An excellent annotated bibliography with introductory material and sections on General Overviews, Catalogues and Bibliographies, Messiaen’s Writings, Interviews, Specialized Monographs, Symposia and Collected Essays, Short Writings to 1992, Short Writings since 1992, Studies of Individual Works, Dissertations, Related Literature, Recordings by Messiaen.
"Messiaen" article in Grove Music Online by Paul Griffiths
"Olivier Messiaen stands as one of the most influential composers of the twentieth century and among the foremost religious artists of any era. When he died in 1992, the prevailing image was of a deeply religious man whose only sources of inspiration were God and Nature, and of a composer whose music progressed along an entirely individual path, impervious to contemporaneous events and the whims both of his fellow artists and the critics. The Life of Messiaen paints a more nuanced picture of the man and the musician, peering behind Messiaen's public persona to examine the private difficulties and creative struggles that were the true backdrop to many of his greatest achievements. Based upon the latest research, including previously overlooked sources, this book provides an excellent introduction to Messiaen's life and work, presenting a fascinating new perspective of a man whose story is more remarkable than the myths surrounding it."
"The French composer Olivier Messiaen (1908-92) is a musician about whom most remains to be discovered. More than a decade after his death our knowledge of Messiaen is largely conditioned by what he said about himself in lectures and interviews, in his work as a teacher, and in the monumental seven-volume treatise that encompassed the whole of his composing world. But Messiaen's public documents conceal as much as they reveal, seldom explaining why a work was written or what complexities went into its making. The composer was similarly reticent about his private life. This is the first book to explore the world that Messiaen was at pains to keep hidden. Based upon unprecedented access to Messiaen's private archive granted to the authors by the composer's widow, Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen, Peter Hill and Nigel Simeone trace the origins of many of Messiaen's greatest works and place them in the context of his life, from his years at the Paris Conservatoire and his passionate first marriage to Claire Delbos through the immense achievements of his final decades."
A penetrating study of Messiaen’s musical language that was among the first to propose a different interpretation of his works from the composer’s own. Griffiths believes that a crucial element of Messiaen’s originality was the innovative way in which he treated the concept of musical time, and he also takes a sympathetic but more detached view of the religious element of Messiaen’s art."
The Technique of my Musical Language: Text with Musical Examples
"Oliver Messiaen's musical compositions were born of his fascination with experimental modes, complex rhythms, metallic sonorities and with bird songs. In these conversations Messiaen talks about his sources of inspiration, his musical methods, and his broad aesthetic views."