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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Brewski on January 03, 2008, 10:35:19 AM

Title: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Brewski on January 03, 2008, 10:35:19 AM
Apparently no Messiaen thread here, so here's a concert announcement to get the ball rolling.  I just found out about this series by organist Gail Archer (http://www.gailarcher.com/), who will play a series of recitals starting next week in six different churches in New York.  The series begins with La Nativité du Seigneur on January 13 and ends with Livre du Saint Sacrement on May 29.

Then I found a huge listing of concerts all over the world on this site (http://oliviermessiaen.net/news/performance-calendar), maintained by Boston University.  For his centenary, there are many, many interesting concerts planned.  I'll be hearing one here in February: the Turangalîla-Symphonie at Carnegie Hall, with David Robertson and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, with pianist Nicolas Hodges and Cynthia Millar on the ondes martenot.

Other fans, favorites, recordings?

--Bruce
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Brewski on January 03, 2008, 11:56:37 AM
quartet for the end of time (rca victor - stoltzman et al)
turangalila (DG - chung)
poems pour mi & sept haikai (DG - boulez)
et exspecto resurrectionem & chronochromie (DG - boulez)

Of those you mention, I have the ones above, and enjoy them all a lot.  I'm very curious about the Latry organ set.  He's doing a Messiaen recital at Disney Hall in a month, which I'd love to hear.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Maciek on January 03, 2008, 11:59:42 AM
Apparently no Messiaen thread here

Wha....!? I can hardly believe it! Thank goodness you filled that gaping hole, Bruce!!!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Brewski on January 03, 2008, 12:03:22 PM
Wha....!? I can hardly believe it! Thank goodness you filled that gaping hole, Bruce!!!

 ;D  It was rather shocking, wasn't it, especially given the big birthday year.  ;D

Are you a fan as well?

--Bruce
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: karlhenning on January 03, 2008, 12:14:21 PM
Whenever I hear the ondes Martenot, I somehow find myself reaching for popcorn . . . .
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: The new erato on January 03, 2008, 12:40:45 PM
Very good comment karlhenning!

But seriously: The Turangalila is performed here in Bergen on the 30th (I think) of January. I will be there in the hope of finally getting a handle on a composer I neither understand nor likes. 
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: karlhenning on January 03, 2008, 12:44:33 PM
One of my favorite live music events when I was in upstate New York, was hearing Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum live at the Eastman Theater.

I once picked up a recording of the piece, but it had nothing of the depth or impact of that live event.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Brewski on January 03, 2008, 12:47:41 PM
Like many other things, it is definitely a work that benefits from being heard live.  Please report back!

(Just saw Karl's post, which also says it, in a different way.)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: MishaK on January 03, 2008, 01:15:30 PM
Then I found a huge listing of concerts all over the world on this site (http://oliviermessiaen.net/news/performance-calendar), maintained by Boston University.  For his centenary, there are many, many interesting concerts planned.  I'll be hearing one here in February: the Turangalîla-Symphonie at Carnegie Hall, with David Robertson and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, with pianist Nicolas Hodges and Cynthia Millar on the ondes martenot.

Man, not a single event in Chicago. That stinks. And I just found the perfect birthday present (http://www.amazon.com/Bird-Songs-North-American-Birds/dp/1932855416/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1199394183&sr=1-2) for Olivier.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Kullervo on January 03, 2008, 02:56:35 PM
I like Vingt Regards, Quartet for the Umpteenth Time, and a few others, but Messiaen is normally too repetitive and lacking in humor for me. The last movement of Ex Expecto is hilarious, but I doubt it was intentional. :)

Even so, I think he was an important figure if only for the fact that so many of his students went on to be major figures in music.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Sydney Grew on January 03, 2008, 04:32:54 PM
. . . Messiaen is normally too repetitive and lacking in humo{u}r for me.

Is it not curious? - we on the other hand find that the serious and profound is always to be preferred to the comic; even in Shakespeare may we add. Perhaps that is simply our philosophical nature but it has been with us from birth. We have no need to be amused.

As for repetition, we know that it annoyed Schoenberg too. In fact his abhorrence of repetition lies at the root of his twelve-note system does it not? But to us on the contrary repetition has been one of the linch-pins of musical form ever since the middle ages. The more repetition the merrier! We need only turn to the waltzes of Johann Strauss to understand that principle. But although they are cheerful even they are thankfully not exactly humorous or amusing are they.

To return to Messiaen: his supreme masterpiece is of course St. Francis of Assisi of 1983. As in the case of Mahler's Eighth, we would advise people to steep themselves in the text - Messiaen's own - before listening to a note of the music whether in the opera house or in their own homes.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Kullervo on January 03, 2008, 06:10:56 PM
Is it not curious? - we on the other hand find that the serious and profound is always to be preferred to the comic; even in Shakespeare may we add. Perhaps that is simply our philosophical nature but it has been with us from birth. We have no need to be amused.

As for repetition, we know that it annoyed Schoenberg too. In fact his abhorrence of repetition lies at the root of his twelve-note system does it not? But to us on the contrary repetition has been one of the linch-pins of musical form ever since the middle ages. The more repetition the merrier! We need only turn to the waltzes of Johann Strauss to understand that principle. But although they are cheerful even they are thankfully not exactly humorous or amusing are they.

To return to Messiaen: his supreme masterpiece is of course St. Francis of Assisi of 1983. As in the case of Mahler's Eighth, we would advise people to steep themselves in the text - Messiaen's own - before listening to a note of the music whether in the opera house or in their own homes.


I probably should have said that it isn't that Messiaen's music lacks h-u-m-o-r (the correct spelling as I learned it in school in the U.S.), but rather that Messiaen himself lacked any semblance of it (a trait you and he share).

Repetition is important for music — even variation is a form of repetition, but outright repetition without any variation of musical material is just irritating (see for example: several passages in Turangalîla-Symphonie). Anyone with a decent memory should find it insulting.

But why should I argue with you? You're just a nobody that uses the anonymity of the internet to put on airs of sophistication.  ::)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Maciek on January 04, 2008, 02:33:59 AM
Are you a fan as well?

Definitely. One of my very favorite composers.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: MDL on January 04, 2008, 03:09:56 AM
There's a huge series of concerts at the South Bank Centre here in London. I must get round to buying a few tickets when I've paid off my Xmas debts. Alongside the usual Turangalilas and Et Expectos, they're doing La Transfiguration, the first Messiaen work that I heard and fell in love with; I've got five recordings of it, but I've never sat through the whole thing in one go, so that should be an experience.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 04, 2008, 03:27:04 AM
Nobody has yet mentioned the Trois petites Liturgies de la Presence Divine, which I first heard live at a performance in a church in Wells, and at which my friend, John Morton plated the Ondes Martenot. It was this piece that first turned me on to Messiaen, and has remained one of my most memorable concert experiences.

I also love Turangalila, which I have heard live several times, and which never fails in the concert hall. I confess, however, that there are still a good many of his works that I have yet to get to know. Maybe this centenary year will turn out to be a good one to do so.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 04, 2008, 03:31:32 AM
h-u-m-o-r (the correct spelling as I learned it in school in the U.S.),



Though, of course, if you had gone to school in the UK, you would have learned h-u-m-o-u-r.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Brewski on January 04, 2008, 07:43:42 AM
I like Vingt Regards, Quartet for the Umpteenth Time, and a few others, but Messiaen is normally too repetitive and lacking in humor for me.

Actually I can well identify with this view.  Messiaen's repetitive structures probably drive many people nuts.  (Wasn't it Beethoven who was the first to suggest that two repetitions of a figure should be the maximum?)  Sometimes I hear Messiaen communing with or even anticipating minimalists.  And I can't argue with the "no humor" charge, either, since I can't think of a single work by him that might be called playful or ironic.  He's like the super-sober friend whom you just can't tease, ever.

To me listening to Messiaen is like being near some material of molten intensity--like holding a white-hot star in your hands.  You don't have much reason or logic for doing so, but you are riveted by the sensation.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: karlhenning on January 04, 2008, 07:45:02 AM
Actually I can well identify with this view.  Messiaen's repetitive structures probably drive many people nuts.

Certainly that was the case, Bruce, with one neighbor who subsequently was obsessed with the idea of the smoldering ashes of Western civilization . . . .
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: MishaK on January 04, 2008, 07:52:17 AM
Nobody has yet mentioned the Trois petites Liturgies de la Presence Divine, which I first heard live at a performance in a church in Wells, and at which my friend, John Morton plated the Ondes Martenot. It was this piece that first turned me on to Messiaen, and has remained one of my most memorable concert experiences.

Lovely work. I heard it with Rattle in Berlin a few years ago. Messiaen at his best. Though I am very, very fond of Ascension, Vingt Regards, Quatuor pour la fin du temps and Catalogue d'Oiseaux.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Drasko on January 04, 2008, 08:21:12 AM
I love eclairs
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Maciek on January 04, 2008, 08:52:07 AM
Me too! :D

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ed/Eclair_1120005560.jpg/800px-Eclair_1120005560.jpg)

Wait a minute... you were saying?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Drasko on January 04, 2008, 11:20:48 AM
Wait a minute... you were saying?

Doesn't it show? ;D
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Maciek on January 04, 2008, 12:17:41 PM
The pun-packed title of one of his works springs to mind too (see above). ;)

(Seriously though: I agree. I may have never chuckled but the 5th mvt of Turangalila is an excellent example!)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: MishaK on January 04, 2008, 01:26:47 PM
Interesting about the claims about no humour in his music, perhaps it's more subtle to the keen listener? Dunno, but I find several things quite hysterial and have laughed out loud listening to his stuff numerous times, it's just bubbling with life, spirituality, invention, joy and there is humour & fun there too no doubt about that...the 5th movement of Turangalila springs to mind, or the piano piece Fantaisie burlesque, and many other moments have either made me smile or chuckle, there is a whole range of emotion I get from his stuff...i certainly wouldn't describe his music as arid, humourless or joyless; quite the contrary.

I agree. Just about anything where he quotes birdsong is very playful and full of humor.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Kullervo on January 04, 2008, 08:47:20 PM
I agree. Just about anything where he quotes birdsong is very playful and full of humor.

He probably would have disagreed.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: MishaK on January 04, 2008, 08:50:12 PM
He probably would have disagreed.

I don't think you're right about that.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Symphonien on January 04, 2008, 09:11:55 PM
The pun-packed title of one of his works springs to mind too (see above). ;)

Éclairs sur l’eau de l’Aa. ;D
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Kullervo on January 04, 2008, 09:14:19 PM
I don't think you're right about that.

Maybe. In everything I've read about him and in his interviews he came off as a very boring man.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Karhu on January 05, 2008, 03:26:05 AM
I'm very curious about the Latry organ set.  He's doing a Messiaen recital at Disney Hall in a month, which I'd love to hear.

--Bruce

Latry´s organ set is excellent. There are some more exciting recordings but Messiaen`s musical ideas are very well represented by Latry. I have heard Latry live only once, his improvisations were unforgettable. 
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: 71 dB on January 05, 2008, 11:15:06 AM
Messiaen is one composer I don't get at all. I borrowed again his Turangalila-Symphony (Esa-Pekka Salonen). The music is very chaotic, noisy and clanky. I don't see any point in anything. Maybe this is about testing orchestral sound effects?

The twofer set includes Lutoslawski's Symphony No. 3 & Les Espaces du Sommeil. I don't enjoy these works either. In fact this twofer made me shudder post war classical music when I borrowed it the first time years ago.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Brewski on January 05, 2008, 11:43:39 AM
The music is very chaotic, noisy and clanky.

OK, I'll buy that, but some ears hear those as positive attributes!  It's also music filled with rapture.

The twofer set includes Lutoslawski's Symphony No. 3 & Les Espaces du Sommeil. I don't enjoy these works either. In fact this twofer made me shudder post war classical music when I borrowed it the first time years ago.

Well then...on to other postwar composers.  No need to like either one.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: The new erato on January 05, 2008, 11:47:26 AM
Messiaen is one composer I don't get at all. I borrowed again his Turangalila-Symphony (Esa-Pekka Salonen). The music is very chaotic, noisy and clanky. I don't see any point in anything. Maybe this is about testing orchestral sound effects?
I very much agree but for the description of the music which i find boring, kitschy and vulgar. But I intend to try and to try again...

The twofer set includes Lutoslawski's Symphony No. 3 & Les Espaces du Sommeil. I don't enjoy these works either. In fact this twofer made me shudder post war classical music when I borrowed it the first time years ago.
Here I don't agree. But I admit its been some time since I've listened to Lutoslawski. Need to rectify that!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: MDL on January 05, 2008, 02:56:50 PM
I've never really understood the idea of "humour" in music. All those supposedly witty bits of Haydn and Mozart just curl up and die when I listen to them (yes, it's my failing, obviously). I think the Russians cornered the market. You can't get wittier than Prokofiev and nobody does sardonic gallows humour like Shostakovich. But back to the subject at hand - the last movement of Turangalila has to be one of the most deliriously happy stretches of music ever written. Does that count as humour? I'd say so.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: duncan on February 16, 2008, 05:06:40 AM
Maybe. In everything I've read about him and in his interviews he came off as a very boring man.

There was an interesting interview with pianist Peter Hill on BBC Radio 3's Music Matters (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/musicmatters/pip/q4vmd/) today, possibly available via Listen Again.  Hill says that Messiaen was very funny and had a keen sense of the ridiculous, even about his use of birdsong.   

I'm not an uncritical fan, but I love the Vingt Regards and very much enjoyed hearing the great Pierre-Laurent Aimard play them in London earlier this week. 
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Greta on February 28, 2008, 10:21:00 PM
I won't lie - Messiaen is not necessarily easy to encounter at first. I had trouble sorting out what was going on myself until I listened to many of his different works and got to understand his style, and also read about what his goals were in composition.

So, at our college they will perform the Oiseaux...which doesn't include my instrument, so I get to watch instead of play. My friends playing are passing around a recording, for most of the people playing this is perhaps their first encounter with Messiaen. And when they put headphones to the ear, there are some rather shocked and horrified faces! Besides it being a difficult piece, they just have trouble finding understandable music in it to grasp onto.

I wonder if after the rehearsal process, where they'll really get to know the piece and more about Messiaen, if they'll come to like it a bit - I think maybe, they will.

Humor is definitely a big element, and just general quirkiness....there are these often irreverent and somehow wandering percussion and woodwinds he has going on, and his orchestration is most unique indeed. He favors these bright, organ-like chords with almost garish harmonic colors, especially the way he scores the brass.

I think personally Turangalila is a very accessible work of his and a good starting place, though it depends on your individual taste...it is so wide-eyed and heady that while enormously fun, it can become a bit of overload.

Lately I am getting to know his Des Canyons aux Etoiles (From the Canyons to the Stars), and really am liking it, it is honestly an extremely beautiful work, to me very visual. It's quite far from Turangalila - much more introspective and transparently scored, focused on primarily the piano and only a few instruments at a time.

In the middle of this long work, I found one of the most enjoyable and humorous bits I have had the pleasure to hear from Messiaen yet - the Appel Interstellaire (Interstellar Call), for solo horn - which could almost stand alone (and surely has at many horn recitals) as it is so engaging and colorfully written. There are many unique effects he gets from the horn - the most fun being a wolf howl - and alternations of flowing lines and urgent blats that I assume would be "starry" language.  :D In fact, color me crazy, please do, but I get from this piece three distinct characters - the star with attitude (the loud, rambunctious one who begins), the wolf who answers, and the contemplative star, who takes the thoughtful, noble, singing lines.

I haven't gotten to know the Vingt Regards yet, perhaps soon...I also want to explore the La Transfiguration more, I thought it amazing the once I've heard it.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: MDL on February 29, 2008, 02:18:03 AM
La Transfiguration is amazing. I've somehow managed to collect all five recordings. I didn't mean to; I just kept on stumbling across yet another one going cheap or second hand. It's being performed later this year in the Royal Festival Hall.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Hector on February 29, 2008, 06:45:03 AM
Messiaen, piece of piss. What's not to understand? Like, OK a different matter.

