Tim Reidy visits Symphony Space, a concert hall in New York, for a centennial celebration of the music of Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992), a Catholic composer who, in the words of Father John Coleman, sought to use music to "communicate the mysteries of Christ to non-believers." The associate artistic director of Symphony Space, and two of the artists who took part in the centennial performance, discuss the spiritual power of Messiaen's work, and what makes him unique among twentieth-century composers. Podcast includes samples from "Visions de l'Amen" and Messiaen's groundbreaking "Quartet for the End of Time." Read Father John Coleman's article on Messiaen's music in the Nov. 24 edition of America.
Excerpted performances of Messiaen's work are widely available on Youtube. Here are samples of the compositions discussed during the podcast: