Olivier Messiaen, 1930.
Les Offrandes Oubliées.

Olivier Messiaen was a profoundly religious man. His faith eminated through his works at an almost uncomparable frequency. Les Offrandes Oubliées which was written at age 22 was Messiaen's first public work and reveals his faith explicitly. Structured as three mini-movements representing the Cross, Sin, and the Eucharist. "The Sin" in particular is my favorite segment of Les Offrandes. Its harsh contrast to the adjacent segments draw the listener in. At the 2:42 mark the trumpet and cymbols break the somberness of the opening segment. Here Messiaen reveals the pain and despair that is the absence or forgetting of God.

Messiaen provided a stanza for each of the three segments, and of "The Sin" he wrote:
Forced by madness and the sting of the serpent, in a frenzied, breathless course without release, we descended into sin as into a tomb.

The surrounding slow and beautiful segments are meant to be representative of the beauty and peace of God's love shown through the Divine offernings.

Selected recordings recommended for purchasing:
Bastille Opera Orchestra (conducted by Chung) version available here.

Artwork by: Mark Rothko


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