List of compositions by Olivier Messiaen

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Messiaen in 1930

This is a list of compositions by Olivier Messiaen.

Published during his lifetime[edit]

Published posthumously[edit]

A number of works exist which were not published in Messiaen's lifetime, including the following, some of which have been published posthumously, and some of which are lost.

  • La Dame de Shalott, for piano (1917)
  • La Banquet eucharistique, for orchestra (1928)
  • Variations écossaises, for organ (1928)
  • Fantaisie, for violin and piano (1933, published 2007 – see this note on errors in the score)
  • Mass, 8 sopranos and 4 violins (1933)
  • Fête des belles eaux, for six ondes Martenots (1937)
  • Musique de scène pour un Œdipe, electronic (1942)
  • Chant des déportés, chorus and orchestra (1946)
  • Timbres-durées, musique concrète (1952), realised by Pierre Henry in the radiophonic workshop of French radio, an experiment which Messiaen later deemed a failure[4]
  • Feuillets inedits, for piano and ondes Martenot (unknown, published in 2001)
  • Concert à quatre ("Quadruple concerto"), piano, flute, oboe, cello and orchestra (1990–91, almost finished at the time of his death, completed by Loriod and Benjamin, premiered in 1994, published in 2003)
  • La Fauvette Passerinette ("Subalpine warbler"), piano (1961), one of Messiaen's birdsong pieces for solo piano, discovered and edited for performance by Peter Hill and premiered by him in November 2013
  • Un oiseau des arbres de vie (Oiseau tui) ("A bird of the trees of life (Tui bird)"), a discarded movement from Éclairs sur l’au-delà…, piano sketch with orchestration annotations discovered among Messiaen's papers, orchestrated by Christopher Dingle and first performed at The Proms in August 2015[5]


  • Technique de mon langage musical ("The technique of my musical language"). Paris: Leduc, 1944.
  • Vingt leçons d'harmonie ("20 harmony lessons"). Paris: Leduc, 1944.
  • Traité de rythme, de couleur, et d'ornithologie (1949–1992) ("Treatise on rhythm, colour and ornithology"), completed by Yvonne Loriod. 7 parts bound in 8 volumes. Paris: Leduc, 1994–2002.
  • Analyses of the Piano Works of Maurice Ravel, edited by Yvonne Loriod, translated by Paul Griffiths. [Paris]: Durand, 2005.


  • Peter Hill and Nigel Simeone (2005). Messiaen. Yale University Press, New Haven and London. ISBN 0-300-10907-5.
  • Olivier Messiaen and Claude Samuel (tr. E. Thomas Glasgow) (1994). Conversations with Claude Samuel. Amadeus Press, Portland, Oregon. ISBN 0-931340-67-5.


  1. ^ Hill & Simeone (2005), p. 25
  2. ^ Hill & Simeone (2005), p. 120
  3. ^ Hill & Simeone (2005), pp. 199ff, outlines the chronology of Messiaen's compositions of 1951–52 Le merle noir and Livre d'orgue
  4. ^ Messiaen & Samuel (1994), p. 198
  5. ^ Messiaen: Un oiseau des arbres de Vie (Oiseau tui), BBC, 7 August 2015

External links[edit]