He was very, very, very(very - again) Catholic, poor sod!

His religion permeates his work. A drawback, a hindrance to enjoyment? Perhaps.

Try his greateast influence, Koechlin.

Now there is a composer with a few quirks.

He wrote a 'Seven Stars Symphony.'

Oh, what Heavenly Bodies would they be, one thinks? How about Hollywoodian Heavenly Bodies? Great.

Better still, 'The Jungle Book.' Terrific. Segerstam's disc is cheap and complete 'cause you ain't gonna hear this in concert!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Ephemerid on February 29, 2008, 07:17:35 AM
Just downloaded his Illuminations of the Beyond with Simon Rattle conducting.  Looking forward to giving it a closer listen tonight and over the weekend. 

Messiaen is a tough nut to crack but a few months ago I found my way into most of the music I've acquired.  I've been well rewarded for the effort-- now that I'm "in" I can explore it more easily. 

Vignt Regards is still one I struggle with, but I can make out his own very unique language now & he's one of my favourite composers now.

As far as the titles, the symbolism and such, I "get it" only in a very general sense.  Maybe I'm doing the composer an injustice, but for the most part (at least right now in these early stages) I tend to ignore the titles & symbolism & extra-musical aspects & listen to it primarily on a strictly musical level (and what I'm getting out of it on a purely personal level).  Maybe those extra-musical associations will come later, but it doesn't bother me. 

Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: paulb on February 29, 2008, 08:04:44 AM
Just downloaded his Illuminations of the Beyond with Simon Rattle conducting.  Looking forward to giving it a closer listen tonight and over the weekend. 

Messiaen is a tough nut to crack but a few months ago I found my way into most of the music I've acquired.  I've been well rewarded for the effort-- now that I'm "in" I can explore it more easily. 

Vignt Regards is still one I struggle with, but I can make out his own very unique language now & he's one of my favourite composers now.

As far as the titles, the symbolism and such, I "get it" only in a very general sense.  Maybe I'm doing the composer an injustice, but for the most part (at least right now in these early stages) I tend to ignore the titles & symbolism & extra-musical aspects & listen to it primarily on a strictly musical level (and what I'm getting out of it on a purely personal level).  Maybe those extra-musical associations will come later, but it doesn't bother me. 



This is a  very very good post.
"tough nut'. Don't break your teeth, there's nothing inside the nut once you *crack* it.
 *Illuminatiosn of THE BEYOND*  ::) ??? :D :D lol
just the names of his titles is enough to keep me far away.
Sorry been there/done that with Messiaen.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Ephemerid on February 29, 2008, 08:18:59 AM
This is a  very very good post.
"tough nut'. Don't break your teeth, there's nothing inside the nut once you *crack* it.
 *Illuminatiosn of THE BEYOND*  ::) ??? :D :D lol
just the names of his titles is enough to keep me far away.
Sorry been there/done that with Messiaen.
But that's my whole point-- I don't much pay attention at this stage to the titles, so that hardly bothers me.  But then I've rarely ever done that anyway-- whether I'm listening to Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Beethoven's sixth symphony, Debussy's Preludes, or whatever, I don't generally make any extra-musical connections (images, concepts, etc.).  Later, after the fact, that might be informative, but it doesn't necessarily inform me during the act of listening-- that's where I bring in my own meaning into play.

Messiaen could write a piece called 12 meditations on the epiphany of the glorious ressurection of the mystical cabbages of God LOL or he could call it Symphony No. 3 -- I couldn't care less becuase I'm more interest in the sounds that are happening than the titles.  Everything (for me) is subordinate to the sounds, not the other way round, so titles don't dissuade me from a work.  You know, all that business about judging books by their cover, etc.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Brewski on February 29, 2008, 08:47:12 AM
Here (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/29/arts/music/29axio.html?ex=1362027600&en=354edfddb99046cb&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=all) is a good review in today's New York Times of Des canyons aux étoiles, which I heard Wednesday night.  Amazing that this difficult, lengthy (100 minutes) score was done so beautifully by a group of students (which not incidentally, is another comment on the increasing skills of young musicians these days). 

Anyway, a fascinating piece, with some of the most unusual sounds I've heard in Messiaen's output.  It's quite spare and transparent, more like chamber music, and is absolutely filled with different bird sounds.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Symphonien on February 29, 2008, 03:32:15 PM
Messiaen could write a piece called 12 meditations on the epiphany of the glorious ressurection of the mystical cabbages of God LOL or he could call it Symphony No. 3 -- I couldn't care less becuase I'm more interest in the sounds that are happening than the titles.

LOL at that title! Seems exactly like typical Messiaen. ;D

But anyway, I do agree with you there. I'm not a religious person myself, and I don't necessarily understand or agree with the titles of all his pieces and how they relate to the music - but I do certainly enjoy the music itself. Exceptions to this however, for me anyway, are pieces like Oiseaux Exotiques or Catalogue d'Oiseaux which I can understand because they both make heavy use of birdsong.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Renfield on June 23, 2008, 12:39:57 PM
Here (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/29/arts/music/29axio.html?ex=1362027600&en=354edfddb99046cb&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=all) is a good review in today's New York Times of Des canyons aux étoiles, which I heard Wednesday night.  Amazing that this difficult, lengthy (100 minutes) score was done so beautifully by a group of students (which not incidentally, is another comment on the increasing skills of young musicians these days). 

Anyway, a fascinating piece, with some of the most unusual sounds I've heard in Messiaen's output.  It's quite spare and transparent, more like chamber music, and is absolutely filled with different bird sounds.

--Bruce

I just came back from a performance of that very piece by the mind-blowingly accomplished Ensemble InterContemporain under Susanna Mälkki, which lived up to its reputation every step of the proverbial way from the canyons to the firmament.

The performance was part of the Athens Festival, in the Odeon of Herodes Atticus (the "Herodeon"); and beyond the great acoustics, fascinating was the natural punctuation of the early parts of the score (before the sun had set) with real birdcalls from the surrounding trees!

I wonder what Messiaen would've thought. 8)


Quite a magical night, then, and a fantastic first impression of Messiaen's music for me.

The only weak link was the pianist, who - instead of being Pierre-Laurent Aimard, like in their recording of the piece - was some Greek fellow who, even thought not bad, was sadly nowhere near Aimard's level. But he played his part adequately; no complaints. ;)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: pjme on June 23, 2008, 01:06:04 PM
Messiaen, piece of piss. What's not to understand? Like, OK a different matter.



Try his greateast influence, Koechlin.

Now there is a composer with a few quirks.

He wrote a 'Seven Stars Symphony.'

Oh, what Heavenly Bodies would they be, one thinks? How about Hollywoodian Heavenly Bodies? Great.

Better still, 'The Jungle Book.' Terrific. Segerstam's disc is cheap and complete 'cause you ain't gonna hear this in concert!

Segerstam's 'Livre de la Jungle " is NOT complete. It lacks the earliest written parts : Trois poèmes op. 18 : Berceuse phoque ( Seal lullaby), Chanson de nuit dans la jungle (Night song in the jungle) and Chant de Kala Nag (Song of Kala Nag - the elephant).

Both David Zinman's (Berlin Radio SO) ( RCA)and Stuart Bedford's ( Montpellier PhO)( Actes Sud) are complete

For Koechlin : check Heinz Holliger recordings on Hänssler Classics with the Stuttgart Radio SO! Let's hope he will record the symphonies now!

As for Messiaen : his faith was his inspiration. Where did you read that Koechlin was his greatest influence??
He admired one of his teachers, Maurice Emmanuel, the composer Paul Dukas, Debussy and Stravinsky....

P.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Marc on June 23, 2008, 03:06:00 PM
Messiaen, piece of piss. What's not to understand? Like, OK a different matter.

He was very, very, very(very - again) Catholic, poor sod!

His religion permeates his work.

*Illuminations of THE BEYOND*  ::) ??? :D :D lol
just the names of his titles is enough to keep me far away.
Sorry been there/done that with Messiaen.

As for Messiaen : his faith was his inspiration.

Yes. Like Bach. Like many others. Even in these so-called modern times.
I don't believe in their God, although ....??
Well, I believe in the existence of their God, because they created Him.
But certainly I think that this 'divine-inspired' music can be really great, although I personally believe that these composers were inspired by their own 'divinity', and their listeners were touched by that, and inspired by their own created 'divinity'.
Every believer has his/her own interpretation of the Word of the Almighty. Because every believer creates his/her own Almighty, in their own mind and imagination. The Almighty is just a mirror of each and everyone's individual personality.

You're all individuals!
Yes, we're all individuals!
You're all different!
Yes, we're all different!

I'm not....


Errr, anyway. I was having a laugh when I read that persons could not take Messiaen seriously, with him being that religious, and giving his compositions rather mystic titles. Well, if you do think works like that aren't worth listening to, then you must be a very lucky person. You can save yourself a lot of money, because you won't have to buy and listen to almost half (or even more) of the classical music that has been composed so far. What titles are those, all these Holy Masses (Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis ??? ;D), Magnificats, Salve Regina's, Requiems, I know that my Redeemer liveth, well .... whatever. Come on! Compositions, for instance, about the purity of the virginity of the Mother of the Son of the Almighty!? You must be joking in taking such music seriously! :P

And, for what it's worth, you can also skip the entire oeuvre (about 160 CD's) of Bach: Soli Deo Gloria.

Poor sod? ???
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: pjme on June 23, 2008, 10:58:48 PM
This thread urged me to take up Peter Hill's "Messiaen companion" (Faber & Faber / Amadeus Press 1994) again. Lots of inside information and details on Messiaen's personality.

 Articles  by George Benjamin, Yvonne Loriod ( Mrs.Messiaen) ,Jane Manning ,Pierre Boulez etc. 

P.

ps : Messiaen wrote little for the ondes Martenot : Turangalila has a solo part and so has Trois petites Liturgies.
Fêtes des belles eaux (1937) is an extended sextet for ondes, the large orchestra of "Saint François" has 3 ondes.
IIRC, a few small works for ondes Martenot - solo remain unpublished or are of lesser importance  - Hill mentiones two Monodies and music for a play, Oedipe....( ca 1938-1942)

Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Hector on June 24, 2008, 05:24:32 AM
Segerstam's 'Livre de la Jungle " is NOT complete. It lacks the earliest written parts : Trois poèmes op. 18 : Berceuse phoque ( Seal lullaby), Chanson de nuit dans la jungle (Night song in the jungle) and Chant de Kala Nag (Song of Kala Nag - the elephant).

Both David Zinman's (Berlin Radio SO) ( RCA)and Stuart Bedford's ( Montpellier PhO)( Actes Sud) are complete

For Koechlin : check Heinz Holliger recordings on Hänssler Classics with the Stuttgart Radio SO! Let's hope he will record the symphonies now!

As for Messiaen : his faith was his inspiration. Where did you read that Koechlin was his greatest influence??
He admired one of his teachers, Maurice Emmanuel, the composer Paul Dukas, Debussy and Stravinsky....

P.


I thought it was and I'm sure that that was what it said on the box but I'll check.

Holliger is the one to get but Segerstam was so cheap.

I did not read it anywhere but it is clear that Koechlin and, to some extent, Tournemire influenced Messiaen just by listening to the music of these composers. The latter was, also, irredeemably religious.

I can imagine Stravinsky hating this music.

We have a Messiaenfest at the Proms this year for obvious reasons.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: pjme on June 24, 2008, 06:05:25 AM
In a very general sense, I think, one could state that Koechlin is a kind of "missing link" between Debussy and Messiaen.

But, afaik, one cannot say that Messiaen was directly influenced by Koechlin.

Messiaen definitely admired Tournemire as composer for the organ and, possibly, as a catholic.

P.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Brewski on June 24, 2008, 06:49:27 AM
I just came back from a performance of that very piece by the mind-blowingly accomplished Ensemble InterContemporain under Susanna Mälkki, which lived up to its reputation every step of the proverbial way from the canyons to the firmament.

The performance was part of the Athens Festival, in the Odeon of Herodes Atticus (the "Herodeon"); and beyond the great acoustics, fascinating was the natural punctuation of the early parts of the score (before the sun had set) with real birdcalls from the surrounding trees!

I wonder what Messiaen would've thought. 8)


Quite a magical night, then, and a fantastic first impression of Messiaen's music for me.

The only weak link was the pianist, who - instead of being Pierre-Laurent Aimard, like in their recording of the piece - was some Greek fellow who, even thought not bad, was sadly nowhere near Aimard's level. But he played his part adequately; no complaints. ;)

Somehow missed this, and thanks for posting.  I suspect Messiaen would have loved hearing this group (mind-blowingly accomplished indeed) perform Des canyons.  (And I'd hear them do just about anything.)  Your comment implies that this was your first live Messiaen experience...if so, you really had a great one.  Love the added bird calls...

--Bruce
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Brewski on October 06, 2008, 10:37:17 AM
At Saint Thomas Church here in NYC, John Thomas is playing all of Messiaen's organ works on six consecutive Sunday afternoons.  (The first one, which I couldn't attend, was yesterday.)  Information here (http://www.saintthomaschurch.org/messiaen.html), along with program notes.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Maciek on October 06, 2008, 11:39:09 AM
Is that DG box any different to the old DG box?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: jowcol on October 09, 2008, 05:19:11 AM
The two Messiaen works that have worked best for me at Le nativité du Seigneur (which is some of the coolest Organ music of the 20th Century) and his Preludes for Piano.

Le nativité has some very powerful atmospheric and emotional impact-- and also some pretty haunting lyricism. 

The Piano Preludes are also quite listenable- the second one (Chan de Extase) is really haunting and mysterious. It would not be out of place on the same program with the Debussy Preludes.

Both of these are earlier works-- not as hardcore as his later stuff, which I'm not always in the mood for.  I remember playing some of his later organ works out the window one Halloween and no kids came to our door.


One of the most interesting things about Messiaen is his association with muscial keys and color-- much like Scriabin.   Or course, the whole synesthesia thing would warrent another thread.

wjp
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: lukeottevanger on October 09, 2008, 05:50:47 AM
One of the most interesting things about Messiaen is his association with muscial keys and color-- much like Scriabin.   Or course, the whole synesthesia thing would warrent another thread.

With Messiaen it's not keys so much as particular chords, of the most complex type, that carry the (equally-complex) colour-associations. We've had (fascinating) threads on key-colour association before (it's a really interesting subject which isn't understood properly)....I'll try to dig one up.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: lukeottevanger on October 09, 2008, 05:54:44 AM
This one (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,274.0.html), for instance, though it's more about general associations than about colour specifically.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: lukeottevanger on October 09, 2008, 05:56:20 AM
...or this one (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,4102.0.html), ditto...
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Catison on October 09, 2008, 09:57:31 AM
This one (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,274.0.html), for instance, though it's more about general associations than about colour specifically.

If you watch the documentary The Chrystal Liturgy, he talks about these colors specifically.  He didn't expect propose that everyone should see the same colors, but that chords had a specific sound which could be analogous to color.  He specifically says he didn't have synthenesia.  He was just a rather odd guy.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: karlhenning on October 09, 2008, 10:00:53 AM
Well, being rather odd isn't necessarily bad.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Catison on October 09, 2008, 11:24:27 AM
Well, being rather odd isn't necessarily bad.

Being rather odd myself, I would never suggest such a thing.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: jowcol on October 09, 2008, 12:14:21 PM
It is my understanding that Messiaen claimed not to have synesthesia, but used color to describe.

There is a decent overview here that talks about how Scriabin and Rimsky Korsakov both saw colors to music-- it was interesting that Rimsky coudl not see one key.

http://pages.sbcglobal.net/jameswierzbicki/synaesthesia.htm

FWIW-- I do have mild synesthesia-- so I can identify....



Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: yoyoman_hey on November 29, 2008, 06:41:15 PM
My university recently had a few performances for Messiaen's centenary, and I was fortunate enough to catch a performance of the Quator pour la fin du temps by some members of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra. Besides that I caught a wonderful organ recital of his Nativity suite and the Apparation de l'Eglise Eternelle that shook me to my bones. Definately someone whose music I intend to explore.

