About the images for Dromen als Messiaen

More info and concert dates at www.dromenalsmessiaen.nl

The relationship between colour and sound is essential to the music of Messiaen. In his Traité de Rythme, de Couleur, et d'Ornithologie he writes "when I hear or read music, I always see colour complexes in my mind that go with the sound complexes."

Stained-glass windows were also a significant inspiration for the images, in particular Messiaen's fascination with their visceral power: "What does a rose-window in a cathedral do? It teaches through imagery, through symbolism, through all the characters that inhabit it – but what most catches the eye are its thousand spots of colour which ultimately dissolve into a single, very pure shade, so that someone looking on says only, ‘That window is blue’, or ‘That window is violet.’ " (Traité, vol. 7, p. 198, translation: Matthew Schellhorn)

The live video images in Dromen Als Messiaen are based on the nine pastel drawings that the French painter Charles Blanc-Gatti (1890-1966) made for one of the first performances in 1936. Blanc-Gatti, a friend of Messiaen, was one of the founders of Musicalism, an art movement in which painters put theories about the relationship between sound and color into practice.

Below, to the left are Blanc-Gatti's original artworks from 1936, to the right are the corresponding computer-generated stills from the performance.