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L'Ascension ("The Ascension") is a piece for orchestra, composed by Olivier Messiaen in 1932–33. Messiaen described it as "4 meditations for orchestra".[This quote needs a citation]

The orchestral piece is in four brief sections:

  1. Majesté du Christ demandant sa gloire à son Père ("The majesty of Christ demanding his glory of the Father")
  2. Alleluias sereins d’une âme qui désire le ciel ("Serene alleluias of a soul that longs for heaven")
  3. Alleluia sur la trompette, alleluia sur la cymbale ("Alleluia on the trumpet, alleluia on the cymbal")
  4. Prière du Christ montant vers son Père ("Prayer of Christ ascending towards his Father")

A complete performance takes around 27 minutes.


The work is orchestrated as follows:[1]

Organ version[edit]

In 1933–34, Messiaen made a version for solo organ. The first, second and fourth movements are arrangements of the orchestral pieces, but Messiaen composed a new third movement, Transports de joie d'une âme devant la gloire du Christ qui est la sienne ("Outbursts of joy from a soul before the glory of Christ which is its own glory"), usually just known as Transports de joie. (About this soundlisten ).


  • Kennedy, Michael (2006), The Oxford Dictionary of Music, 985 pages, ISBN 0-19-861459-4
  1. ^ Messiaen, O. (1948). L'Ascension. Paris: Alphonse Leduc.