As far as the synesthesia, I agree that it is similar to programmatic information; interesting complement to the music and the composer's mind, but not essential to grasping (and more importantly, enjoying!) the music  :) . Judging from what little I have seen of Messiaen describing his compositional technique, I think he had either genuine synesthesia or at least a nifty colour-oriented method of building perfect pitch  :D
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Brewski on December 10, 2008, 09:45:11 AM
Happy 100th birthday to Olivier Messiaen, wherever he is.  Haven't yet finalized my playlist for later, but I have a feeling it will include Éclairs sur l'au-delà (Illuminations of the Beyond) among others. 

Other people marking the day?  (Unfortunately his centenary is perhaps slightly shadowed by someone else's 100th birthday (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,85.0.html) tomorrow... ;D)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: timnehguy on January 29, 2009, 07:38:56 AM
I've just recently discovered this forum, which I'm enjoying.  As soon as I found it, I headed for this Messiaen thread.  A year ago, I would have seen the name Messiaen and thought, "Another composer whose work I don't know."  I'm not sure when or how, but I recently discovered Messiaen's music, and  I cannot remember any art (music, literature, visual art) ever hitting me with the impact of Messiaen's music.  (In fact, it's because of Messiaen's music that I'm cruising classical music forums.)

I would like to respond to a few comments in this forum, first about the lack of humor.  Just two days ago, I was discussing the wonderful Crystal Liturgy DVD with a friend of mine, who remarked what a "funny guy" Messiaen was.  Two examples from the DVD:  as he is working with some students, he starts to sing a passage but pauses to apologize for his "composer's voice"; discussing birds that imitate other birds, he talks about a father bird that imitates another species to entertain his little ones.   In fact, the birds always seem to bring out the best (and funniest) in him and in his music.

As others have mentioned, it's hard to identify "a sense of humor" in music, but for me, it is easier to identify a sense of joy and fun, and I believe that joy and fun come through loud and clear in Messiaen's work, perhaps in the goofy excesses of the long works with an army of performers in which Messiaen seems to have thrown in everything but the kitchen sink (and, let me go back to check again, there may have been a kitchen sink somewhere).  To me, that's an example of a good influence of his religious beliefs at their best, along the lines of the Anglican children's hymn, "All things bright and beautiful."

With my literary background, I especially enjoy/appreciate his playfulness with language, from the title of the Turangalîla-Symphonie to the almost made up language of Harawi (which is probably my favorite of his works).

Messiaen's Roman Catholicism is the 800 lb. gorilla sitting on the keyboard.  He was Roman Catholic, his music was written for the greater glory of God, but in some ways, I think not being a member of his in-crowd helps me to appreciate his music more.  I don't go into it taking things for granted.  Messiaen might have said I am missing the whole point, but honestly, when I read his titles and certainly his commentaries, I wonder if even a very well informed devout Roman Catholic could get what Messiaen sees/hears in his work.  You can read his commentary on his Quartour pour la fin du temps, here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quatuor_pour_la_fin_du_temps (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quatuor_pour_la_fin_du_temps) and then download and listen to the music here, http://www.lunanova.org/podcasts/quatuor.mp3 (http://www.lunanova.org/podcasts/quatuor.mp3).  (Right click to download.)  Or, you might do better to listen to the music first.

But his Roman Catholicism is not based on guilt and gloom (as some Roman Catholic literary works are) but - again - on joy.  He did not write about the crucifixion of Jesus but about his nativity and transfiguration.  Even, perhaps especially, sex is a gift from God... assumedly heterosexual activity between two married people, but in his three works associated with the Tristan legend (Harawi, Turangalîla-Symphonie, Cinq rechants), he gets down and dirty at times.  (In another forum, someone said that after a particularly intense performance of Cinq rechants, everyone in the audience wanted to go out for a cigarette.) 

Messiaen is like the woman in Oklahoma: he cain't say no!  If it's good to view the child Jesus, then, doggone it, twenty views would be twenty times better!  Again, in the interviews from the Crystal Liturgy DVD, he speaks of perhaps the irony of writing such a rich, lush opera on the life of St. Francis, who embraced and celebrated poverty.  But, as Messiaen continues, his opera reflects the riches of the saint, who had a wealth of spiritual gifts, colors, and - oh, yes - birds... sounds as if Messiaen were talking about himself.

OK, this is quite long enough.  If you can endure more of my raving about Messiaen, check out an article I wrote:
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1288530/olivier_messiaen_happy_100th_birthday.html?singlepage=true&cat=33 (http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1288530/olivier_messiaen_happy_100th_birthday.html?singlepage=true&cat=33)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: karlhenning on January 29, 2009, 09:00:49 AM
Very interesting post, thank you. And welcome to GMG, Michael!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Brewski on February 09, 2009, 01:54:35 PM
Over the weekend I saw the DVD of La Liturgie de cristal, Oliver Mille's documentary on Messiaen, and it is terrific--highly recommended to anyone interested in the composer.  I see comments about it elsewhere here so I won't go on and on, but I will add that the roughly hour-long film has about an hour of extras, which are just as interesting as the film itself.  The photography is gorgeous, including some spectacular footage of Zion National Park, where he was inspired to write Des canyons aux étoiles.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: karlhenning on February 09, 2009, 02:18:38 PM
Curiously, Bruce, I was listening to the Quatuor just last night . . . .
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Brewski on February 09, 2009, 02:23:13 PM
Curiously, Bruce, I was listening to the Quatuor just last night . . . .

 0:) 

I heard it by the Da Capo Chamber Players a few weeks ago.  It's the kind of piece I think everyone should hear say, once a year (like, e.g., Le Sacre).

--Bruce
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: timnehguy on March 16, 2009, 03:22:31 PM
Two or three posts up, there is my prolonged rave about Messiaen, so I'll try to be brief here... following up on the suggestion that everyone should hear the Quartet for the End of Time once a year. 

Everyone should hear it at least once.  I remember when I heard it last year, I was left almost gasping for breath, actually said aloud to myself, "Where has this music been all my life?"
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: ChamberNut on March 16, 2009, 05:40:48 PM
Everyone should hear it at least once.  I remember when I heard it last year, I was left almost gasping for breath, actually said aloud to myself, "Where has this music been all my life?"

I agree there.  Heard it live, and it was an experience like none before.  There really is nothing quite like this piece.  I think there is something for everyone to like in this work (even though you may not enjoy all of it). 
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: MDL on March 17, 2009, 12:11:50 AM
Messiaen is like the woman in Oklahoma: he cain't say no! 


Quote of the week.  ;D

Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: timnehguy on May 19, 2009, 04:40:07 PM
Thursday is the Feastday of the Ascension, forty days after Easter. Here are YouTube links for Messian's "L'Ascension" ("The Ascension"), composed in 1932-33. Messiaen described it as "4 Meditations for orchestra".

Orchestral version -
1. Majesté du Christ demandant sa gloire à son Père ("The majesty of Christ demanding its glory of the Father")
2. Alleluias sereins d’une âme qui désire le ciel ("Serene alleluias of a soul that longs for heaven")
3. Alleluia sur la trompette, alleluia sur la cymbale ("Alleluia on the trumpet, alleluia on the cymbal")
4. Prière du Christ montant vers son Père ("Prayer of Christ ascending towards his Father")

Organ version -
In 1933-34, Messiaen made a version for solo organ. The first, second and fourth movements are arrangements of the orchestral pieces, but Messiaen composed a new third movement, "Transports de joie d'une âme devant la gloire du Christ qui est la sienne" ("Ecstasies of a soul before the glory of Christ, which is its own glory"), usually just known as "Transports de joie."

Organ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yulKIfkrdRs
L'Ascension (1)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFrfAcTg3cw
L'Ascension (2)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEM2QuNkD5I
L'Ascension (3)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X9xw5T_TYs
L'Ascension (4)


Orchestra

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcJydG8lejY
L'Ascension (1)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFBZl3ABG9E
L'Ascension (2)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMiJ5bpBWh8
L'Ascension (3)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDYw8vuZllQ
L'Ascension (4)

See http://twitter.com/MessiaenProject
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: timnehguy on June 13, 2009, 03:24:09 PM
Two new videos online -

http://www.ktotv.com/cms/videos/fiche_video.html?idV=00041254&vl=video_par_emission (http://www.ktotv.com/cms/videos/fiche_video.html?idV=00041254&vl=video_par_emission)
DOCUMENTAIRE: LE CHARME DES IMPOSSIBILITÉS
78 mn
Le "Quatuor pour la fin du temps" est une oeuvre musicale en huit mouvements écrite par Olivier Messiaen alors qu'il était en détention au camp de Görlitzt durant la 2ème guerre mondiale.


http://www.veoh.com/browse/videos/category/music/watch/v18597352CdyjKfdY# (http://www.veoh.com/browse/videos/category/music/watch/v18597352CdyjKfdY#)

French composer/organist Olivier Messiaen (1909-1992)improvises at the organ of the Paris Church of the Sainte-Trinité, where he was organist for more than six decades. This video is taken from a DVD that is out-of-print. (There have been excerpts from this on YouTube for a while.) 27 min.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: timnehguy on June 22, 2009, 10:40:43 AM
Last year, Southbank Centre's centenary celebration of Olivier Messiaen included three online videos of what they said would be a series of four. I emailed them about the fourth and was told that it is the Harrison Birtwistle video, which is not in the same format as the other three.

Anyway, here are three little mini-documentaries that will give you a good sense of Messiaen's standing today. Bravo, Soutbank Centre:

Messiaen - a life in colour
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yX5pA3TVFsU

Messiaen - a life in colour" part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MG2eILPcJc

Messiaen - a life in colour: part 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iedSiq7WihE

Harrison Birtwistle in conversation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPGZp-3KWwQ
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Brewski on July 29, 2009, 08:37:46 AM
Earlier this week at this year's Verbier Festival, there was a very fine performance of the Turangalîla-Symphonie with Charles Dutoit and the Festival Orchestra, Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano) and Valérie Hartmann-Claverie (ondes martenot).

It was taped on July 26, and is available here (http://www.medici.tv/#/performance/566/).  Well worth viewing for anyone who likes the piece, or is curious to actually watch it performed.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: MDL on August 01, 2009, 11:34:32 AM
Earlier this week at this year's Verbier Festival, there was a very fine performance of the Turangalîla-Symphonie with Charles Dutoit and the Festival Orchestra, Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano) and Valérie Hartmann-Claverie (ondes martenot).

It was taped on July 26, and is available here (http://www.medici.tv/#/performance/566/).  Well worth viewing for anyone who likes the piece, or is curious to actually watch it performed.

--Bruce

I've never heard of Medici TV before. What an amazing website. Had a quick dip in the performance (the other half is cooking steaks at the moment) and it looks impressive. I'll have to come back to this later. Thanks for posting.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Brewski on August 01, 2009, 11:41:39 AM
I've never heard of Medici TV before. What an amazing website. Had a quick dip in the performance (the other half is cooking steaks at the moment) and it looks impressive. I'll have to come back to this later. Thanks for posting.

I suspect you will be floored--not necessarily by the Messiaen, but by the great stuff available (and as often as you want to replay it, too).  If I were carping I would politely suggest a little more contemporary music, but never mind, I'll shut up.  ;D

--Bruce
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: ChamberNut on August 25, 2009, 08:51:00 AM
All this talk about the Quatuor pour la fin du temps, or as Dana puts it "String Quartet pour la fin du temps" ;D, has made me wonder:

Has this piece ever been orchestrated?  It would seem like an ideal work for orchestra, although I'm totally happy with the original as is.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: SonicMan46 on October 10, 2009, 10:10:47 AM
Over the years, I've given Messiaen some occasional attention; today I listened to the piano disc w/ Angela Hewitt quoted below (from the listening thread - a response to a recording posted by Henk) - a box of orchestral works on Hannsler was also mentioned - just have one other CD w/ the Quartet as stated below.

Last year was the 100th anniversary of his birth, and I'm sure a number of 'boxes' etc. have been released; so, this might be a good time to update this thread concerning purchase recommendations - all suggestions appreciated - thanks!  :D


(http://img13.nnm.ru/8/d/b/4/4/8db44adc0e5069891add85a3012ee9fb_full.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51X6YeGlF-L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Disappointing, and badly recorded.


Quote
Henk - boy, that Aimard set got some excellent 5* reviews on Amazon, including a superlative one by Scott Morrison! 

Just received a package from BRO of Hyperion CDs, including the one above w/ Angela Hewitt playing Messiaen - listening to the earlier Preludes at the moment and enjoying.

Messiaen has been 'on & off' my radar screen - use to have some organ discs, but could not really tolerate the music (probably just me?) - but would like to explore his orchestral & piano compositions - except for this new CD, I just own a disc w/ the Quartet for the End of Time - so 'wide open' for suggestions!  :)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: UB on December 16, 2009, 09:30:27 AM
From Alex Ross' New Yorker blog (http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/alexross/)

"According to Chicago Classical Review, the Rembrandt Chamber Players sent out a survey asking subscribers what work they most wanted to hear, and the winner was … Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time.”


Love the work but they must have a very unusual set of subscribers.


Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Catison on December 17, 2009, 01:39:08 PM
From Alex Ross' New Yorker blog (http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/alexross/)

"According to Chicago Classical Review, the Rembrandt Chamber Players sent out a survey asking subscribers what work they most wanted to hear, and the winner was … Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time.”


Love the work but they must have a very unusual set of subscribers.

Or they all just read Ross's book, which gushes about the work.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: MDL on March 13, 2010, 04:24:04 AM
Has anybody heard the new Concertgebouw recording of Chronochromie? I've already got (what I believe to be) the only two complete performances (Dorati/BBCSO and Boulez CO) and an excerpt from Rosbaud's SWR performance, so I don't really need a new one, but I always like hearing this band in modern music.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: UB on April 13, 2010, 06:20:50 AM
There is an excellent concert of his music on Radio France (http://sites.radiofrance.fr/francemusique/prog/ant/index.php?time=1271023200) that includes Chronochromie available on demand for the next 6 days. Boulez leads the Orchestre de l'Opéra National de Paris.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Luke on April 14, 2010, 11:47:33 PM
FWIW, a couple of interesting Messiaen discs that have come to me in recent months:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51W9H2z70RL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

contains the complete ondes Martenot sextet La Fête des Belles Eaux (including the prototype for the 5th movement of the Quartet for the End of Time, and it sounds glorious in its original scoring here, better than I've heard before). The piece as a whole is usually rather maligned, but it has some startling moments and is well worth hearing. There are also the late Feuilles Inedits for ondes and piano. A beautiful extra is an arrangement of the first movement of the Ravel Quartet for ondes ensemble - sounds heretical, I know, but apparently Ravel heard this and others of his works performed in this way and was very impressed, going so far as to say that this is how the music had always sounded in his head....

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41gNqwh1EbL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Carrying the all-important Loriod seal of approval (and her participation, too!) Some real rarities here, including some pieces I hadn't even heard of, such as a work for chorus and orchestra, from 1945, the Chant des Deportes. It's not very good, to be honest, it's easy to see why he wasn't happy with it, but it's good to hear it. Great to hear La Mort de Nombre, in particular....and there are nice little bonbons such as a Mozart pastiche for clarinet and piano
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: karlhenning on April 15, 2010, 12:54:01 AM
Mmm, temptations . . . .
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Guido on April 17, 2010, 01:20:51 AM
Is it sacrilege to say that I love the individual movements of the Quartet for the End of Time more than the sum of its parts? I always find the whole thing curiously disappointing compared to his other major works, but I'll often listen to the excerpted movements. Surely a major part of its appeal is the biographical elements.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Est.1965 on January 25, 2011, 06:00:04 PM
FWIW, a couple of interesting Messiaen discs that have come to me in recent months:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51W9H2z70RL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

contains the complete ondes Martenot sextet La Fête des Belles Eaux (including the prototype for the 5th movement of the Quartet for the End of Time, and it sounds glorious in its original scoring here, better than I've heard before). The piece as a whole is usually rather maligned, but it has some startling moments and is well worth hearing. There are also the late Feuilles Inedits for ondes and piano. A beautiful extra is an arrangement of the first movement of the Ravel Quartet for ondes ensemble - sounds heretical, I know, but apparently Ravel heard this and others of his works performed in this way and was very impressed, going so far as to say that this is how the music had always sounded in his head....

