mmm039 Sunday, April 20, 2014: Messiaen theme with Sylvaine Bellec


39th m(usic(ician's)m(eeting) - April 20, 2014E.V.



[special guest] Sylvaine [Bellec at the Bayernhof Museum]









tENT & Sylvaine sit outside on the steps to enjoy the warm weather

Clint arrives

Hyla arrives & gives tENT 2 filmstrips (w/o their soundtracks):

"Folk Instruments"

"Rhythm, The Quarter Note and the Half Note"

Rob arrives & plays something on his cellphone that he introduces by saying "Name that tune"

tENT guesses that it's from the Matmos release where they used plastic surgery sounds

As it turns out, the recording was of one of his patients making a repetitive strange sound that wasn't the side-effect of respiratory problems

Hyla talks about a word for repetitive sound used for self-soothing purposes but she can't remember the word

[relevant interpolation from tENT typed here on Saturday, April 26, 2014: My friend Laura A. Truseal repeatedly sd the word "lalochezia" at a "One Word per Person Party" that I organized in 1990. That means: "The use of vulgar or foul language to relieve stress or pain." ( ) The short version of the movie from that can be witnessed here: ]

tENT shares red wine

Sylvaine talks about Brittany (where she's from) & the Brittanic language (a Gaelic language closest to Welsh) wch was made illegal by the French. Brittany is generally identified as the Northwest area of France. Sylvaine talks wbout roots w/ 1st Nation peoples.

Frank & Concetta arrive

Rob talks about his proposed rock band

Frank provides Bard's Sorghum Malt Beer

Ben arrives

Sylvaine talks about her thesis on Messiaen & Ornithology:

She talks about how during the French political upheaval of 1968 Messiaen put his emphasis on science in order to cover up his Catholicism b/c he was afraid of becoming a persona non grata

Sylvaine met & studied w/ Jacques Penot who was the same ornithologist that Messiaen studied w/

Sylvaine's talking about the speed at wch birds vary their sounds & the difficulty of humans being adequately sensitive to this

Ben mentions a musical notion called the "Tatum" named after the great jazz pianist Art Tatum - when do notes come so fast that hearers can't differentiate them anymore?

Sylvaine talks about musicians providing a particular way of interpreting

She talks about meeting Messiaen near the end of his life w/ Penot in 1985 - Messiaen died in April 1992)

She talks about reading all the bks about Messiaen & birds

She specifically mentions birds that Messiaen frequently references:

Grive Musicienne = Song Thrush

Merle Noir = Blackbird: it's voice gets louder as it gets older

Troglydite = House Wren: very loud

Messiaen picked birds that're visually colorful & didn't necessarily pick them b/c of their song

Messiaen pieces have poems as epigraphs to the scores that don't specifically talk about songs per se

Messiaen is asked about why he does this & he says that it's a clue about the music

Messiaen had 2 main women as lovers in his life:

his 1st wife, who was a wealthy violinist who had many social connections - Messiaen had a son w/ her, gets her money, puts the wife in a mental institution, puts the son in a boarding school & then neglects him

his mistress, later 2nd wife, Yvonne Loriot, who's his student who's 20 yrs younger - she's a pianist - a "Loriot" is also a yellow bird w/ a simple song

His 1st wife is nearing death & asks Messiaen to visit her & to bring Yvonne along - the 1st wife then dies (1971?) & he then marries Loriot

Sylvaine says he stops writing bird music around this time out of guilt

Later, Messiaen combines spirituality & birdsongs

tENT gives Ben DVD-R of "Pi(ano Fort)e (the remake)" & Hyla one of the same to give to her friend Mark B (who plays a duet w/ Jaclyn)

Sylvaine talks about Messiaen's modes in relation to actual bird song

Sylvaine demonstrates that some of Messiaen's science is inaccurate - especially claims of modal transcriptions being accurate:

The above chart & sonogram was shown [not quite] in conjunction w/ playing a sample of the Rouge-gorge bird followed by playing Messiaen's Rouge-gorge theme. In the comparison, Sylvaine demonstrates that the middle part of the bird-song is eliminated & the silences are removed. In other words, Messiaen picks & chooses the parts he uses:

[sorry, no link to the sound file here]

[This section actually got played later in the evening but it makes sense to interpolate it here]

Ben explains Messaien's modes to us more & tells us that he composed "blues" from the 2nd Water Shed 5tet disc using a Messiaen mode that's a 10 note scale missing F# & C wch makes it a minor scale w/ a major 7th.

As far as this minutes-taker can tell, Ben meant the "Blue Plate Tectonics" CD ( )

Ben explains his upcoming Concerto

Sylvaine continues her explication of how scientifically incorrect Messiaen's modes are as bird-song transcription:

Troglodyte = House Wren = mode 3

Merle Noir = Blackbird = mode 3

both os these are written in the same mode

Rouge-Gorge & Grive Musicienne both use Mode 7

Sylvaine's conclusion being that Modal L'Oiseaux Modal Scientifique

Sylvaine goes on to contest Messaien's claims that his music uses 4 parts & states that 3 parts are actually used & that the use of 3 parts is symbolic of the Holy Trinity: A, B, A (referring back to Messiaen's public avoidance of religious symbolism in favor of scientific claims during times of atheistic / scientific political upheaval in France) - she goes on to refute the claim that the bird transcriptions have anything to do w/ the time of day the songs were sung - as Messiaen claimed

Sylvaine talks about how the Loriot bird is very hidden, just like the Loriot mistress

She explains that the Grive Musicienne is the composer & that he changes but that the Loriot doesn't change

She also explains that Messiaen uses a musical alphabet to spell out "Loriot"

After Messiaen's 1st wife died & he was enabled to marry Yvonne Loriot the Loriot bird theme leaves the music

Liz arrives sometime around here

Ben talks about "L'Oiseaux Exotique": Robert Fallon looked thru Messiaen papers w/ English bird names taken from records - Sylvaine explains that there're no French records that mix science & music in the way the English records do

Sylvaine talks about the Musique Concrete composer François-Bernard Mache

Sylvaine talks about Messiaen's last opera, St Francis of Assizes, in wch he combined birds w/ his spirtual references to show birds as a metaphor for transitioning to the spiritual: humans -> birds -> sky

Sylvaine that in Messiaen's symbolism some birds = the holy trinity:

Sky Lark of the Fields = Holy Spirit

Grive Musicienne = Jesus

Rossignole (Nightingale) = God / Father

Playing of the beginning of the CD that accompanies Sylvaine's thesis (see/hear previously [not] provided mp3 of track 1)

Sylvaine interpolates explanation

Concetta asks why Messiaen cdn't just say that he's inspired by birds instead of taking the pseudo-scientific stance

Sylvaine says he was being careerist

Sylvaine explains that she wanted to major in physics & minor in music in France but it wasn't allowed b/c the 2 disciplines are seen as too separate

Hyla sd that the academy in Zagreb is anti-interdisciplinary

Sylvaine says that Canada & N. America in general is more open to inter-disciplinarian study - hence she made her thesis in Canada

Ben talks about Michael Pestel playing actual bird-song recordings & relating them to Messiaen versions

Sylvaine talks about composer Machuen's biasing perception of Speezop (? don't know if I got the name right here)

Sylvaine talks about working w/ Xenakis in 1986 to produce a happening w/ improv & lights using 14 students 15 yrs old

tENT talks about how philosophically contrary that was to the position taken by Xenakis in his "Formalized Music" bk

Bell tells story about Xenakis coming to his school in 1981

Liz tells Xenakis story about a piece presented in Seattle in 2006 or 2007

Sylvaine quotes Messiaen from p 19 of her thesis:

Sylvaine talks about 2 of the plays she performed in at her school in Montréal & about the administration's subsequent stopping of the theater, wch was very absurdist

She started a cabaret as a replacement

Screening of movie of her singing an Edith Piaf song at the cabaret

Frank & Concetta & Clint & Hyla & Ben leave @ 10:42

tENT screens Michael Pestel's lyrebird footage from Australia

Sylvaine talks about Freemasonry & Mozart & Enlightenment & Constantine & Copernicus & Galileo

Sylvaine says that Leonardo Da Vinci claimed that Jesus had a wife & sd that John the Baptist actually started Christianity

Freemasons discover Mozart as a young touring prodigy & teach him things such as: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

Mozart uses symbolism - D Major

Mozart maybe poisoned but body disappeared

Mozart shows how to become a Freemason in The Magic Flute

Mozart is against castration for the production of castratos & pro equality of women

Mozart uses clarinet, a secular instrument, in his requiem - it's in German, not Latin, the poor public are allowed, the king's not invited

tENT shows Lotte Reininger's silhouette animation of Mozart's Papagano sequence from the Magic Flute

Sylvaine talks about Beethoven's deafness

tENT plays Monty Cantsin's "d composing Mozart" tape that he publishes, wch is made entirely from the final chords of Mozart symphonies (all in D Major?), & gives a copy to Sylvaine (who doesn't take it..)

tENT gives Liz MM 26 CD & Sylvaine Alex Grey bk

tENT brings down "Secret Societies of the European Revolution" (1876) bk & shows Liz & Sylvaine article about the Illuminati

END OF mm 39

In the ensuing days, tENT makes a scanned pdf copy of the Illuminati chapter wch he WeTransfers to Sylvaine..



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