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Chronochromie (Time-Colour) is an orchestral work by French composer Olivier Messiaen, completed in 1960.[1] It consists of seven movements: Introduction, Strophe I, Antistrophe I, Strophe II, Antistrophe II, Epode and Coda. The sixth movement consists of 18 string instruments playing different birdsong. The first performance was in Donaueschingen on 16 October 1960, conducted by Hans Rosbaud.


The work is scored for the following orchestra:[2]

4 flutes (doubling piccolo) 3 oboes (doubling cor anglais) 4 clarinets (doubling E-flat clarinet and bass clarinet)

4 horns 4 trumpets (doubling piccolo trumpet in D) 3 trombones 1 tuba

Percussion (6 players): suspended cymbal, chinese cymbal, 3 gongs, bells, glockenspiel, marimba, xylophone

Strings (16 1st violins, 16 2nd violins, 14 violas, 12 cellos, 10 basses)


Further reading[edit]

  • Bauer, Amy. 2008. "The Impossible Charm of Messiaen's Chronochromie". In Messiaen Studies, edited by Robert Sholl, 145–67. Cambridge Composer Studies. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-521-83981-5.
  • Sherlaw Johnson, Robert. 1989. Messiaen, revised and updated edition. London: J. M. Dent & Sons; Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 9780460126038 (London); ISBN 9780520067349 (Berkeley).