The orchestral piece is in four brief sections:
- Majesté du Christ demandant sa gloire à son Père ("The majesty of Christ demanding its glory of the Father")
- Alleluias sereins d’une âme qui désire le ciel ("Serene alleluias of a soul that longs for heaven")
- Alleluia sur la trompette, alleluia sur la cymbale ("Alleluia on the trumpet, alleluia on the cymbal")
- 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:
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. ( listen (help·info)).
- Messiaen, O. (1948). L'Ascension. Paris: Alphonse Leduc.
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