Olivier Messiaen in My Life

Gregory Haimovsky


Ideology & Music in the Soviet Union

Gregory Haimovsky, a prominent pianist, professor of Music and author of several books, dedicates this volume to the 100th birth anniversary of Olivier Messiaen (1908-2008).

This tribute to leading French composer Messiaen is both an analysis of his compositions and the historiography of the Soviet annals of music.

Haimovsky was the first to introduce Messiaen to the Soviet public in the mid-sixties – without permission from the higher authorities.

Haimovsky wrote the first article, gave the first concerts, minted the first record and finally, was granted a contract with a leading publishing house to write the first book in the Soviet Union about the music of Messiaen.

All this came to a sudden and dramatic end when the Communist Party found Messiaen’s music as negative, subversive and subsequently banned in the Soviet Union.

The contract for his book was canceled, performances stopped, and Haimovsky was practically forced to emigrate while his name was actively erased from Soviet music records. Future writings, including the belated Russian acceptance of Messiaen, have intentionally omitted mention of Haimovsky.

In this book, Haimovsky resurrects the original book that was forbidden from being published forty years ago, and unveils what took place during in those harsh days of darkness.

273 pages