La Chouette Hulotte
Olivier Messiaen - 1956/8

Plumage spotted with brown and russet, enormous facial discs, a solemn look, stamped with mystery, wisdom and the supernatural. Still more than its appearance, the voice of this nocturnal bird provokes terror. I have heard it often, in the middle of the night, towards two o'clock in the morning, in the woods of Orgeval, of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, and on the road from Petichet to Cholonge (lsere). Darkness, fear, a heart which beats too fast, the mewlings and yelpings of the Little Owl, cries of the Long-eared Owl; and here is the call of the Tawny Owl: now gloomy and sad , now vague and disquieting (with a strange trembling), now vociferous in terror like the cry of a murdered child... Silence. A more distant ullulation, resembling a bell from the other world...