I have never been a fan of Messiaen, because I just...well, it's just I didn't meet him because I didn't like the sound of him.  :(
Aye, things change for sure.   :)  I am listening to that La Fête des Belles Eaux above at the moment as I write, and it has a nice capacity to upset my spiritual sensibilities.  Recently, I've been listening to Turangalila, and in the dense fog I can see a light carrier.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: lescamil on January 25, 2011, 07:44:14 PM
Has anyone yet mentioned this amazing recording of the Vingt Regards?

http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/al.asp?al=CDA67351/2

I would consider this one the definitive recording of this epic cycle, and I've heard about 10 different recordings of the cycle (including all of the usual suspects). Everything about Osborne's performance seems to rise above and beyond the others. His pacing is what strikes me the most, though. Messiaen is a composer notorious for extreme crescendos, accelerandos, etc, and Osborne knows just exactly how to meter out these markings, with respect to the overall structure of the work. I would favorably compare his playing to Olivier Latry's performance of the organ works, particularly La Nativité du Seigneur, a work stylistically similar to the Vingt Regards in Messiaen's work list. Both performers use excellent instruments and have excellent technique on display, coupled with a sensitive touch for this amazing repertoire.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: MDL on January 26, 2011, 02:26:09 AM
Yes you do, you need the version by Manuel Rosenthal included in this precious box-set from Disques Ades. Manuel Rosenthal was a student of Ravel, this recording therefore is almost as good as a seal of approval by Ravel on Messiaen:


(Another curiosity in this box is a performance of Dutilleux's Metaboles by Jean Martinon).

You will also be delighted to learn the Ruckblick Moderne box-set from Col Legno includes a performance of Chronochromie by Lothar Zagrosek and the Staatsorchester Stuttgart:


(Among other curiosities included in this box, Ives' Unanswered Question and Boulez's Cummings ist der Dichter with Rupert Huber and performances of Ravel, Beat Furrer, Bruno Maderna and Debussy by Michael Stern - the really curious thing about that one being that Michael Stern is Isaac's son.)

And lest the worthy Karl-Anton Rickenbacher feel neglected:


Wow! Every single one of those has got me drooling like a hungry bulldog over my keyboard, as much for the other stuff (Boulez, Maderna etc) as the Messiaen. I wasn't aware of any of them. Modern music box sets sometimes don't appear in UK shops, but I'm surprised that I've never seen the Rickenbacher - his Koch Transfiguration used to be widely available.

Thank you for providing this mountain of info. Oh, my poor beleaguered credit card...  ;D
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Coco on April 29, 2011, 08:17:55 PM
C&P'ng here from the listening thread:

listened to: Petites Esquisses d'Oiseaux, Preludes, Quatre études de rythme (Yvonne Loriod, piano)

No great Messiaen fan, but the early Preludes (his first published works) are wonderfully sensual — they have as their ancestor both Debussy's fluid pianistic style and emphasis on the individual "sound image", and the elusive and shifting modality of Fauré's last pieces. The later études could be argued to be the progenitor of an entire school of composition — it's a shame that he didn't stay in this mode for long; nothing he did afterwards matches the intellectual density of these pieces.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 02, 2011, 01:20:06 PM
I have to admit that Messiaen isn't a composer I listen to very often, which a lot of it comes from his whole idiom. It just all sounds so random, mindless, and heartless to me that I can't find anything remotely interesting in the music to latch onto. He has to be given credit for his attention to color, which is very distinctive, but this isn't enough to hold my interest. He may be regarded as one of the greatest 20th Century composers, but this doesn't necessarily mean I have to agree with it.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Coco on May 02, 2011, 05:36:05 PM
I'm not the greatest fan either, but I think your limits are more self-prescribed than you think.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 02, 2011, 05:42:09 PM
I'm not the greatest fan either, but I think your limits are more self-prescribed than you think.

Well we all have our own likes/dislikes, but I just can't get anything out of his music. To my ears, there's nothing that drives his music. It all just seems to be in outer space. Even with a composer like Ligeti, I can hear his intentions as clearly as I can hear the music itself, but with Messiaen I get the impression he had this kid in a candy store mentality to composition which just turns me off.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 02, 2011, 05:44:03 PM
I'm not the greatest fan either, but I think your limits are more self-prescribed than you think.

I am finding I like his work less and less as his career progresses, his early stuff is the best.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Coco on May 02, 2011, 06:03:10 PM
I am finding I like his work less and less as his career progresses, his early stuff is the best.

Agreed. Vingt Regards, Visions de l'Amen, the Quatuor and the rhythmic études are all great. It's when his music degenerates into series of juxtaposed noisy chords and pretentiously hieratic plodding rhythms that I lose interest.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 02, 2011, 06:32:54 PM
Agreed. Vingt Regards, Visions de l'Amen, the Quatuor and the rhythmic études are all great. It's when his music degenerates into series of juxtaposed noisy chords and pretentiously hieratic plodding rhythms that I lose interest.

He really jumped the shark when he invented that system where each letter of the alphabet was represented by a certain note or phrase, so he could spell out bible verses in the music.  Just loopy.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Luke on May 03, 2011, 01:51:42 AM
...except that he doesn't use that system all that much, and when he does, it is to create passages of a craggy, unpredictable heiratic grandeur suitable to the text. I don't really have a problem with this, only one element of many in the mix.

I think that to accuse Messiaen, one of the most heart-on-sleeve composers I can think of, especially amongst his contemporaries, of lacking heart, as MI does, is not really comprehensible. There are few other such unabashed, gaudy, unashamed composers in the 20th century. Likewise to accuse him, of all composers, with his carefully devised and (this is so important!) always audible systems, of splurging random notes is very wide of the mark. There are composers to whom these criticisms might apply, but Messiaen is so markedly not one of them that I find it very odd when I read that sort of thing - like describing Brahms as too frivolous, or Boulez as too sentimental
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on May 03, 2011, 04:34:41 AM
Interesting that these posters refer to Messiaen as "loopy"; "kid in a candy store mentality to composition" or "series of juxtaposed noisy chords and pretentiously hieratic plodding rhythms" - while praising Albert Roussel and Charles Koechlin (both of whom I like) to the high heavens, says much more about these posters than Messiaen (one of the most important and masterful composers of the 20th century, and one whose reputation will remain intact despite silly comments by posters on GMG).

Well, harrumph. I don't much like Messiaen either. I find him often garish, vulgar, and long-winded, and Boulez's description of the Turangalila as "brothel music" seems to me spot on. (I've always said of the Vingt Regards that I would have been satisfied with Dix Regards, or even Deux.) I like some of his work like the Quatuor, the Trois Petites Liturgies, and the Des Canyons, but I rarely turn to this composer for enjoyment.

Then again, I'm not overly impressed by Koechlin either.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 03, 2011, 04:43:50 AM
Interesting that these posters refer to Messiaen as "loopy"; "kid in a candy store mentality to composition" or "series of juxtaposed noisy chords and pretentiously hieratic plodding rhythms" - while praising Albert Roussel and Charles Koechlin (both of whom I like) to the high heavens, says much more about these posters than Messiaen (one of the most important and masterful composers of the 20th century, and one whose reputation will remain intact despite silly comments by posters on GMG).

And what does it say, pray tell?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: springrite on May 03, 2011, 04:55:45 AM
.. what kind-of brothel is Boulez going to?

The kind that goes out of business.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 03, 2011, 05:48:44 AM
That you, and the other members of your anti-Messiaen cabal, apparently choose not to appreciate the difference between saying that you don't happen to care for a composer's music as opposed to making idiotic comments about his process for which you (collectively) demonstrate profound ignorance. 

None of which redounds to your credit, in my book (not that it matters to you, I'm sure).  But, of course, you are perfectly free to voice your opinion, by all means: proceed with confidence!

I hate to interfere with your righteous contempt, but I actually like a fair bit of Messiaen (mostly the earlier stuff, as I mentioned), and I don't recall saying anything terribly critical of him aside from the system of "communicable language" which I referred to above.  But still, useful to know you have contempt for me.   
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on May 03, 2011, 05:58:41 AM
.. what kind-of brothel is Boulez going to? christ what a moronic statement ..

Probably the same one Genet depicted in "Le Balcon." What kind do you go to?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on May 03, 2011, 06:02:02 AM
That you, and the other members of your anti-Messiaen cabal. . . .

Well, harrumph encore un fois! "Cabal!"

This reminds me of something Rosen wrote regarding Hans Pfitzner, when some writer made the accusation of a "conspiracy" to keep Pfitzner's music from being heard (paraphrasing from memory here): "What a splendid conspiracy that must be! One only wonders where one can sign up."
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Luke on May 03, 2011, 06:24:50 AM
Well, harrumph encore un fois! "Cabal!"

This reminds me of something Rosen wrote regarding Hans Pfitzner, when some writer made the accusation of a "conspiracy" to keep Pfitzner's music from being heard (paraphrasing from memory here): "What a splendid conspiracy that must be! One only wonders where one can sign up."

I've never seen evidence of an anti-Messiaen cabal, though, I'm happy to say. Speaking as someone who just plain simple enjoys Messiaen's music, someone who feels the intended Pavlovian responses and associations go off every time he does one of those uniquely Messiaen-y things he does so often, I have no problem at all with your own criticisms of Messiaen, written both here and in the past. He is gaudy, garish and vulgar, at times - the point of difference, I think, is that some think there is a place for that in music and some don't. The gaudiness, after all, only chimes precisely with his own descriptions of his faith and his music so in that sense he has acheived his goal, even if it's a goal you don't rate very highly. The problem I had was with MI's description of his music as 'random, mindless, and heartless' which doesn't ring at all true for music so carefully, thoughtfully and passionately written - I'd have thought that even those who find him distastefully vulgar would agree that there is heart and mind in the music.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: springrite on May 03, 2011, 06:25:39 AM
Well, harrumph encore un fois! "Cabal!"

This reminds me of something Rosen wrote regarding Hans Pfitzner, when some writer made the accusation of a "conspiracy" to keep Pfitzner's music from being heard (paraphrasing from memory here): "What a splendid conspiracy that must be! One only wonders where one can sign up."

There should be a poll for signing up. Add a few of the usual suspects (Reger, anyone?) and let it roll!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 03, 2011, 07:15:41 AM
Well, you asked so I told you.  But it is not contempt that I feel towards you, nothing that rises to that level.

Now, that's pure flattery.   ;D
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2011, 07:21:22 AM
...except that he doesn't use that system all that much, and when he does, it is to create passages of a craggy, unpredictable heiratic grandeur suitable to the text. I don't really have a problem with this, only one element of many in the mix.

I think that to accuse Messiaen, one of the most heart-on-sleeve composers I can think of, especially amongst his contemporaries, of lacking heart, as MI does, is not really comprehensible. There are few other such unabashed, gaudy, unashamed composers in the 20th century. Likewise to accuse him, of all composers, with his carefully devised and (this is so important!) always audible systems, of splurging random notes is very wide of the mark. There are composers to whom these criticisms might apply, but Messiaen is so markedly not one of them that I find it very odd when I read that sort of thing - like describing Brahms as too frivolous, or Boulez as too sentimental

I hear his music as noisy, outer space music with no real musical content. In fact, it's not even worth debating, because I won't change my mind about his music just like you probably won't change yours, so let's just agree to disagree. Sound good? Okay...
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Philoctetes on May 03, 2011, 07:25:08 AM
I hear his music as noisy, outer space music with no real musical content. In fact, it's not even worth debating, because I won't change my mind about his music just like you probably won't change yours, so let's just agree to disagree. Sound good? Okay...

No, that sounds narrow. What of his music have you heard? I'll admit that some of his music can seem 'free-floating', but I would say that his compositions draw from a much broader perspective than that (especially his organ works).
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on May 03, 2011, 07:37:29 AM
I hear his music as noisy, outer space music with no real musical content. In fact, it's not even worth debating, because I won't change my mind about his music just like you probably won't change yours . . . .

Which is precisely why it is worth debating, because one's individual perceptions may reflect a skewed view of reality that if challenged may lead to greater insight and growth as a listener. Meanwhile, Philoctetes, which of the organ works do you find most interesting?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Philoctetes on May 03, 2011, 07:41:38 AM
Which is precisely why it is worth debating, because one's individual perceptions may reflect a skewed view of reality that if challenged may lead to greater insight and growth as a listener. Meanwhile, Philoctetes, which of the organ works do you find most interesting?

Apparition de l Eglise Eternelle is my favorite organ work, period. It's a layered construction which is essentially one large culmination of a crescendo.

L Ascension and Messe de la Pentecote are also both fantastic.

But for me, and this shows a bias, you cannot go wrong with any of his organ compositions.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2011, 07:45:00 AM
No, that sounds narrow. What of his music have you heard? I'll admit that some of his music can seem 'free-floating', but I would say that his compositions draw from a much broader perspective than that (especially his organ works).

I haven't heard any of his chamber works or the works for solo instruments. I have heard the following orchestral works:

Turangalîla-Symphonie
L'ascension
Chronochromie
Éclairs sur l'au-delà…

Of these works I didn't find any of them inspiring, worth hearing again, or even remotely interesting. Like I said, outer space music with no drive or emotional/intellectual appeal to me whatsoever.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: DavidW on May 03, 2011, 07:45:16 AM
Philo I've heard it said that Messiaen's organ works are supposedly on par with the master, Bach.  Do you agree or do you think there is a bit of hyperbole there?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 03, 2011, 07:47:10 AM
Philo I've heard it said that Messiaen's organ works are supposedly on par with the master, Bach.  Do you agree or do you think there is a bit of hyperbole there?

ROTFLOL
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Philoctetes on May 03, 2011, 07:48:50 AM
I haven't heard any of his chamber works or the works for solo instruments. I have heard the following orchestral works:

Turangalîla-Symphonie
L'ascension
Chronochromie
Éclairs sur l'au-delà…

Of these works I didn't find any of them inspiring, worth hearing again, or even remotely interesting. Like I said, outer space music with no drive or emotional/intellectual appeal to me whatsoever.

I'll agree that I don't particularly find his orchestral works all that intriguing, but as I've mentioned his organ works are utterly fantastic, as are all of the solo works that I've heard. And his chamber works are all deftly handled. 

Philo I've heard it said that Messiaen's organ works are supposedly on par with the master, Bach.  Do you agree or do you think there is a bit of hyperbole there?

I personally find them more compelling, but they come very different traditions. I feel that Bach's compositions are cleaner, but I think that Messiaen holds the edge when it comes to harmonies.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Philoctetes on May 03, 2011, 07:49:32 AM
ROTFLOL

Just avoid Scarpia's skepticism.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2011, 07:51:35 AM
Which is precisely why it is worth debating, because one's individual perceptions may reflect a skewed view of reality that if challenged may lead to greater insight and growth as a listener.

Well you can debate by yourself. You will be doing this anyway, because I already told you that I don't care for his music, but if you're so hellbent on changing my opinion, therefore trying to prove Messiaen's worth to me, then by all means go right ahead. All I said I don't care for his music and people here act like it's the end of the world. Get over it. It's just one man's opinion. People have tried to get me into his music and have failed because I don't hear anything great about it. Like I said, it's outer space music with no rhyme or reason, it's just an endless series of random notes that make no logical sense to me.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 03, 2011, 07:54:16 AM
Just avoid Scarpia's skepticism.

