Un oiseau des arbres de Vie (Oiseau Tui)

Olivier Messiaen, Christopher Dingle (Editor)

    Research output: Other contribution


    Un oiseau des arbres de Vie (Oiseau Tui) was originally envisaged as the third movement of Éclairs sur l’Au-Delà…, Messiaen’s last completed work. It was to form the first of a pair of remarkable movements featuring, respectively, the tui bird from New Zealand and the superb lyrebird from Australia. In both cases, all of the material comes from the transcription of a single bird, a novelty in Messiaen’s orchestral music. At a relatively late stage, Messiaen reluctantly decided to omit the tui movement from Éclairs. His reasons are unclear, but it seems that a re-organisation of the other movements altered both the musical and theological balance of the work so that only one solo birdsong piece was needed. What is unusual is that Messiaen had written all the music for Un oiseau des arbres de Vie (Oiseau Tui) and only needed to write up the orchestration. The short score was finished, Messiaen confirming on the final page that this was the entire movement, and that it had been checked; he also wrote his customary ‘Bien’ to denote a completed piece. This realisation of Un oiseau des arbres de Vie (Oiseau Tui) is based on Messiaen’s annotations in the short score, supplemented by precedents from the music of Éclairs and the composer’s other final works.

    The world premiere of Un oiseau des arbres de Vie (Oiseau Tui) was given by the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Nicholas Collon at the Royal Albert Hall on 7th August 2015 as part of the BBC Proms and broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. The work is published by Éditions Alphonse Leduc, the performance score being available from 2015. The critical edition of the score includes full commentary and critical notes.
    Original languageFrench
    Media of outputScore
    PublisherÉditions Alphonse Leduc
    Number of pages80
    Place of PublicationParis
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 2015


    • Messiaen
    • Éclairs sur l’Au-Delà…
    • French Music
    • Orchestration

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