Pierre-Laurent Aimard plays Olivier Messiaen

Director: Martin Baer, SWR/ARTE 2022, 52 min.

Broadcast date on ARTE: 24/04/2022 at 00:50 am

The “Catalogue d’oiseaux” (“Catalogue of Birds”) is one of the most important works by Olivier Messiaen. He composed the 13 piano pieces between 1956 and 1958. What at first sounds more like an ornithological reference work cannot be estimated highly enough in its importance as an unusual and brilliant piano work. So far, there have been no film recordings of the “Catalogue of Birds” with the most important Messiaen interpreter Pierre-Laurent Aimard for television. ARTE is now closing this gap.

Pierre-Laurent Aimard is the leading interpreter of Olivier Messiaen’s piano works. As a student of Messiaen’s second wife Yvonne Loriod at the Conservatoire de Paris, he had a very early musical as well as personal relationship with Olivier Messiaen. He won the Messiaen Competition at the age of 16. In the Ensemble Intercontemporain of Pierre Boulez, one of Messiaen’s students, he was the first solo pianist. He was awarded the Echo Klassik Prize for his recording “Hommage à Messiaen.”

In this production from Berlin’s St. Canisius Church on December 17, 2021, Pierre-Laurent Aimard performs the following pieces from Messiaen’s “Catalogue d’oiseaux”:

“Le traquet stapazin” (“The Black-eared Wheatear”).
“Le courlis cendré” (“The Eurasian Curlew”)
“L’alouette calandrelle (“The Calendared Lark”)
“L’alouette lulu” (“The woodlark”)
“Le merle bleu” (“The Blue Rock Thrush”)


The concert can be viewed from April 24, 2022, online in the ARTE media library.