La Nativité illuminée (Dreaming like Messiaen)
Olivier Messiaen: La Nativité du Seigneur
Organ: Gerrie Meijers
Visuals: Marcel Wierckx
What if you not only hear sounds, but also see them in color? The French organist and composer Olivier Messiaen associated colors with sounds when he composed. In Dreaming like Messiaen, the listener and viewer delves into this special world in which sound and color go together: an intense audiovisual performance with sliding images and colors on the organ itself. The organ is not only the source of sound, but also the source of color and light.
The live-generated images are based on the nine pastel drawings made by the French painter Charles Blanc-Gatti (1890-1966) in response to one of the first performances of Messiaen's La Nativité du Seigneur in 1936. Blanc-Gatti, who was befriended with Messiaen, was one of the founders of Musicalism, an art movement in which painters practiced theories about the connection between sound and color.
The color animations in Dreaming like Messiaen are generated based on the specific timbres that are different for each organ and each piece. The result is a fascinating experience in which the visual output is not driven by Messiaen's score as such, but is the result of the sound of the organ. For this reason, every performance on every organ is unique. Dreaming like Messiaen was developed by audiovisual composer Marcel Wierckx, on the concept of musician and visual artist Johan Luijmes.