ONE of the country’s most talented young organists will be placing the music of French composer Oliver Messiaen under the spotlight next week.

Durham Cathedral’s sub-organist Francesca Massey will give a recital performance of the composer’s La Nativite du Seigneur at Durham Cathedral, at 7.30pm on Wednesday (January 23).

The title translates as The Birth of the Saviour and the work consists of nine meditations, each of which portrays an aspect of Christ’s birth.

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Messiaen composed the piece when in the French Alps and is reported to have said he was inspired by the mountains and medieval stained glass of Europe’s Cathedrals.

Miss Massey arrived at Durham Cathedral last September and has quickly become a stalwart of the cathedral’s music department.

The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, Dean of Durham said: “Messiaen’s organ music is demanding to play and to listen to, but for performer and audience, among the most rewarding music of the last century.

“He was a composer with a deep Christian faith, and I can think of no better way of experiencing La Nativite than in the numinous interior of Durham Cathedral with its magnificent Harrison organ.

"Francesca brings great talent to the Cathedral. Her qualities as an accomplished keyboard player will give us a wonderful interpretation of this masterpiece of the organ repertoire.”

The event is in aid of the Michael James Music Trust, a fund set up in memory of a former organ scholar of University College, Durham, who died young.

Tickets (£8 & £6 concession) can be booked via the Gala Theatre Box Office 0191-332-4041 www A special student price of £4 is available on the door.