In his massive Turangalîla-Symphony, which opens this year’s Ultima festival, Olivier Messiaen speaks of life, death, God and nature.
With the composer’s love for birds and birdsong as a starting point, eminent musicologist Richard Taruskin, editor of the six-volume Oxford History of Western Music, discusses the symbolic use of birds in the language of music: prophetic birds, messengers from beyond. This lecture links nature, music and the supernatural in a true Wunderkammer spirit.
Richard Taruskin is an American musicologist who has written and lectured on topics ranging across the whole of music – history and analysis as well as its cultural, social and political contexts. He has also been a performer and a choral conductor. Born in New York in 1945, He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University, where he was on the faculty until 1986. At the end of 2014, he retired from the University of California, Berkeley. His many books and articles include Text and Act, The Danger of Music and Other Anti-Utopian Essays. He is the author of the six-volume Oxford History of Western Music.