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Important Early Autograph Letter: "I must - Messiaen, Olivier. (1908 - 1992) - 1940. 
Used; Like New/Used; Like New. An important wartime autograph letter signed by Olivier Messiaen ("Messiaen"), February 15, 1940, to his friend and musical supporter Virginie Schildge-Bianchini, thanking her for a care package, advising her on her musical pursuits, and shedding light on his own devotion to music even in the midst of a war.
Translated from the French, in part: "Thank you for your very kind letter and magnificent package. It will all be appreciated: from the good jam to the Lu Petit-Beurres, by way of the cheese, wafers, gingerbread, [...] honey (my passion!), the good salted butter, the chocolate and the cognac. Many, many thanks again. I am very touched! It's a very good idea to learn Bach by heart. It is also very good to take harmony and counterpoint lessons with J. P. Hennebains: you won't find a wiser and more devoted teacher... and that will allow you to resume composition again more fruitfully and easily. I am so happy to see you cultivating music with such zeal. My wife and my little son are freezing in glacial Auvergne... For my part, I must forget our physical ailments and return gradually to my rainbow of modes, of rhythms, and of resonance, living two lives simultaneously: that of 'my brother the body' and 'that of the spirit.'"
Written just four months before the composer's capture by German forces, and his two-year stay in a prisoner of war camp where he composed his Quartet for the End of Time, the letter demonstrates Messiaen's strength of purpose -- sustained, no doubt, by his strong religious faith -- in the worst of circumstances.
1 p. Perforated edges; addressed and postmarked on the verso. Light wear and a few chips to the edges, but overall in fine condition. 4.5 x 6.25 inches (11.7 x 15.8 cm).
Virginie Schildge-Bianchini (later Zinke-Bianchini) had been a regular supporter of Messiaen's work since the 1930's. After his return from the war, she took lessons from him in Paris and also hosted several concerts of his music at her house.
[Bookseller: Schubertiade Music & Arts]
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