Robert Sherlaw Johnson's pioneering work on the music of Olivier Messiaen has become the foundation stone upon which all Messiaen scholarship is based. In it he discusses all Messiaen's main works, exploring his musical language, the development of his technique, his individual approach to harmony and rhythm, the theological and symbolic aspects of his music, and his use of birdsong. The appendices include a complete chronological list of works, a bibliography and a list of bird names.
Messiaen died in 1992 aged 84. In between the publication of the last edition of this book in 1989 and this final, updated version he composed a further set of masterpieces that are more than a postscript to his compositional oeuvre. This new edition brings the book fully up to date on these and other works and offers additional assessment on Messiaen's influence as a composer.
Robert Sherlaw Johnson (1932-2000) was a lecturer in music at the University of Oxford and a fellow at Worchester College. He was also a composer and Pianist of note who recorded a number of Messiaen's works, including the Catalogue d'Oiseaux, of which he gave the first complete performance in Britain at Coventry Cathedral in 1973. This edition of his Messiaen study has been updated by Dr Caroline Rae.