Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)

Started by bhodges, January 03, 2008, 09:35:19 AM

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vers la flamme

Quote from: aukhawk on October 14, 2020, 08:16:53 AM


I hope you watched that 'Noel' video in reply #507 a few posts above on this page - that is one of the Vingt (No.13) played for the composer by his wife - as such it's very moving.

You're right—amazing. Thanks.

aukhawk

Quote from: MusicTurner on October 14, 2020, 09:30:16 AM
Batagov is highly unusual, actually, if you'll forgive me, with an almost Rachmaninov-like heavy, both emotional and spiritual approach, and getting and hearing that recording completely changed the work's appeal for me. I also have or have had Beroff, Hill (now culled), the early Loriod (which I also liked somewhat), and the old Oliveira on Vox, whose recording I don't remember anything about, but whose 'Catalogue ...' I like.

Oooh I didn't know about Batagov.  Such a natural fit for this music.  Looks like one of his earliest recordings (1989) but still, characteristically slow - even more so than Osborne (and by quite a margin sometimes).  Thanks for mentioning him, I shall look forward to this!
At the opposite end of the spectrum would be Momo Kodama, who is a specialist in the French piano repertoire with a crystalline technique.  Loriod is always good I think (I like her Oiseaux, more lyrical than most) but the sound is a bit dated in such a contested field.

Selig

Who's the fastest in Vingt regards, the anti-Batagov?

aukhawk

Without actually checking any durations, I'd guess probably Loriod herself.  She takes a surprisingly unsentimental view in Messiaen's music generally.  Also, I acquired Pi-hsien Chen not so long ago but was disappointed - too quick for my taste.

Mandryka

#524


Over the past few weeks I've been listening fairly frequently to La Rousserolle Effarvatte, which is Book 4 of  the Catalogie d'oiseaux. This one by Peter Serkin, not even mentioned on the cover of the release, has caught my imagination most. Somehow, and I really cannot explain how, he seems to bring coherence to this bizarre sectional music, which to me can often appear rambling and disjointed.  I'm not sure whether I'm noticing anything objective about the performance, or whether I've become more tolerant of confusing music.

Such a shame he didn't record more Messiaen from the period after 1950.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Mandryka



Attention everyone. This one's worth hearing. Why? Because she understands colour! And she can use it to make the music sound coherent. Somehow.  There's some info on Jocy de Oliveira, who's a new name for me, on wiki.

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

atardecer

I'm interested in a recording of Messiaen's organ music. If anyone has any thoughts or recommendations on this topic let me know.

As I posted a while back I was recently 'blown away' by Apparition de l'Eglise éternelle. This fascinating work (La Nativité du Seigneur) is what made start to appreciate Messiaen's music:

"Science has explained nothing; the more we know the more fantastic the world becomes and the profounder the surrounding darkness." - Aldous Huxley

"Specialized meaninglessness has come to be regarded, in certain circles, as a kind of hallmark of true science." - Aldous Huxley

aukhawk

#527
I highly recommend the set of 6 CDs played by Jennifer Bate (can sometimes be found very cheaply pre-loved).  Initially released on Unicorn in the early '80s, these are now re-mastered on the Regis label.
Bate was a frequent collaborater with the composer, and these recordings were each approved by him before publication.  She played the organ at Beauvais Cathedral in northern France, a sumptious acoustic (exceptionally high vaulting) recorded by legendary engineer Bob Auger.  in 1987 Bate was asked to make the premiere recording of Messiaen's last great organ work, his Livre du Saint-Sacrement, which she did in the composer's 'home' church in Paris, on 'his' organ, with him in close attendance.  That forms the last 2 CDs of this set.

You can also find rather elderly recordings of Messiaen playing his own music - his recording of Apparition de l'Eglise éternelle is absolutely thunderous.

Mandryka

#528
Quote from: CRCulver on April 02, 2020, 04:38:43 PMThere is a new monograph about the Catalogue d'oiseaux written by noted Messiaen experts Roderick Chadwick & Peter Hill. Worth checking out.

Excellent - thanks for mentioning it. (I only saw the a few weeks ago, I wasn't aware of the book before.)

I've just discovered an outstanding Messiaen pianist - Ciro Longobardi.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

atardecer

Just came across this early Messiaen organ piece (apparently he criticized later). Sounds great to my ears. Really conjures a certain mood. I suspect certain works don't challenge composers enough or something, as a result they later underestimate them. Similarly Ravel criticized his Pavane pour une infante défunte, and Debussy his Rêverie. All excellent works in my view.

Messiaen - Diptyque
"Science has explained nothing; the more we know the more fantastic the world becomes and the profounder the surrounding darkness." - Aldous Huxley

"Specialized meaninglessness has come to be regarded, in certain circles, as a kind of hallmark of true science." - Aldous Huxley

Mandryka

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Atriod

I've been reading Peter Hill's book on Catalogue d'oiseaux, an absolutely incredible scholarly account of these works. One of the very finest classical books I've read, it's remarkable how much he has written and extracted from Messiaen in their many conversations. Which also caused me to put it into my heavy rotation with Momo Kodama, who is more sympathetic with the music and not as stern as Aimard. I think this is one reason I have really started to love this collection.

