The contributors, all of whom have made a special study of the composer, include two biographers of Messiaen and a number of the foremost interpreters of his music. Messiaen's influential teaching is recalled in essays by three of his pupils (Pierre Boulez, George Benjamin, and Peter Hill), and the composer is also remembered in a remarkable and moving contribution from his widow and devoted musical companion, the pianist Yvonne Loriod.
Contemporary Music and Spiritualityprovides a detailed exploration of the recent and current state of contemporary spiritual music in its religious, musical, cultural and conceptual-philosophical aspects. At the heart of the book are issues that consider the role of secularization, the claims of modernity concerning the status of art, and subjective responses such as faith and experience.
The contributors provide a new critical lens through which it is possible to see the music and thought of Cage, Ligeti, Messiaen, Stockhausen as spiritual music. The book surrounds these composers with studies of and by other composers directly associated with the idea of spiritual music (Harvey, Gubaidulina, MacMillan, Pärt, Pott, and Tavener), and others (Adams, Birtwistle, Ton de Leeuw, Ferneyhough, Ustvolskaya, and Vivier) who have created original engagements with the idea of spirituality.
Contemporary Music and Spiritualityis essential reading for humanities scholars and students working in the areas of musicology, music theory, theology, religious studies, philosophy of culture, and the history of twentieth-century culture.