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Thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Technological University Dublin, 2003.


Olivier Messiaen is one of the major musical figures of the twentieth century. His music draws on a diverse set of influences, yet always remains unique and entirely his own. His unwavering religious beliefs constitute the source of inspiration behind most of his music. Vingt Regards sur ['Enfant-Jesus for solo piano was composed in 1944. It forms a powerful and personal musical statement concerning one of the central mysteries of the Catholic faith, the Incarnation. As such, it is an important work within Messiaen's output. Its musical language and spiritual message are typical ofMessiaen's style.

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