Mandryka

#532
Quote from: Atriod on July 07, 2024, 10:45:25 AMI've been reading Peter Hill's book on Catalogue d'oiseaux, an absolutely incredible scholarly account of these works. One of the very finest classical books I've read, it's remarkable how much he has written and extracted from Messiaen in their many conversations. Which also caused me to put it into my heavy rotation with Momo Kodama, who is more sympathetic with the music and not as stern as Aimard. I think this is one reason I have really started to love this collection.

Yes that's what happened to me when I read it, I'm hoping that Jon Gillock's book will do the same for the organ music.

Momo Kodama has been giving concerts of Catalogue d'oiseaux in Bordeaux - I was tempted to go but other things (including Jury Service) have got in the way.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

aukhawk

Yes it's a super book to have, I like to dip into it every now and then.

Quote from: Atriod on July 07, 2024, 10:45:25 AM... Which also caused me to put it into my heavy rotation with Momo Kodama, who is more sympathetic with the music and not as stern as Aimard. I think this is one reason I have really started to love this collection.

Yes I don't enjoy Aimard's recording of the Oiseaux - of course his Messiaen credentials are impeccable, but still, he sounds a bit heavy-handed to me. 
Interestingly though, the general critical view of Yvonne Loriod's style in the '50s seems to have been that she had this characteristic too - robust, emphatic are the sort of words that get used to describe her playing.  There are a few hints to this scattered through the book.  Given that her playing influenced Messiaen's writing, perhaps Aimard (who studied with Loriod of course) offers a more authentic experience than I give him credit for.

Fortunately Loriod is well-represented on record so every listener can make up their own mind - she sounds just fine to me, I would even say, towards the lyrical end of the spectrum, and that is her earlier quicker recording I'm thinking of (on Vega).  My own favourite recording of the Oiseaux - of those I've heard - is probably Ugorski.  Although I like Kodama too - these two offer very contrasting approaches, Ugorski soft-edged, Kodama crystalline.


Mandryka

#534
Quote from: aukhawk on July 08, 2024, 01:06:22 AMYes it's a super book to have, I like to dip into it every now and then.

Yes I don't enjoy Aimard's recording of the Oiseaux - of course his Messiaen credentials are impeccable, but still, he sounds a bit heavy-handed to me. 
Interestingly though, the general critical view of Yvonne Loriod's style in the '50s seems to have been that she had this characteristic too - robust, emphatic are the sort of words that get used to describe her playing.  There are a few hints to this scattered through the book.  Given that her playing influenced Messiaen's writing, perhaps Aimard (who studied with Loriod of course) offers a more authentic experience than I give him credit for.

Fortunately Loriod is well-represented on record so every listener can make up their own mind - she sounds just fine to me, I would even say, towards the lyrical end of the spectrum, and that is her earlier quicker recording I'm thinking of (on Vega).  My own favourite recording of the Oiseaux - of those I've heard - is probably Ugorski.  Although I like Kodama too - these two offer very contrasting approaches, Ugorski soft-edged, Kodama crystalline.



The thing is, so much of his post war music is heavy and robust! Listen to La ville d'en haut or Chronochromie for example, or Les Couleurs de la Cite Celeste (sorry, no accents.) Even the earlier music -- L'Amen de l'agonie de Jesus.

There's a bit of the same spirit in Ustvolskaya and Messiaen.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Atriod

Quote from: aukhawk on July 08, 2024, 01:06:22 AMYes it's a super book to have, I like to dip into it every now and then.

Yes I don't enjoy Aimard's recording of the Oiseaux - of course his Messiaen credentials are impeccable, but still, he sounds a bit heavy-handed to me. 
Interestingly though, the general critical view of Yvonne Loriod's style in the '50s seems to have been that she had this characteristic too - robust, emphatic are the sort of words that get used to describe her playing.  There are a few hints to this scattered through the book.  Given that her playing influenced Messiaen's writing, perhaps Aimard (who studied with Loriod of course) offers a more authentic experience than I give him credit for.

Fortunately Loriod is well-represented on record so every listener can make up their own mind - she sounds just fine to me, I would even say, towards the lyrical end of the spectrum, and that is her earlier quicker recording I'm thinking of (on Vega).  My own favourite recording of the Oiseaux - of those I've heard - is probably Ugorski.  Although I like Kodama too - these two offer very contrasting approaches, Ugorski soft-edged, Kodama crystalline.

I hear Kodama as quite transparent, clear. I have not heard either of Loriod's recordings, to be honest her Erato recording of Vingt regards didn't do that well in a blind test I did so I have not felt an urge to get to it. I do want to listen to Ugorski more, I have only heard the first two pieces then went on a detour; Jean-Rodolphe Kars showed an expansive, rounded Vingts Regards can work quite well and Ugorski might just be the same in d'oiseaux.

Mandryka

With these bird pieces, it's exactly like in Debussy. The problem is to find the balance between revealing the form and relishing beautiful timbres.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen