Messiaen presents his interpretation of biblical ideas through
musical images. The composition was written in 1943 soon after Messiaen
was repatriated from a German prisom camp. It was first performed
in a duet with the student of the composerYvonne Loriod who later
became his wife exerted a significant influence upon his creative
work. The composition was published in 1950 and supplemented by
the author's comments.
There are seven movements in the composition.