Messiaen. Olivier Messiaen.

Sunday, 6 July 2008 — 10:44pm | Classical, Insights, Literature, Music

At twenty-four minutes past ten o’clock in the p.m., I was listening to a special broadcast on CBC Radio Two—a special three-hour broadcast devoted to a composition by Olivier Messiaen, as performed by Simon Docking.

At precisely the same time, I was reading a ripping good novel by Ian Fleming. (Which one? Stay tuned to the Wednesday Book Club, where it will be featured soon enough.)

Why are they playing Messiaen, I wondered? Oh, of course. It’s the centennial of his birth.

Why are the cover redesigns so splendid on the Penguin paperback reissues of the Fleming novels? Oh, of course. It’s the centennial of his birth.

(I was shaken.)

And what, might I ask, is this piece by Messiaen? The seven books of Catalogue D’Oiseaux.

And who, might I ask, was the namesake of Fleming’s hero James Bond? An ornithologist.

(I was stirred.)

Have I been wrong about God all along? No, Serendipity, but that was a nice try.


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