The Liturgy of Birds

Tribute to Olivier Messiaen in the 110th anniversary of his birth

Daniel Bernardes & Drumming Percussion Group
feat. António Augusto Aguiar and Mário Costa

Daniel Bernardes takes contact with Olivier Messiaen’s music as a teenager, still in a formative context, developing an immediate fascination with the “Sinfonia Turangalîla”. Although Messiaen never worked or showed particular interest in the world of jazz, he was famous for his improvisations, notably on the occasion of masses at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Paris where, to the organ, he improvised according to the different moments of the ceremony. This aspect, apparently irrelevant, is important for us to perceive a certain proximity, especially harmonic, with the paradigms of traditional jazz. Jazz takes advantage of the ancient Greek and Messiaen ways, following the same paradigm, creates its harmonic universe through the construction of its own ways.

This proximity of nature makes Messiaen’s harmonic language a possible path for contemporary jazz, and Messiaen’s modes can complement the harmonic features provided by Greek ways. It was for this reason that Daniel Bernardes, having for years studied the language of jazz, launched himself to explore the possibilities of messiaen’s harmonic system. Sketching new music and with increasing enthusiasm, the idea quickly came up with joining a jazz piano trio with a percussion ensemble.

For this purpose directs the invitation to the Drumming Percussion Group, the most important percussion ensemble of the musical panorama Portuguese, an invitation readily accepted by its Artistic Director, Miquel Bernat. Completing the jazz trio drummer Mário Costa, one of the most requested Portuguese drummers with collaborations with names such as Wynton Marsalis, Joachim Kuhn, Hugo Carvalhais as well as the famous fado singer Ana Moura. In the double bass place to António Augusto Aguiar, reference bass player of the middle of jazz with numerous collaborations with the main figures of national jazz, but also contemporary music, namely the Remix Ensemble where he is the titular bass player.  

In this project, Bernardes launches himself to the challenge of writing music according to messiaen’s techniques and aesthetics, which then mixes with his contemporary jazz, an unprecedented experience and pays homage to the French master.