This article shows, through a new reading of Messiaen's Technique de mon langage musical and examples of his composing with elements found in the music of Debussy, that borrowing plays a more central role in his compositional practices than has previously been recognized. Messiaen's conscious reuse of Debussy's music spans his entire career, and primarily involves passages from Pelléas et Mélisande and a handful of piano works. Using his descriptions of Debussy's influence, his analyses of Debussy, and his own theoretical writings, we examine examples of Messiaen's musical borrowing in terms of compositional strategy. Four groups of case studies show how he transforms borrowed harmonic material, creates meaning, borrows gesture, and composes texture and form by combining different types of borrowed material.
- © 2016 by the American Musicological Society. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press's Reprints and Permissions web page, http://www.ucpress.edu/journals.php?p=reprints.