I'm not denying that some of it is good, but a comparison to Bach strikes me as absurd. 
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Philoctetes on May 03, 2011, 07:55:40 AM
Well you can debate by yourself. You will be doing this anyway, because I already told you that I don't care for his music, but if you're so hellbent on changing my opinion, therefore trying to prove Messiaen's worth to me, then by all means go right ahead. All I said I don't care for his music and people here act like it's the end of the world. Get over it. It's just one man's opinion. People have tried to get me into his music and have failed because I don't hear anything great about it. Like I said, it's outer space music with no rhyme or reason, it's just an endless series of random notes that make no logical sense to me.

I honestly refuse to believe that you're this blind.

You've barely listened to any of his music, and you're 'insight' are clearly misguided by this lack of listening.

I don't care if you don't find it great, but you should definitely have better information.

I have an insane amount of problems with Mozart, but the problem with lies only with me, and I make efforts to try and understand it, and know that one day I'll find something that will make it click.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Philoctetes on May 03, 2011, 07:56:03 AM
I'm not denying that some of it is good, but a comparison to Bach strikes me as absurd.

And I don't find it absurd at all.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Coco on May 03, 2011, 07:56:33 AM
MI you are rather dogged in your need to confrontationally posit your reactionary responses to music that other people enjoy. What's up?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on May 03, 2011, 08:01:58 AM
Well you can debate by yourself. You will be doing this anyway, because I already told you that I don't care for his music, but if you're so hellbent on changing my opinion, therefore trying to prove Messiaen's worth to me, then by all means go right ahead. All I said I don't care for his music and people here act like it's the end of the world. Get over it. It's just one man's opinion. People have tried to get me into his music and have failed because I don't hear anything great about it. Like I said, it's outer space music with no rhyme or reason, it's just an endless series of random notes that make no logical sense to me.

Look, I don't really care what the hell you do. But it's a helluva lot of fun at times pushing your buttons, and your intransigence and close-mindedness impress only yourself. Speaking as someone who dislikes a big technicolor production like Turangalila, but who does find the Quartet for the End of Time very beautiful and moving, I think your "opinion" of work you haven't heard and refuse to hear has no merit whatever. But do what you like; as a student I flunked in a freshman English course once said to me, "it don't bother me none."
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on May 03, 2011, 08:03:42 AM
I have an insane amount of problems with Mozart, but the problem with lies only with me, and I make efforts to try and understand it, and know that one day I'll find something that will make it click.

Good for you, Kevin. That's what I am willing to hear what you have to say about Messiaen. And I promise you that what you are not hearing in Mozart now is truly there, because too many listeners who care deeply about this music have found it.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Philoctetes on May 03, 2011, 08:05:10 AM
Good for you, Kevin. That's what I am willing to hear what you have to say about Messiaen. And I promise you that what you are not hearing in Mozart now is truly there, because too many listeners who care deeply about this music have found it.

I have no doubt. I'm sure it will come in time, and finding the right work/works.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2011, 08:05:42 AM
MI you are rather dogged in your need to confrontationally posit your reactionary responses to music that other people enjoy. What's up?

I just find it funny that when somebody comes along with a negative opinion about a composer that somebody else enjoys that it's like some kind of forbidden taboo to say anything about them. This kind of attitude is exactly what is wrong with classical music listeners in general. I'm not saying that I'm not guilty of it as well, but this is something I'm working on. Everybody has a right to their opinion whether you understand that opinion or not. Yes, I haven't heard enough of Messiaen's music, but of what I did hear, I'm not interested in pursuing anything else. He's turned me off. It's not about effort as Philo asserts, it's about a connection with the music. I do not feel anything other than repulsed when I hear Messiaen. If my opinion bothers you, then perhaps you should work on becoming more accepting of other's opinions? I mean this goes for everybody, including myself. Like haydnguy said in one of his posts, nobody needs the "Classical Police" patrolling the board where you'll get a "ticket" for not liking somebody everybody else likes.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 03, 2011, 08:06:36 AM
And I don't find it absurd at all.

Really.  My lack of enthusiasm with Messiaen's organ music mainly comes from Livre Du Saint-Sacrement.  Is there something you would suggest from Messiaen's organ works for someone who doesn't like Livre Du Saint-Sacrement?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Philoctetes on May 03, 2011, 08:07:36 AM
I just find it funny that when somebody comes along with a negative opinion about a composer that somebody else enjoys that it's like some kind of forbidden taboo to say anything about them. This kind of attitude is exactly what is wrong with classical music listeners in general. I'm not saying that I'm not guilty of it as well, but this is something I'm working on. Everybody has a right to their opinion whether you understand that opinion or not. Yes, I haven't heard enough of Messiaen's music, but of what I did hear, I'm not interested in pursuing anything else. He's turned me off. It's not about effort as Philo asserts, it's about a connection with the music. I do not feel anything other than repulsed when I hear Messiaen. If my opinion bothers you, then perhaps you should work on becoming more accepting of other's opinions? I mean this goes for everybody, including myself. Like haydnguy said in one of his posts, nobody needs the "Classical Police" patrolling the board where you'll get a "ticket" for not liking somebody everybody else likes.

Again, you're clearly not that blind. You even mentioned that main problem with your posts.

You've barely heard anything, and what you did hear was from a very narrow field. If you desire, I can send you some of his organ works, as I feel that is where he shines the most.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 03, 2011, 08:08:12 AM
I have no doubt. I'm sure it will come in time, and finding the right work/works.

Have you listened to the Mozart String Quintets?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2011, 08:09:10 AM
Look, I don't really care what the hell you do. But it's a helluva lot of fun at times pushing your buttons, and your intransigence and close-mindedness impress only yourself. Speaking as someone who dislikes a big technicolor production like Turangalila, but who does find the Quartet for the End of Time very beautiful and moving, I think your "opinion" of work you haven't heard and refuse to hear has no merit whatever. But do what you like; as a student I flunked in a freshman English course once said to me, "it don't bother me none."

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." - Gone with the Wind.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Philoctetes on May 03, 2011, 08:09:44 AM
Have you listened to the Mozart String Quintets?

Not yet, I'm making my way through things. Currently, I'm on his symphonies and string quartets. (I'll admit that I do like his operas and his choral works)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2011, 08:10:40 AM
Again, you're clearly not that blind. You even mentioned that main problem with your posts.

You've barely heard anything, and what you did hear was from a very narrow field. If you desire, I can send you some of his organ works, as I feel that is where he shines the most.

Thanks Philo, but I don't want to hear any solo organ. I don't even like the organ.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Philoctetes on May 03, 2011, 08:11:28 AM
Thanks Philo, but I don't want to hear any solo organ. I don't even like the organ.

That statement doesn't even make sense.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2011, 08:12:45 AM
That statement doesn't even make sense.

What that I don't like the organ? I thought I made that pretty clear.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Coco on May 03, 2011, 08:13:26 AM
I just find it funny that when somebody comes along with a negative opinion about a composer that somebody else enjoys that it's like some kind of forbidden taboo to say anything about them. This kind of attitude is exactly what is wrong with classical music listeners in general. I'm not saying that I'm not guilty of it as well, but this is something I'm working on. Everybody has a right to their opinion whether you understand that opinion or not. Yes, I haven't heard enough of Messiaen's music, but of what I did hear, I'm not interested in pursuing anything else. He's turned me off. It's not about effort as Philo asserts, it's about a connection with the music. I do not feel anything other than repulsed when I hear Messiaen. If my opinion bothers you, then perhaps you should work on becoming more accepting of other's opinions? I mean this goes for everybody, including myself. Like haydnguy said in one of his posts, nobody needs the "Classical Police" patrolling the board where you'll get a "ticket" for not liking somebody everybody else likes.

I have my problems with Messiaen's music as I posted earlier. That said, I don't feel that any disagreement with my assessment is a personal slight against me. I also fully admit that my opinion could change. It's already changed on Messiaen — going from not liking it at all to liking quite a few of his works.

You seem to be offended by the mere suggestion that you have room to grow as a listener.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2011, 08:15:09 AM
You seem to be offended by the mere suggestion that you have room to grow as a listener.

No, I'm not offended, just surprised that people can't accept other people's opinions.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 03, 2011, 08:15:29 AM
Not yet, I'm making my way through things. Currently, I'm on his symphonies and string quartets. (I'll admit that I do like his operas and his choral works)

Don't get bogged down in the symphonies.  I'd suggest the two wind serenades, KV375 and KV388.  He never wrote anything to top those, in my view.  And the Quintet in D, KV593
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on May 03, 2011, 08:16:13 AM
I'm not saying that I'm not guilty of it as well, but this is something I'm working on.

When you show some sign of progress, would you let us know?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2011, 08:16:57 AM
When you show some sign of progress, would you let us know?

Would you let me know your progress as well?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Philoctetes on May 03, 2011, 08:17:10 AM
Don't get bogged down in the symphonies.  I'd suggest the two wind serenades, KV375 and KV388.  He never wrote anything to top those, in my view.  And the Quintet in D, KV593
T
I won't get bogged down. I only have two more on my list. I'll get to those next. Thanks.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on May 03, 2011, 08:19:03 AM
Would you let me know your progress as well?

In what respect? I'll bet you anything I've heard and studied a great deal more music than you have, and that includes most of the composers on your fan list. I don't regard you as an equal.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Coco on May 03, 2011, 08:20:41 AM
Don't get bogged down in the symphonies.  I'd suggest the two wind serenades, KV375 and KV388.  He never wrote anything to top those, in my view.  And the Quintet in D, KV593


I should do the same with Mozart — all I really know are the last five symphonies, the clarinet quintet and the Requiem.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2011, 08:21:02 AM
In what respect? I'll bet you anything I've heard and studied a great deal more music than you have, and that includes most of the composers on your fan list. I don't regard you as an equal.

Ah, we're onto personal insults now huh? A nice, mature thing to do.

You don't regard me as an equal? Ah that's so terrible, I'm just going to go cry myself to sleep. ::)

All of this mayhem because I actually said I don't like Messiaen's music.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: DavidW on May 03, 2011, 08:26:11 AM
Have you listened to the Mozart String Quintets?

That is a good suggestion, those are easily my favorite chamber works of Mozart.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 03, 2011, 08:27:09 AM
I should do the same with Mozart — all I really know are the last five symphonies, the clarinet quintet and the Requiem.

The wind music is miraculous because of how much Mozart creates with limited means and in a limited form.  Actually, the Trios for three clarinets are unbelievable.   They were prepared by Mozart to be played at various Masonic functions, and are astonishing for their invention with only three voices.  Hard to find recordings of them, but this one is hard to top:

http://www.amazon.com/Sabine-Meyer-Mozart-Chamber-Clarinet/dp/B000LDM95K/ref=sr_1_28?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1304443471&sr=1-28

(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/c2/bc/3f001363ada01a55e595f010.L._AA300_.jpg)

There are other recordings, but for me it is critical that all three parts are played by clarinets and/or basset horns.  I've seen recordings in which oboes and bassoons are used, which just don't do it justice.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on May 03, 2011, 08:27:16 AM
Ah, we're onto personal insults now huh? A nice, mature thing to do.

You don't regard me as an equal? Ah that's so terrible, I'm just going to go cry myself to sleep. ::)

All of this mayhem because I actually said I don't like Messiaen's music.

As always with you, Mirror Image, pot-kettle-black. This "mayhem" is not about Messiaen's music.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Philoctetes on May 03, 2011, 08:33:08 AM
Usually these threads are set up, kind of like a party, where people who mutually admire a composer enjoy sharing which works and recordings they especially like  - but some people enjoy depositing a turd in the punch bowl.

"Discretion is the better part of valor" - and sometimes it is best to keep your opinion to yourself if all it serves to do is deflate the general mood surrounding a discussion among aficionados of a composer.

This post doesn't make any sense either. Plenty of people have made legitimate complaints about Messiaen. The only objections I've seen are in regards to people who write off by simply sampling.

Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2011, 08:34:24 AM
Usually these threads are set up, kind of like a party, where people who mutually admire a composer enjoy sharing which works and recordings they especially like  - but some people enjoy depositing a turd in the punch bowl.

"Discretion is the better part of valor" - and sometimes it is best to keep your opinion to yourself if all it serves to do is deflate the general mood surrounding a discussion among aficionados of a composer.

So somebody isn't allowed to give their opinion? This is the Messiaen thread correct?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: mjwal on May 03, 2011, 08:35:05 AM
Look, I don't really care what the hell you do. But it's a helluva lot of fun at times pushing your buttons, and your intransigence and close-mindedness impress only yourself. Speaking as someone who dislikes a big technicolor production like Turangalila, but who does find the Quartet for the End of Time very beautiful and moving, I think your "opinion" of work you haven't heard and refuse to hear has no merit whatever. But do what you like; as a student I flunked in a freshman English course once said to me, "it don't bother me none."
Hahaha, love it, that's very funny, the best joke I've seen all week. I shall adopt that saying as a motto, if I may. Me, I love Turangalila, Quatuor pour la fin du temps, 3 petites liturgies, Visions de l'amen, Des canyons aux étoiles & a few others, but I have difficulty relating to organ music in general so I haven't been there much. I can see that some people might find it hard to relate to his music in general, though. The Quatuor in particular sends me to a very special place. I saw Messiaen once - it was at a concert in Frankfurt in which they played the 6th scene from his St Francis opera - what a delightful old man he was, you could tell how loving he was, probably quite OTL (in a wonderful way) as well  8).
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2011, 08:36:43 AM
As always with you, Mirror Image, pot-kettle-black. This "mayhem" is not about Messiaen's music.

I've sent you a PM.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Coco on May 03, 2011, 08:38:27 AM
The wind music is miraculous because of how much Mozart creates with limited means and in a limited form.  Actually, the Trios for three clarinets are unbelievable.   They were prepared by Mozart to be played at various Masonic functions, and are astonishing for their invention with only three voices.  Hard to find recordings of them, but this one is hard to top:

http://www.amazon.com/Sabine-Meyer-Mozart-Chamber-Clarinet/dp/B000LDM95K/ref=sr_1_28?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1304443471&sr=1-28

(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/c2/bc/3f001363ada01a55e595f010.L._AA300_.jpg)

There are other recordings, but for me it is critical that all three parts are played by clarinets and/or basset horns.  I've seen recordings in which oboes and bassoons are used, which just don't do it justice.

I've responded on the Mozart (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,46.msg511441.html#msg511441) thread.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Philoctetes on May 03, 2011, 08:48:15 AM
Of course you can offer your opinion of Messiaen's music.  But if all your opinion amounts to is insulting the man and the music I hardly see what it adds to the discussion. 

However, if you were able to temper your remarks with a bit of acknowledgement of his accomplishments and then offer that you have never been able to truly enjoy his music despite listening to several works - that would seem a more tactful way of going about it.

It also helps if you might try to keep an open mind and at least appear to want to broaden your appreciation of his music since it is widely admired, and maybe even admit that the limitation is yours and not in the music - then this would constitute the basis for a worthwhile discussion, imo.

Otherwise, it is as I said before merely dropping a turd in the punchbowl.

It also might help if you listen to more than a handful of works, and if in that handful of works they cover more than one genre.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Gurn Blanston on May 03, 2011, 09:00:52 AM
So somebody isn't allowed to give their opinion? This is the Messiaen thread correct?

Well, if you can somehow see a good value-added in saying you don't like the music, and feel like this is going to enhance everyone else's experience, then sure, be as negative as you feel you have to be. That is how to make friends and influence people. I know that's not why you're here, of course, but it is useful sometimes to not have 90% of the people on the board thinking that you're an asshole. Then your experience is actually enhanced to some extent.

Anyway, there are plenty of composers that I don't care for. If I went around and shat on every discussion about them, well, life is too short.

8)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2011, 09:34:20 AM
Well, if you can somehow see a good value-added in saying you don't like the music, and feel like this is going to enhance everyone else's experience, then sure, be as negative as you feel you have to be. That is how to make friends and influence people. I know that's not why you're here, of course, but it is useful sometimes to not have 90% of the people on the board thinking that you're an asshole. Then your experience is actually enhanced to some extent.

