grass under the rocks.
  In the years from 1945 to 1949, Messiaen’s creations were all dedicated to Lolio, and some of them, such as the “Tristan Trilogy”, all seemed to have “Tristan” The essence of the story of “He Qisser” not only shows the mystery of love, but also has a sexual element, and the final outcome is often the death of two lovers. This is because he loves Yvonne, but the two cannot realize the union of love and see no future of love. Yvonne, of course, was also deeply distressed by her inability to bond with Messiaen. But she doesn’t hold a grudge for seeing Claire as an obstacle to their love. For several years, until Claire passed away, almost every weekend, Yvonne accompanied Messiaen with a sincere heart, went to visit Claire, and resolved Messiain’s depression and grief with her own care. After Claire’s death, they waited another two years for their wedding and then went to Japan for their honeymoon. In Japan, Messiah wrote Seven Haiku: Japanese Sketches.
  After the marriage, Messiaen began to live in Lolio’s apartment on rue Marcadet, north of Montmartre, and lived a free and easy life.
  From his childhood at his uncle’s house in Grenoble, in the Rhône and Alps, the secluded surroundings of the Lachet and the Isère have made Messian accustomed to enjoying the beauty of the mountains, the wind and the birdsong. . Later, after starting to study music, Paul Duca taught him to “listen to the singing of birds”, which convinced him that every kind of bird is a master of music. At the same time, Messiah must have known that when the Swedish woman Jeanne Lind went to Paris to study vocal music with the world-renowned vocal teacher Manuel Patricio Rodriguez Garcia, although she won a great deal but she still claims that she does not want to sing according to anyone’s rules, that what she strives for is to sing like a bird; she believes that only the bird that sings the best is in line with her desire to sing. Authenticity, clarity and expressiveness required. Jeanne Lind did so later, to the praise of the Austrian music theorist Eduard Hanslick, author of the classic music theory On the Beauty of Music, saying that her singing “is an extremely delicate imitation. It’s amazing how the joyful song of the birds gives us a fresh, natural, intoxicating feeling in the woods through (Jenny Lynd’s) superb singing skills.” Therefore, Jeanne Linde is also known as the “Swedish Nightingale”.
  In his youth, Messiaen tried to inspire his music from the chirping of birds, famously such as the Quatuor pourla fin du temps (Quartuor pourla fin du temps), which he composed in prison after his capture. His own distressed state of mind at the time and his heartfelt praise for religion. The “Wounded Bird” part is the harmony that integrates bird singing into the whole piece. This work was performed in a prisoner of war camp in 1941, with three French musicians playing the violin, cello, and clarinet, respectively, with Mession playing the piano himself. Later, the use of his techniques became more and more mature, and his representative work was “A Hundred Birds Awakening” created in 1953, which is considered to be a symphonic poem from midnight to midday in spring. This piano piece has four parts: midnight, early morning birds wake up, sunrise exhibition song and noon big rest. It is composed of 38 kinds of bird songs collected by Messiaen.
  Messiah has always liked to go into the Great Forest and the Uzbekistan Market to record the chirping of exotic birds. This has become his daily lesson. Yvonne was always with him at all times. Almost every Sunday, the musical couple takes a tape recorder and pen and paper to the countryside; they also schedule time to travel to other parts of Europe, to Japan, Australia, North America, Greece, India and remote islands in the Pacific Ocean. Feng Na recorded the songs of the birds, while Messiaen wrote down the songs of the birds on paper, especially the nightingales, nightingales from different regions. Messiaen likes to listen to the thrashing birds in the twilight forest. He said: they are “probably the loveliest singer in France”. “Once you hear it once, you will never forget it”. With the help of Yvonne, Messiah was inspired by the singing of these birds. For example, the famous piano piece “Flock of Birds” composed by Messiaen describes the red-throated finch, black black thrush, spotted thrush, country lark, alpine red-billed jay, oriole, green black thrush, black eared thrush, The songs of dozens of birds, such as short-tailed lark, great reed warbler, short-toed lark, rock black thrush, rock thrush, vulture, light grey curlew, grey forest bird, etc. Renowned music critic Jeremy Eichler praised: “These works are not simple imitations, nor are they purely inspired by birds, such as “The Birds” and “The Warbler in the Garden” , are poems of timbre, reminiscent of the situation, with colors and atmospheres.”
  Yvonne, as his muse, a violinist’s assistant, not only inspired Messia but also helped him a lot , which enabled Messiaen to create, Messiaen was very grateful to his muse, and all his late creations were dedicated to Yvonne. Yvonne Lolio has also been wholeheartedly behind his work. After Messiaen’s death in 1992, she began the gigantic project of collating Messiaen’s manuscripts, including his unfinished works and early works before his death. She will always maintain her love for Messiaen. The famous French classical pianist Roger Muraro (Roger Muraro, 1959-) once visited Yvonne Lolio and said: “After Madame (referring to Lolio) went to the cemetery of Messian to pay her respects, She told me she was in love with Messiaen, was, and always is.” It was like a Robert and Clara Schumann couple.

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