The Circumcision of the Ear

Sander van Maas

in The Reinvention of Religious Music

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780823230570
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823236695 | DOI:
The Circumcision of the Ear

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This chapter examines an aspect of breakthrough in Olivier Messiaen's religious music composition concerning listening “here” and listening in the “beyond”. It analyzes the Judeo-Christian tradition relevant to music hearing and listening. These are the circumcision of the ear and the notion derived from the patristic tradition of the spiritual ear. This chapter suggests that the breakthrough toward the beyond, which Messiaen considers a musical possibility, situates the listener at once inside and outside faith.

Keywords: Olivier Messiaen; religious music composition; listening; circumcision of the ear; spiritual ear; faith; religion and music

Chapter.  9431 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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