Paul Jacobs to Perform Messiaen's Livre du Saint Sacrament in Free Concert Oct. 9

Classic Arts News   Paul Jacobs to Perform Messiaen's Livre du Saint Sacrament in Free Concert Oct. 9
Organist Paul Jacobs will give a rare performance of Messiaen's complete Livre du Saint Sacrament at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in New York City on October 9.

Nearly two hours long and comprising 18 pieces, the Livre du Saint Sacrament was written in 1984 and is the last of Messiaen's works for organ. Jacobs last performed it during a nine-hour marathon of the complete works of Messiaen at St. Mary the Virgin in 2004, one of eight such marathons he has given around the country since 2002.

"I find that these events are extremely stimulating, and I am unaware of fatigue and hunger," Jacobs said on NPR's Morning Edition in 2004.

The highly gifted organist first drew notice at age 23, when he performed Bach's complete organ works in an 18-hour marathon in Pittsburgh. Now 30, he is the youngest faculty member to hold the William Schuman Scholars Chair at The Juilliard School.

In March, Jacobs spoke with The New York Times and recounted stories about Nero, who was obsessed with the hydraulis, the water organ and direct ancestor of the modern pipe organ sometimes used to accompany fighting gladiators. "The organ wasn't staid then, and it need not be now. It should be played in a manner that stirs the soul," he said.

The free concert in October will be preceded by a conversation with 23-year-old Messiaen scholar Luke Berryman. Visit for more information.

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