Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum

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Résurrection des morts. Stained glass, around 1200

Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum (And I wait for the resurrection of the dead) is a work for wind orchestra by Olivier Messiaen, written in 1964 and first performed the following year. It is composed in five movements.


Commissioned by André Malraux to commemorate the dead of the two World Wars, the piece was written and orchestrated in 1964. The piece was destined to be performed in large spaces like churches, cathedrals and the open air. Messiaen was inspired by the countryside which surrounded him as he worked on the composition - the Hautes-Alpes with their great mountains - but also the imposing images of Gothic and Romanesque churches, and the ancient monuments of Mexico and Ancient Egypt. Messiaen also studied "The Resurrection," from the supplement to the third part of the Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas.


The piece uses strong woodwind, brass and percussion sections. The string section of a symphony orchestra is omitted entirely.





  • "Des profondeurs de l'abîme, je crie vers toi, Seigneur: Seigneur, écoute ma voix!"
  • "Le Christ, ressuscité des morts, ne meurt plus; la mort n'a plus sur lui d'empire."
  • "L'heure vient où les morts entendront la voix du Fils de Dieu..."
  • "Ils ressusciteront, glorieux, avec un nom nouveau -- dans le concert joyeux des étoiles et les acclamations des fils du ciel."
  • "Et j'entendis la voix d'une foule immense..."

The piece is 35 minutes long.


Yvonne Loriod, piano; Groupe instrumental à percussion de Strasbourg, Orchestre du Domaine Musical, conductor: Pierre Boulez disque Erato 2292-45505-2/III ECD 71587, 1966-71