Anyway, there are plenty of composers that I don't care for. If I went around and shat on every discussion about them, well, life is too short.

8)

I offered a different perspective, people got offended, I'm now the bad guy. That's pretty much the sequence of events. This is a forum, Gurn. Forums strive on different perspectives, otherwise, all you have is a bunch of people agreeing with each other. I'm sorry, but that's not a forum I want to be apart of.

Accepting other people's opinions has been a hard thing for me to do especially if it's a composer I'm passionate about, but, in the end, people need to exhibit more patience with those that don't understand their beloved composer's music. I admit I don't understand Messiaen, but I also admitted that his idiom isn't appealing to me. The minute I criticized the man's music, I'm suddenly made into some kind of villain. This shouldn't be the case at all. I didn't jump all over people because they don't like Milhaud's music. I can understand why people wouldn't like his music, which means that I accept that there many quirks in the man's music that simply are off-putting, but it resonates with me just like Messiaen's music resonates with many people here. I accept that people do not like Milhaud, but it seems people can't accept that I do not like Messiaen. Strange turn of events indeed.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 03, 2011, 09:45:21 AM
What got peoples back up was stating the music was objectively worthless, rather than saying you did not enjoy or appreciate it, and implicitly criticizing music you had not heard.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2011, 09:49:50 AM
What got peoples back up was stating the music was objectively worthless, rather than saying you did not enjoy or appreciate it, and implicitly criticizing music you had not heard.

Okay perhaps my judgement was a bit harsh. :) I now will say that I just don't care for his music and here are the reasons why. I do recall you making some negative remarks as well, which seemed pretty unnecessary. Didn't you insult the man by calling him loopy? I never insulted the man, I insulted the music, which I had every right to do.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 03, 2011, 09:57:59 AM
Okay perhaps my judgement was a bit harsh. :) I now will say that I just don't care for his music and here are the reasons why. I do recall you making some negative remarks as well, which seemed pretty unnecessary. Didn't you insult the man by calling him loopy? I never insulted the man, I insulted the music, which I had every right to do.

I said his technique of encoding text in his music using a code of his own invention was loopy.  I still think it's loopy.   
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Cato on May 03, 2011, 10:20:33 AM
Not long after Messiaen had composed Chronochromie, I came across the score (!) at a library in Dayton, and was fascinated, and not a little appalled, by what I saw, not unlike the reaction of a resurrected painter from the 16th century watching a 20th-century "drip" painter in action.

Still, I was intrigued enough to seek out a recording and follow along with the score.  I had no idea why most of the score was written in 32nd notes, but discovered that Messiaen had come up with a system of "32 durations" etc. etc.  (As I recall, the infamous section with 18 assorted voices playing  bird-calls is not written with a time signature of 32nds.)

So, no I was not impressed, and even though for various educational reasons I invested in the DGG CD of this work with Boulez and the Cleveland Orchestra, and have listened to it throughout the decades, I do not think it is a great work.  I believe it is an example of a man with great talent going rather willfully awry.

But, what is he trying to do in this work?  He wanted to depict mountains, and water, and birds, in a sort of "panaudic" riot of freedom.  In that I would say he was successful, in the same way that e.g. Mondrian was successful in his goals.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2011, 10:42:00 AM
I believe it is an example of a man with great talent going rather willfully awry.

I think it should be noted I never doubted Messiaen's talents and abilities as a musician. All I did was comment on the music that I heard, which seems to be one of the most dreadful things anybody could do on a forum. God forbid I share my thoughts! ::)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Coco on May 03, 2011, 10:51:37 AM
I don't think Cato was addressing you.

God forbid I share my thoughts! ::)

I doubt even a deity could stop you from doing that.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Cato on May 03, 2011, 11:12:18 AM
I don't think Cato was addressing you.


True!  Please note the context: that is my opinion of Messiaen's impulse to create Chronochromie.   0:)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Gurn Blanston on May 03, 2011, 11:22:19 AM
I think it should be noted I never doubted Messiaen's talents and abilities as a musician. All I did was comment on the music that I heard, which seems to be one of the most dreadful things anybody could do on a forum. God forbid I share my thoughts! ::)

You aren't going to go all passive/aggressive on me now, are you? If you have something to say about the music then say it. I listened to X and it didn't suit me because... is often a much appreciated opener even by people who it DOES suit. At least it is a basis for discussion beyond "Messiaen sucks :P " :)

8)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: karlhenning on May 03, 2011, 11:23:15 AM
An intelligent, thoughtful, and musical response.  And after all, Cato, it isn't as if you suggested that Messiaen's star is fading ; )
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Philoctetes on May 03, 2011, 11:30:47 AM
I think it should be noted I never doubted Messiaen's talents and abilities as a musician. All I did was comment on the music that I heard, which seems to be one of the most dreadful things anybody could do on a forum. God forbid I share my thoughts! ::)

I'm now convinced that you're PaulB.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Coco on May 03, 2011, 11:32:24 AM
As an aside, Messiaen's valuable influence as a teacher for countless composers of the generation after his probably shouldn't be understated.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: DavidW on May 03, 2011, 11:37:35 AM
Who did Messiaen teach and influence?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Philoctetes on May 03, 2011, 11:38:52 AM
Who did Messiaen teach and influence?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_students_of_Olivier_Messiaen
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2011, 02:16:21 PM
Give it a rest will ya. If the music doesn't speak to someone it doesn't mean that they don't care about music on a deep level. That's a really dumb conclusion to instantly jump to.

He'll never give it a rest. He has constantly mocked my own opinion on numerous occasions, which, to my estimate, lies a larger problem deep in his psyche. He simply cannot stand to hear somebody bad mouth a composer he likes and if they do they are somehow "wrong" for feeling the way they do. He goes around with some sort of superiority complex and makes remarks that he's studied and heard more music that I have, which, honestly, doesn't make any sense and had nothing to do with the conversation at hand, which was about Messiaen. I really don't care what he's studied or what he's heard. That's totally irrelevant to me.

Music isn't a popularity contest folks. If I don't enjoy the music, then I move onto a composer's music whom I do enjoy. It's as simple as that.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Philoctetes on May 03, 2011, 02:56:45 PM
Give it a rest will ya. If the music doesn't speak to someone it doesn't mean that they don't care about music on a deep level. That's a really dumb conclusion to instantly jump to.

I don't think he jumped to that conclusion.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Philoctetes on May 03, 2011, 02:57:21 PM
He'll never give it a rest. He has constantly mocked my own opinion on numerous occasions, which, to my estimate, lies a larger problem deep in his psyche. He simply cannot stand to hear somebody bad mouth a composer he likes and if they do they are somehow "wrong" for feeling the way they do. He goes around with some sort of superiority complex and makes remarks that he's studied and heard more music that I have, which, honestly, doesn't make any sense and had nothing to do with the conversation at hand, which was about Messiaen. I really don't care what he's studied or what he's heard. That's totally irrelevant to me.

Music isn't a popularity contest folks. If I don't enjoy the music, then I move onto a composer's music whom I do enjoy. It's as simple as that.

And you need to come back to reality.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 03, 2011, 03:32:11 PM
If only it weren't for that Ondes Martenot.   :(
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Coco on May 03, 2011, 03:36:28 PM
I like the Ondes! I have other problems with Turangalîla (the length, the Disney-esque orchestration). However, it has been a few years since I gave it a fair listen.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2011, 03:40:29 PM
I like the Ondes!

Especially the way Koechlin used it in Le Docteur Fabricius. He used it in a textural way.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on May 03, 2011, 06:37:17 PM
He'll never give it a rest. He has constantly mocked my own opinion on numerous occasions, which, to my estimate, lies a larger problem deep in his psyche. He simply cannot stand to hear somebody bad mouth a composer he likes and if they do they are somehow "wrong" for feeling the way they do. He goes around with some sort of superiority complex and makes remarks that he's studied and heard more music that I have, which, honestly, doesn't make any sense and had nothing to do with the conversation at hand, which was about Messiaen. I really don't care what he's studied or what he's heard. That's totally irrelevant to me.

I have posted on classical music forums for well over a dozen years, and have made many friends here. I will leave it to others to decide whether I have any kind of "superiority complex," if I "simply cannot stand to hear somebody bad mouth a composer I like," or if there is any "problem deep in my psyche." Anyone who wishes can search my posts here to see how I have interacted with Mirror Image and the rest of the forum. I won't deny I have roughed MI up on occasion, but judge for yourself (from the selected excerpts below) if I have done nothing but "constantly mock him":


Quote
Quote from: Mirror Image on April 01, 2011, 07:02:21 PM
Yes, I can be incredibly blunt sometimes, but I often do apologize to those I have wronged.

Sfz: Then you're not a troll. Trolls never apologize to anyone for anything.

Quote
Quote from: Mirror Image on April 18, 2011, 07:00:01 PM
I have heard his Orchestral Suites and the Brandenburg Concertos. I have also heard his Violin Concertos, which were actually quite nice. I mean I shouldn't be so hard on J.S. Bach, but my goodness his music just bores me to tears. Since I'm an orchestral fan, do you know of any recordings that put some life into this music?

Sfz: Without knowing what performances of the suites and concertos you already have, I can’t do much to suggest other performances to you. I can’t say the four orchestral suites are my favorite Bach, either, and neither are the solo cello suites, but if lyricism is your thing, I can’t think of anything more highly lyrical than the slow movement of the Bach Double Concerto in D minor for two violins. I think my preferred Brandenburgs are by Tafelmusik, but there’s a big thread on Bach orchestral music on one of the other subforums if you want more possibilities.

Quote
Quote from: Mirror Image on January 05, 2011, 07:14:34 PM
I don't like Mozart, but you don't see me jumping all over someone for liking him. That's the point I'm making here. There's no need in it. I can't change what somebody likes/dislikes. We all can simply agree to disagree and move on from there.

Sfz: I wasn't thinking primarily of you. The person I mainly thought of (now deceased) made a virtual career of Mozart-bashing on this forum.


Quote
Quote from: Mirror Image on April 19, 2011, 07:40:25 PM
I don't think it's that I'm purposely trying to dislike composers like Boulez, Stockhausen, Xenakis, Nono, Carter. There are no lyrical moments, which even Berg and Schoenberg has these moments in their music. It's just a wash of loud, clashing dissonance.

Sfz: I don't think this is an accurate description of Boulez, to start. There's considerable delicacy and even lyricism in much of Boulez.

Quote
Quote from: Mirror Image on April 22, 2011, 07:50:53 PM
Well there are only a few operas I enjoy: both of Berg's, Ravel's L'Enfant et les sortileges, and Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle. I'm still "discovering" Janacek's operas, so this is a work still in progress. This said, all of these composers have composed amazingly well in other genres, especially orchestral which is what I mainly listen to.

Sfz: That is undoubtedly true. I can see, for example, admiring Debussy without taking an interest in Pelleas, or Ligeti while ignoring Le Grand Macabre. It becomes harder to claim an interest in Berg or Janacek without wanting to know their operas, as in both cases opera is central to these composers' careers.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2011, 07:10:13 PM
I won't deny I have roughed MI up on occasion.

And I won't deny that you haven't either. ;)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on May 03, 2011, 08:52:28 PM
ET EXSPECTO RESURRECTIONEM MORTUORUM
Written to commenorate the dead of two world wars, Messiaen's Et Exspecto Resurrectionem Mortuorum (And I await the Resurrection of the Dead) was commissioned in 1964 by the writer Andre Malraux in his capacity as Minister of Culture. Written for wind, brass and percussion, it was "conceived", as he put it, "to be played in a church, taking resonance for granted, also the ambience and even the echoing of sounds ... I even wanted it to be played in the open air and on a mountain height." This, then, is one of Messiaen's most monumental works: its five sections, each headed by a biblical quotation, move gradually from state of despair to one of joyous exultation by way of a range of extraordinary rich and varied sonorities. There's an overriding feeling of mystery to this work with its dynamic bursts of sound and silence being applied in abstract blocks or delicate touches of colour. The fourth-section climax alternates the sombre plain-song of the brass with the animated chirruping of the woodwind, the latter representing the song of the Calandra lark - a symbol of heavenly joy for the composer.


Boulez's second recording of this work is more meditative and spirtual than his earlier version. There's a fantastic spatial dimension in evidence and some beautifully controlled brass playing from the Cleveland Orchestra.


For those seeking a cheaper alternative, go for this 1966 recording, supervised by Messiaen himself; Sony's subsequent digital remastering has made what was already a fine performance sound even better.

I was YouTubin Messiaen today. Et Expecto might be my fav. The Celestial City piece, also,... that piece is very spiky/spritely,...cheery, in an avant way.

I try to make headway in those couple of really huge canvases (the Canyons piece, and isn't their a Jesus piece for orchestra that goes to 2 cds?), but to no avail. I always hit one of those endless slow mvmts.

I'll revisit Turangalila. Problem is, I sold my Messiaen Collection many years ago,... why?? ??? Such a bother to get it all again.

Sometimes I think, that, if Xenakis were a stereo recording, Messiaen would be contained in one of the speakers (meaning, there's be just as much going on, in contrast, in the other speaker).
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Luke on May 04, 2011, 02:16:39 AM
That Roger Muraro DVD of the Vingt Regards is just incredible. Not sure which one you've linked to there, James, I've no time to look now, but the one which really makes me reel is the recording of that stupendously difficult (well-nigh impossible) fugue, Par Lui tout a ete fait. The total, blazing mind body and soul conviction of the pianist here has to be seen to be believed. Anyone who thinks Messiaen is a cold, calculating composer of random, passionless noise will struggle to think that once they've seen that!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Luke on May 04, 2011, 02:17:49 AM
Couldn't resist checking - that is the one you linked to: nice choice!



edit - and couldn't resist peeking ahead (seeing as I have to get off the computer NOW) to the peak of the awesome crescendo and the voice of God, where it appears through the flames, at 5.52. Awesome playing.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Luke on May 05, 2011, 02:53:26 AM
SAINT FRANCOIS D'ASSISE
...
Messiaen completed his one and only opera in 1983 when he was seventy-six years old and - as far as most commentators were aware - completely indifferent to the genre...

Not exactly - it's an oft-repeated fact of his life that an early acquaintance with Pelleas et Melisande was a transformative experience for him. Just check wiki, and indeed:

Quote
He continued music lessons; one of his teachers, Jehan de Gibon, gave him a score of Debussy's opera Pelléas et Mélisande, which Messiaen described as "a thunderbolt" and "probably the most decisive influence on me".

St Francois is probably the most expensive score I have ever seen for sale - each individual scene retails separately for well in excess of £200, or did when I last checked. Apart from La Transfiguration, it's the one major Messiaen orchestral score I don't own. Can't imagine why...  ;D

Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Luke on May 05, 2011, 03:21:22 AM
Yes, it wasn't a genre which, per se, seemed to have grabbed him very much, but when a particular example of it did, in those formative days, it was clearly a powerful influence. Pink Harp would be so pleased...
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Luke on May 05, 2011, 03:46:35 AM
He also used examples from opera a great deal in his analysis class, so he obviously knew it intimately, at least certain pieces. In the end, though, if you are teaching e.g. harmony, harmony is harmony is harmony, and it doesn't matter if your example comes from opera or wherever else. I agree that he didn't seem to show much interest in exploring the genre himself. But I do like to read about Messiaen's deep knowledge of other music - his own language is so complete and self-sufficient that (like e.g. Scriabin) it often seems as if he is entirely set-aside from all other music. And of course that isn't true, as reading about his early influences and his work as a teacher shows us.

http://issuu.com/ensemblecb3/docs/theinfluenceofmessiaen

the above link is to an online book detailing a lot about these issues, with a full description of Messiaen's own early musical life and influences and a number of recollections of him as a teacher. For instance (to return to what we were talking about) it describes Pelleas, for example, as 'the most important work for Messiaen, both in his teaching and in his own composition, and contains George Benjamin's recollection that Messiaen would devote 6 weeks of study to it. All this tends to suggest that P+M wasn't just an important piece for Messiaen, it was the important piece. Interesting, to me anyway...

another great page

http://symposium.music.org/SupportingFiles/ArticlesVol40/Benitez.html

with examples of Messiaen teaching (again, a deep analysis of a section of Pelleas is here, and references to analyses of Tristan, Gotterdammerung, Don Giovanni, Orfeo, Boris Godunov...). It's all fascinating stuff, I'm going to read it in depth when I get home!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on May 05, 2011, 05:39:34 AM
I have to admit that of all Messiaen's works, none seems as indigestible to me as St. Francis, and therefore I don't particularly care what the score costs. I have the Nagano recording, because I found it for cheap at Academy in NY some years ago, but whenever I've dipped into it I've always found it very static and frankly rather dull. On my last trip to Paris in 2004, it was being mounted at the Bastille and I thought of going, but since it started at 5 pm and seemed likely to last till midnight, I demurred.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Luke on May 05, 2011, 08:43:51 AM
Stockhausen like most composers is totally guilty as well. Again, thank god for recordings.

