"The celebrated composer Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) characterized himself as a "rhythmician ornithologist and theologian." All interpreters concur that his life and work are grounded in a profound faith. This book examines the translation of his faith into his musical language. It centers on a hermeutic analysis of two spiritually motiviated instrumental compositions Visions de l’amen
for two pianos (1943) and Vingt Regards sur l’enfant-Jésus
for piano solo (1944). Part I introduces the main aspects of the composer’s religious environment (the catholic literary revival his father Pierre and his mentor Charles Tournemire) as well as the components of his idiosyncratic musico-symbolic vocabulary. Parts II and III examine the twenty-seven movements comprised in the Visions
and the Regards
whose thematic material structure and musical as well as spiritual function within the whole cycle are interpreted in light of the literary source and imagery that inspired Messiaen.