Friday, April 20, 2012

Songs A Husband Heard

When in 1952 Messiaen was asked to provide a test piece for flautists wishing to enter the Paris Conservatoire, he composed the piece Le merle noir for flute and piano. While he had long been fascinated by birdsong, and birds had made appearances in several of his earlier works (for example La Nativité, Quatuor and Vingt regards), the flute piece was based entirely on the song of the blackbird. ... [I]n 1961 he married pianist Yvonne Loriod. He began to travel widely, to attend musical events and to seek out and transcribe the songs of more exotic birds in the wild. Loriod frequently assisted her husband's detailed studies of birdsong while walking with him, by making tape recordings for later reference.

Birds sing for a mate—
The wife of the composer
With a microphone.

A wife and husband
Listening to the birds sing
To birds listening.

Birds are still singing
And now musicians can play
Songs a husband heard.

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