piano, ondes Martenot, 36 female voices, celesta, 3 percussions, vibraphone, 16 violins, 6 violas, 6 cellos and 4 double basses

Commission: Denise Tual, Concerts de la Pléiade (France)

Trois petites liturgies de la présence divine (Three small liturgies of the divine presence) is a work by Olivier Messiaen for women’s choir, piano, ondes Martenot and orchestra without winds, in three movements, on a poem written by the composer. It was commissioned by Denise Tual for the Concerts de la Pléiade and composed during the Second World War, from November 15, 1943 to March 15, 1944. According to Claude Rostand, the small liturgies unleashed two contrary cataracts, one of delirious enthusiasm; the other, of fury ranging from irony to the most violent insult, and confusing the man and the work in the same invective1. Still according to Rostand, it was a frenzy for which the end of the Occupation of France by Germany was partly responsible and which had not been known since the heroic era of Stravinsky, with “a Messiaen both censed and crucified.”