Yvonne Loriod, aka Mme Messiaen, has died in France aged 86. Lots of good obits around - here is Tim Bullamore's from the Telegraph for starters. Most of the tributes happily mark Loriod out as the great musician she was in her own right, besides being "helpmeet" to one of the greatest composers of her day. Messiaen would never have written the piano music he composed without her ferocious technique at hand, so to speak, to play it. Farewell to a legendary artist.
Meanwhile, closer to home, life goes on and the new culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has been saying some extremely positive things about the allocation of National Lottery funds to the arts and heritage, as well as sensible words about measures to encourage philanthropy. I can't beat my old instinct that tells me to beware of Tories bearing gifts: the suspicion that sooner or later this could prove to be a rock under which hide creatures that do nasty stuff with tails and stings. But for the moment I'm happy to say "good stuff, Jeremy," and hope that my more religious colleagues may resort to prayer.
To help them along, here are Messiaen and Loriod themselves playing the last movement of his Visions de l'Amen no.7, "Amen de la Consommation".
Jessica Duchen is a music journalist and the author of four novels, two biographies and several stage works. She writes regularly for The Independent and BBC Music Magazine. Her latest novel, Songs of Triumphant Love, is published by Hodder.
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