I'm not sure 'most composers' are guilty of these 'bloated' behemoths! St Francois is one, for sure, granted, as are the Licht operas, the Ring and many other sprawling, late Romantic, too-obvious-to-name works. But it's not something most composers have done!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Coco on May 05, 2011, 09:06:37 AM
As much of a Messiaen skeptic as I am, I'd still love the opportunity to catch Saint François live.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Brewski on May 05, 2011, 09:14:19 AM
As much of a Messiaen skeptic as I am, I'd still love the opportunity to catch Saint François live.

I still lament that New York City Opera was planning to stage it - and at the vast, airplane hangar-sized Park Avenue Armory (old photo below) - until Gerard Mortier abruptly left the company. But I hope the new director, George Steel, will consider it. The company's financial state is apparently a bit precarious at the moment, but I'm rooting for them to recover.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on May 05, 2011, 09:30:17 AM
I am not a Messiaen skeptic and would also love to attend a performance. 

The effect of this kind of mammoth work depends on hearing it uninterrupted, in a theatrical setting - and to totally enter the composer's world for how many hours it lasts.  Until you have done this I do not think one can truthfully claim to have experienced the work.

So I haven't experienced it. Boo-hoo. Life is too short.

Quote
The new administration at Paris’s national opera company strove mightily to ensure that Olivier Messiaen’s lengthy meditation on the life of St Francis would be the event of this unfolding season. Considerable prestige was involved for both the French house and the Belgian impresario who has literally stamped his name on the company’s public identity (its logo now reads ‘Opéra national de Paris direction Gérard Mortier’). The work was commissioned for this company in 1983 and composed by a veritable national treasure. Its title role was created by the renowned baritone who reprised it in this third Paris production, Mortier’s countryman José Van Dam. In the pit with the enormous orchestra was another longtime Mortier collaborator, Sylvain Cambreling, a veteran of the 1992 revival and one of seven, count ’em, ‘permanent conductors’ named by Mortier earlier this year.

Working against Saint François’s bid for hitdom were its length (nigh on six hours in this new production, counting two unnecessarily long breaks) and the acquired-taste status of much Messiaen, even in France, combined with less than buzzy advance word of mouth about Stanislas Nordey’s stationary staging and Emmanuel Clolus’s dark geometric sets. In the event, the critical reaction was mixed and the respectably full houses tended to bleed spectators at the intervals despite Van Dam’s moving performance. By turns commanding and compassionate, his reading of this role (which reportedly he had to be coaxed into undertaking for a third time) was never unsure and often purely beautiful despite its rigors.
 
One wonders if the difficulty and sheer length of the part were offset or exacerbated for the singer by the mostly immobile staging, which had Saint François perched on little platforms for hours on end. From the audience viewpoint a bit more activity would have been welcome. Other particularly outstanding members of a generally fine cast were German soprano Christine Schäfer as the angel and American tenors Chris Merritt and Charles Workman as, respectively, the leper and Brother Masseo.

http://www.operajaponica.org/archives/paris/parisletterpast04.htm
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Coco on May 05, 2011, 09:33:17 AM
I don't think it's too much of a revelation that most people get restless after 5+ hours.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Philoctetes on May 05, 2011, 09:33:59 AM
So I haven't experienced it. Boo-hoo. Life is too short.

Poco's epitaph:

Missed Messiaen's St. Francis

SEE now you're life is DEFINED by that moment.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Philoctetes on May 05, 2011, 09:34:33 AM
I don't think it's too much of a revelation that most people get restless after 5+ hours.

I sat through Les Troyens with no problems.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: karlhenning on May 05, 2011, 09:35:28 AM
Any opera that long should have a lunch-break.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Coco on May 05, 2011, 09:38:54 AM
I sat through Les Troyens with no problems.

And I've sat glued to the screen through Siberiade and Bernard's Les Misérables — but we're not "most people". :)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: karlhenning on May 05, 2011, 09:41:43 AM
Les Troyens with two intermissions is fine IMO.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Philoctetes on May 05, 2011, 09:43:44 AM
And I've sat glued to the screen through Siberiade and Bernard's Les Misérables — but we're not "most people". :)

http://www.youtube.com/v/8M0QiNwyRKE
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: karlhenning on May 05, 2011, 10:03:24 AM
Pffft.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: DavidW on May 05, 2011, 10:03:37 AM
Most operas are too fuckin' long in my books.

Wait isn't Stockhausen's supposed to be really, really long?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on May 05, 2011, 10:40:15 AM
Most operas are too fuckin' long in my books.

You might like Gianni Schicchi.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: MDL on May 05, 2011, 11:12:25 AM
As much of a Messiaen skeptic as I am, I'd still love the opportunity to catch Saint François live.

I attended the semi-staged BBC Proms performance in 2008; it was long on the arse, to be sure, and there are half a dozen Messiaen works that I prefer, but being "forced" to concentrate on, and follow, the whole thing (rather than merely dipping into Nagano's vivid DG recording) was a revelation. I posted about it at the time; the audience was shockingly small for a Prom, considering the number of people on stage and the amount time and money that must have been necessary to bring this work to London. I am so glad I went; it was draining, daunting but mesmerising.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 10, 2011, 12:10:56 PM
So I haven't experienced it. Boo-hoo. Life is too short.


I have experienced it, in Amsterdam. I hate to say it, but once was enough. I love Messiaen's organ pieces, I love his wonderful harmonies. But Saint Francis was too often just plain boring.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 10, 2011, 12:35:08 PM
Well, I think I have come to terms with with why I may never really connect with Messiaen.  It is that the thing which I find most interesting in music is (or at least it seems to me) largely absent from Messiaen's music.  I like progression in music, music that tells an abstract story, develops themes, comes to a conclusion.  Messiaen's music strikes me as strikingly static.  Each movement has a certain idea, which is painted in sound, but there is no sense of journey.  The sense of drama and progression to a resolution is not there (at least as I perceive it).
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Henk on May 10, 2011, 12:41:34 PM
Well, I think I have come to terms with with why I may never really connect with Messiaen.  It is that the thing which I find most interesting in music is (or at least it seems to me) largely absent from Messiaen's music.  I like progression in music, music that tells an abstract story, develops themes, comes to a conclusion.  Messiaen's music strikes me as strikingly static.  Each movement has a certain idea, which is painted in sound, but there is no sense of journey.  The sense of drama and progression to a resolution is not there (at least as I perceive it).

With Messiaen you also have just thrown away Bach with these critics. Maybe your critics are not to be taken completely serious, but rather are to be conceived as testimonies of craziness? ;)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Luke on May 10, 2011, 12:45:35 PM
Well, I think I have come to terms with with why I may never really connect with Messiaen.  It is that the thing which I find most interesting in music is (or at least it seems to me) largely absent from Messiaen's music.  I like progression in music, music that tells an abstract story, develops themes, comes to a conclusion.  Messiaen's music strikes me as strikingly static.  Each movement has a certain idea, which is painted in sound, but there is no sense of journey.  The sense of drama and progression to a resolution is not there (at least as I perceive it).

That's a pertinent observation and very largely true. OTOH in multi-movement works there is, at least, the progression from movement to movement. And often there are movements within this which do tell a story of some sort, which do progress. I am thinking of several from the Vingt Regards - the Joy movement, the mighty fugue Par Lui tout a ete fait, the various intimate and radiant virgin/child movements, which can build to rapt climaxes ordevlop into intense inner monologues. There is also the progression and change which is often inherent in Messiaen's techniques - the various augmentation/diminution/rhythmic character techniques etc that he developed and which can be easily followed an traced in the listening, to enjoyable effect. But I do recognise entirely what you are saying - I think this is really one which just boils down to taste.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 10, 2011, 12:47:04 PM
But I do recognise entirely what you are saying - I think this is really one which just boils down to taste.


Indeed. I share Scarpia's difficulties.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 10, 2011, 12:53:19 PM
That's a pertinent observation and very largely true. OTOH in multi-movement works there is, at least, the progression from movement to movement. And often there are movements within this which do tell a story of some sort, which do progress. I am thinking of several from the Vingt Regards - the Joy movement, the mighty fugue, the various intimate and radiant virgin/child movement, which can build to rapt climaxes ordevlop into intense inner monologues. There is also the progression and change which is often inherent in Messiaen's techniques - the various augmentation/diminution/rhythmic character techniques etc that he developed and which can be easily followed an traced in the listening, to enjoyable effect. But I do recognise entirely what you are saying - I think this is really one which just boils down to taste.

Well, my familiarity with Messiaen is not exhaustive, by any means, so anything I saw should be taken with a grain of salt.  There are the pieces which build to a climax, but the impression I get is more in the manner of the unfolding of a musical idea, and the accretion of more and more sound to that idea.   There is still the absence of a sense of resolving, in tonal music of returning to the home key, or in less tonal music of the musical themes confronting each other and coming to a new place.

In any case, maybe the issue is that I have to try to understand Messiaen's music on his terms, if at all.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Henk on May 10, 2011, 01:01:48 PM
Well, my familiarity with Messiaen is not exhaustive, by any means, so anything I saw should be taken with a grain of salt.  There are the pieces which build to a climax, but the impression I get is more in the manner of the unfolding of a musical idea, and the accretion of more and more sound to that idea.   There is still the absence of a sense of resolving, in tonal music of returning to the home key, or in less tonal music of the musical themes confronting each other and coming to a new place.

In any case, maybe the issue is that I have to try to understand Messiaen's music on his terms, if at all.

Well I really have been striked by Messiaen's music more then once. His music has convinced me, your ideas about it can't make me re-evaluate Messiaen. So I just object to your ideas because of I have good experience with Messiaen's music.

Messiaen is like Debussy for me, but then taken to the next level. And he really influenced Takemitsu. Do you also dislike Takemitsu?

Henk
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 10, 2011, 01:04:55 PM
Well I really have been striked by Messiaen's music more then once. His music has convinced me, your ideas about it can't make me re-evaluate Messiaen. So I just object to your ideas because of I have good experience with Messiaen's music.

Messiaen is like Debussy for me, but then taken to the next level. And he really influenced Takemitsu. Do you also dislike Takemitsu?

I have no idea what you are saying.  I didn't suggest anyone should reevaluate Messian, I have only described my reaction to it.  I have never heard anything by Takemitsu.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Henk on May 10, 2011, 01:13:14 PM
I have no idea what you are saying.  I didn't suggest anyone should reevaluate Messian, I have only described my reaction to it.  I have never heard anything by Takemitsu.

I don't say that you have suggested to reevaluate Messiaen. But I'm always interested in ideas about music, because ideas can make me listen to music in other ways and influence my taste in a positive way.

Henk
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Luke on May 10, 2011, 01:48:27 PM
Well, my familiarity with Messiaen is not exhaustive, by any means, so anything I saw should be taken with a grain of salt.  There are the pieces which build to a climax, but the impression I get is more in the manner of the unfolding of a musical idea, and the accretion of more and more sound to that idea.   There is still the absence of a sense of resolving, in tonal music of returning to the home key, or in less tonal music of the musical themes confronting each other and coming to a new place.

In any case, maybe the issue is that I have to try to understand Messiaen's music on his terms, if at all.

As i say, I think you describe this feature of Messiaen's music very well. But I'd still point you in the direction of some of those piece I mentioned. The climax in e.g. Le baiser de l'Enfant-Jesus (no 15 of the Vingt Regards) is not of 'the unfolding of a musical idea, and the accretion of more and more sound to that idea' sort (though that definitely exists everywhere in Messsiaen), it's certainly of the 'sense of resolving, in tonal music of returning to the home key, or in less tonal music of the musical themes confronting each other and coming to a new place' type (in this case, it's radiantly tonal, sumptuously, possibly kitschly so, the piece being in a typical Messiaen sparkling F sharp major). Halfway through, after a few crunchingly, bitingly atonal bars in which the 'theme of chords' is compacted and explored - a necessary moment of disonant impact - we even have that most romantic of features, a dominant pedal, held and held and held under chromatically striving lines until tension reaches breaking point, and then the big release of the main melodic idea in the home key. It's very, very traditional, risking a proximity to the kitsch and the vulgar - bravely, honestly so, I think - and at the same time it's as advanced as any of the other pieces in the set. It certainly doesn't stick out, even though it's preceded by the dissonant, birdsong-ridden angels and followed by the harsh, brazen, percussive noises of the prophets, shepherds and Magi (both these pieces full to bursting with typical Messiaen techniques). I think that's one of the things I adore and respect about Messiaen (and in other composers too - Tippett, Scriabin spring to mind) - that he could reinvent what tonality and atonality and disonance and consonance mean so that they can sit side by side without jarring, and so that the most disonant music is full of enough system and rigour to make as much 'sense' as the most consonant. I digress - apologies. In any case, I mention this as only one example - there aren't hundreds in Messiaen's music, I will be honest, but they are there!   :)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 10, 2011, 01:55:37 PM
Ok, I will have to look that piece up.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Luke on May 10, 2011, 02:03:41 PM
Have a look here - Muraro is amazing

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=FCB7EBD096CA256E

The piece I am talking about is at the bottom, but - depending on your disonance threshold - you might find no 6, an unbelievable (and unbelievaby hard) fugue to your liking. At any rate, it is certanly developmental and drives to an astonishing climax. No 10, the Regard de l'Esprit de joie, is another of these developing, climax-driven ones. Meanwhile the 'Premiere Communion de la Vierge' is an example of Messiaen telling a story - the virgin communing with her unborn child, a very 'internal' piece, literally, which reaches an extraordinary moment in which we hear, low down, the heartbeats of the baby. Hideously kitsch, some might say - but not me. This meant the world to Messiaen, and if played with tenderness and love, it sounds it. This number is particularly beautiful, a slow, quiet, still meditation in B flat major.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 10, 2011, 02:07:57 PM
The videos have been removed...
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 10, 2011, 02:12:18 PM
I have the Yvonne Loriod recording.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Luke on May 10, 2011, 02:13:06 PM
I'm watching one of them right now! L'Esprit de joie, an incredible piece of piano writing, utterly exhilarating

(I think they are put up by different people, so maybe some are there and some aren't)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Luke on May 10, 2011, 02:14:17 PM
Loriod is great, can't go wrong there. Serkin has incredible fervour and vision too. My two versions of choice, but if you can see the Muraro do, because it's amazing music to watch.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Luke on May 10, 2011, 02:16:19 PM
Ogdon is interesting too. You can download his whole recording here

http://takecare-maready.blogspot.com/search/label/John%20Ogdon

A great blog, this one...
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 10, 2011, 02:22:02 PM
Ogdon is interesting too. You can download his whole recording here

We can talk about Ogdon until we're blue in the face, the recording is impossible to find.  I'm curious about Beroff and Aimard, but since I've never heard the piece at all, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Luke on May 10, 2011, 02:26:45 PM
We can talk about Ogdon until we're blue in the face, the recording is impossible to find.  I'm curious about Beroff, but since I've never heard the piece at all, I'm getting ahead of myself.

The link to the Ogdon recording is at the bottom of the page I linked to. Two links, actually, one for each of the discs - the lines highlighted in purple and red.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 10, 2011, 02:34:32 PM
The link to the Ogdon recording is at the bottom of the page I linked to. Two links, actually, one for each of the discs - the lines highlighted in purple and red.

Transfers from vinyl, not my cup of tea. 
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Luke on May 10, 2011, 02:38:21 PM
Transfers from vinyl, not my cup of tea.

No, from the CD - to quote the blog:

Quote
I made a just-about-passable transfer and would have settled for that, but before I could post it, God placed at my disposal this now-discontinued Decca CD reissue.

Although this is taken from the CD, I have included scans from the Argo LP along with the front and back covers of Decca's out-of-print reissue (the liner notes are the same in both editions.)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 10, 2011, 02:54:07 PM
No, from the CD - to quote the blog:

Ok, I'll give it a try.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 10, 2011, 03:16:22 PM
I just bought the 18-CD set of Messiaen on Warner Classics and I'm really looking forward to hearing it.



This will probably vamp an obsession of mine. Next up the Complete Edition on DG. ;) No, I'm kidding, but I do want to dig into that side of the discography at some point.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 10, 2011, 03:32:21 PM
I also want to complete my orchestral recordings with Chung on DG as I already own his Turangalîla Symphony.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 10, 2011, 04:25:45 PM
Many boxed sets & recordings were put out during his 100 anniv. few years back .. incl. a DG complete edition



A spin off .. that just has just the orchestral & chamber music ..



Then there is this .. the complete orchestral works ..



etc etc etc

(see amazon.com for more, lots to choose from)

The one on Naive looks pretty interesting. Have you heard any from this set, James?

Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 10, 2011, 04:50:24 PM
I probably have .. but if you're not that into him (yet), buying bulk may not be the way to go.
You should cherry pick his best work and absorb it to get used to his sound-world & language.

Well I already have the 18-CD set on Warner Classics coming, but I don't plan on buying anymore Messiaen until I become, as you say, familiar with his musical language, which will take a lot research in addition to the listening, which I plan on doing.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 10, 2011, 05:11:48 PM
It's not as hard-going as it seems at first, you'll get used to it in no time. Believe me, and after you do .. you'll probably take that logical step and move onto some of his world famous pupils who all have unique sound-worlds of their own. i.e. Boulez, Stockhausen, Xenakis, Benjamin etc (you may not like all of it, but you'll probably make many surprising discoveries that will make you rethink things)

Perhaps you're right. Speaking of Xenakis. There's a box set of his orchestral recordings coming out (I think it's a reissue) that I'll probably pickup at some point.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Lethevich on May 10, 2011, 05:54:01 PM
Is it just me, or do the track timings look too long to fit onto a CD for discs 1 and 3?

Edit: oh nm, the back cover image states it's five discs, Amazon made a mistake with the tracklisting.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 10, 2011, 05:56:39 PM
Is it just me, or do the track timings look too long to fit onto a CD for discs 1 and 3?

Edit: oh nm, the back cover image states it's five discs, Amazon made a mistake with the tracklisting.

Amazon made the same mistake with the Messiaen Edition on Warner. They listed it was 16-CDs when it's actually 18.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 10, 2011, 05:57:10 PM
Yea .. you're right May,31 2011 - and at that price tag a no brainer really.



I'll be picking it up once it comes out. Yes, this is a no-brainer.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: DavidW on May 10, 2011, 06:26:36 PM
I have rips of that Xenakis set... it is f-ing awesome!!  You won't regret buying it. :)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 10, 2011, 06:32:13 PM
I have rips of that Xenakis set... it is f-ing awesome!!  You won't regret buying it. :)

Cool, haydnguy. I watched an interview of Xenakis on YouTube that sparked some interest in his music. Maybe I can explain this to you, as Sid knows pretty much how I work, I'm good at shooting my mouth off very quickly and completely degrading a composer's music whom I really haven't heard that much by, but when I hear their music I end up liking it and everything that I said in the past kind of becomes a sick joke. My biggest problem is keeping my mouth shut long enough to listen to the music. Like the Second Viennese School of Music for example. I absolutely ripped Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern new assholes because I thought their music was complete nonsense. Now, I love Berg and a lot of Schoenberg, but I'm still working on Webern as his music goes by so quickly that if I'm not attentive I have missed pretty much the whole piece! Anyway, I have my flaws and am constantly working on them, but we are human after all.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Scarpia on May 10, 2011, 10:59:20 PM
Have a look here - Muraro is amazing

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=FCB7EBD096CA256E

The piece I am talking about is at the bottom, but - depending on your disonance threshold - you might find no 6, an unbelievable (and unbelievaby hard) fugue to your liking. At any rate, it is certanly developmental and drives to an astonishing climax. No 10, the Regard de l'Esprit de joie, is another of these developing, climax-driven ones. Meanwhile the 'Premiere Communion de la Vierge' is an example of Messiaen telling a story - the virgin communing with her unborn child, a very 'internal' piece, literally, which reaches an extraordinary moment in which we hear, low down, the heartbeats of the baby. Hideously kitsch, some might say - but not me. This meant the world to Messiaen, and if played with tenderness and love, it sounds it. This number is particularly beautiful, a slow, quiet, still meditation in B flat major.

I listened to the first half of the Vingt Regards, and your comments have been very helpful.  My original impression still holds, that Messiaen's music is generally static--as though he is taking his idea and rotating it to let you see the different sides of it--but I can see that there is a sense of progression and resolution in some of the pieces.  The fugue you mention (although I'm not sure I would have recognized it as a fugue if weren't described as such in the notes) is a good example. 

In any case, I will continue my exploration of Messiaen (at a snails pass, probably) but it is important to approach him on his own terms.  Actually, reading the notes may be contra-indicated.  I'm reading that certain pieces from the Vingt Regards contain vertical yellow stripes, carmine red, different shades of grayish purple.  I have to train myself to listen to the music and ignore the fact that the guy was clearly unhinged!

Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Luke on May 10, 2011, 11:46:49 PM
Possibly he was! Or, more kindly put, his mind went to places that most people's minds do not visit. I always like composers who are brave enough not only to visit those places but to risk the ridicule of coming back and using the ideas they've learnt in their music - - other composers, already mentioned by me in comparison to Messiaen also share this characteristic: Tippett, Scriabin etc (Scriabin more loopy than most of them, though, not so much brave as simply self-centred, though that bothers me not one jot; a Scriabin who cared about the world around him wouldn't have produced the music of shatteringly precise, nerve-end-romantic interior monologues that he did).

OTOH, I think with the whole music-as-colour phenomenon in Messiaen (and Scriabin, FWIW) we simply have a case of composers who are intensely synaesthetic and who cannot but help have that fact influence their music. That Messiaen was bold enough to actually write the colours into his scores verbally I find endearing and also helpful - where some, more harshly, see it as a foolish self-indulgence, I tend to think that every little scrap helps, and when listening to his music with a score, if a colour is indicate I often at least try to visualise the colour, and how it might relate to the music I'm hearing, if at all.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on August 08, 2011, 08:36:27 AM
I don't know why, but Messiaen is back on the table. I had my go around with him back when Chung started his Cycle, but, it looks as though Messiaen did not survive some late-'90s Purge. The Amazon reviews reveal people who take their Messiaen seriously, but no one yet seems to have ALL versions of the Big Works. So, can you help me? Here's the basic list:


TURANGALILA SYMPHONY

Chung (DG)
Salonen (CBS)
Wit (Naxos)
Constant (Erato/Apex)
Previn (EMI)
Ozawa (RCA)
Chailly (Decca)
Rattle (EMI)
Vonk (Arabesque?)
Nagano (Teldec)
Le Roux (?)
Tortelier (Chandos)
Fischer (BBC)


'TRANSFIGURATION'

Dorati (Decca)***
De Leeuw (Montaigne)
Cambreling (Hanssler)
Chung (DG)
Rickenbacker (Koch)

'CANYONS/ETOILES'

Salonen (CBS)
Chung (DG)
Constant (Erato/Apex)
De Leeuw (Montaigne)


'ECLAIRS'

Chung (DG)
Porceljin (ABC)
Rattle (EMI)
Cambreling
Wit (Jade)


Ois. Exotiques
Vitrail/Ois.
Ville/Haut
Colors/Celestial City
Chronochromie
Et Exspecto***

Salonen
Boulez
De Leeuw
Rickenbacker

ok,... I'm getting tired here ::)!!,... for these smaller pieces, the Chandos/De Leeuw set seems to have 'em all, though, not every piece is a MasterWork. 'Et Exspecto' is the work I'm most interested in, though, I do like the tinkling quality of these pieces. If the sound and performance on the Chandos is 'The One', I'd surely go there. Otherwise, please enlighten me.

Thanks guys! ;)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on August 08, 2011, 08:37:37 AM
bump

Check out the Messiaen Thread in the Recordings Section.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: DieNacht on August 09, 2011, 10:24:05 AM
  As regards "Des Canyons ..." it is one of my favourite modern works & I´ve got all the 4 recordings you mention; even though I can´t say to know the recordings in detail, my overall impression is that the differences between them are rather subtle. But I tend to return to the Constant recording again and again; the piano playing is much more varied and yet rythmically intense. My overall impression as regards Loriod is "the earlier the recording, the better the result"; my version is the LP one, don´t know the sound quality of the CD transfer.

  An early work not so generally known is the rather touching orchestral piece "Les Offrandes Oubliees" (1931) which should also be included in a Messiaen palette in order to illustrate his development, IMHO.
 
  Have got most of his works, sometimes in several recordings, but not yet enough knowledge to compare that much ...
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on August 09, 2011, 05:34:51 PM
There already is a Messiaen thread.

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,5203.240.html

There is also an effort at an exhaustive Messiaen discography (look under "resources"):

http://www.oliviermessiaen.org/messiaen2index.htm

Some of the old Messiaen LP recordings were transferred to CD by Japanese companies. Most interestingly, the great version of Reveil des Oiseaux, Vaclav Neumann conducting, that can be found on HMV-Japan. The rhythm struck by Neumann in that great, evocative, psychologically insightful (insight into the psychology of the birds) and occasionally witty (as when Messiaen renders the strut of certain birds) - is second to none.

(http://i335.photobucket.com/albums/m465/Phil1_05/MessiaenNeumann001.jpg)

That Messiaen Thread leaves something to be desired, frankly!! ;)

I think MirrorImage neds to chime in here! ;)


I know there's someone out there with CDCDCD who will come to my rescue!


  As regards "Des Canyons ..." it is one of my favourite modern works & I´ve got all the 4 recordings you mention; even though I can´t say to know the recordings in detail, my overall impression is that the differences between them are rather subtle. But I tend to return to the Constant recording again and again; the piano playing is much more varied and yet rythmically intense. My overall impression as regards Loriod is "the earlier the recording, the better the result"; my version is the LP one, don´t know the sound quality of the CD transfer.

  An early work not so generally known is the rather touching orchestral piece "Les Offrandes Oubliees" (1931) which should also be included in a Messiaen palette in order to illustrate his development, IMHO.
 
  Have got most of his works, sometimes in several recordings, but not yet enough knowledge to compare that much ...

Please feel free to chime in if you happen to go digging! I'll definitely check out Constant.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on August 10, 2011, 04:43:47 AM
ok, now no one's going to help me! :(

I'm looking for the best recordings of his major pieces,... look a couple of Posts up.

thanks
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on August 10, 2011, 04:45:18 AM
ok, now no one's going to help me! :(

I'm looking for the best recordings of his major pieces,... look a couple of Posts up.

thanks

I'll just say that this isn't the most informative Thread we have here. 13 Pages and really no 'Recordings' talk, and, as you know, that IS the important part! ;) ;D :P 8)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on August 10, 2011, 08:02:58 PM
... which recording by Aimard inevitably brings to mind the lovely Yvonne Le Dizes, who like Aimard was a stalwart of theEnsemble Intercontemporain and who recorded Themes et Variations (1932) as well as the Quartet:

(http://i335.photobucket.com/albums/m465/Phil1_05/Messiaen040.jpg)

If Gidon Kremer is more your type, be my guest:

(http://i335.photobucket.com/albums/m465/Phil1_05/Messiaen045.jpg)

But if you like the flute better than the violin, take this recent release of an oldie by Wergo, involving one the bizarre Kontarsky brothers, who lloked like traveling salesmen but were into the most advanced music of their time:

(http://i335.photobucket.com/albums/m465/Phil1_05/Messiaen038.jpg)

Just as Aimard brings Le Dizes to mind, so the Quatuor brings to mind the sprawling Turangalila Symphony. That's because they are the two most famous works of Messiaen's - though perhaps not his best. At least I hope not because they are not my favorites.The recording by Maurice le Roux (1961) is said to be the first recording ever of any music by Messiaen to reach the record stores. Some earlier performances were taped, however, - perhaps were they not releaed till after the Le Roux issue. including the European Premiere by Roger Desormiere (whose recording of Debussy's Pelleas is still as prestigious as it was during my previous post - and a 1951 performance by the inevitable Hans Rosbaud (inevitable if you are into post-World-War II modernism as Rosbaud performed a fair amount of it):

(http://i335.photobucket.com/albums/m465/Phil1_05/Messiaen001.jpg)(http://i335.photobucket.com/albums/m465/Phil1_05/Messiaen006.jpg)
(http://i335.photobucket.com/albums/m465/Phil1_05/Messiaen003.jpg)(http://i335.photobucket.com/albums/m465/Phil1_05/Messiaen004.jpg)

Can't leave the 1940's without mention of the austere Cinq Rechants: what took Messiaen to write them? A nightmare perhpars, were the terrible Saint Bernard warned him of impending doom if he did not suppress his own senses? Luckly during the composition the mild Abbot Suger managed to sneak back in and tell him: it's ok, sensual enjoyment of beauty is a path to divinity: and that led to the more colorful third Rechant:

(http://i335.photobucket.com/albums/m465/Phil1_05/Messiaen046.jpg)(http://i335.photobucket.com/albums/m465/Phil1_05/Messiaen025.jpg)(http://i335.photobucket.com/albums/m465/Phil1_05/Messiaen042.jpg)

(No telling what either Suger or the cold fanatic from Clairveaux might have thought of Iannis Xenakis' elemental Nuits: but that's off topic)

ENCORE! ENCORE!! :-* :-*

I'm drooling, haha!! :P

It's late,... I'll be bach...
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on August 16, 2011, 07:19:41 PM
Unless someone violently disagrees, I'm going to try Nagano in the Turagalila.

'weird ears' on Amazon didn't like it, but everyone else thought it was spectacular.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 16, 2011, 07:20:53 PM
Unless someone violently disagrees, I'm going to try Nagano in the Turagalila.

'weird ears' on Amazon didn't like it, but everyone else thought it was spectacular.

I own the Nagano, but I haven't heard it yet. Perhaps tonight is the night? :)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 16, 2011, 08:09:22 PM
Nagano is a good conductor. Also recommendable, the following CD, which pairs Trois Petites Liturgies, a piece so beautiful you can't believe it was composed, with one of the all around great masterpieces of the XXth century, Reveil des Oiseaux:

(http://i335.photobucket.com/albums/m465/Phil1_05/MessiaenNagano.jpg)

I have this recording as well. It's in that big Messiaen box set I bought many months ago. I guess I have some listening to do! :)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on August 16, 2011, 08:18:18 PM
I guess I have some listening to do! :)

Perhaps tonight is the night? :)

Crikey man! :o Quit typing!! :-*
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 16, 2011, 08:21:20 PM
Crikey man! :o Quit typing!! :-*

 :P

Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 16, 2011, 08:49:48 PM
Just bought this set for $65, which is a great deal:

(http://www.haenssler-classic.de/fileadmin/mediafiles/scm_shopproduct/Bilder/Cover_Download/093225000.JPG)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on August 17, 2011, 06:52:00 AM
Just bought this set for $65, which is a great deal:

(http://www.haenssler-classic.de/fileadmin/mediafiles/scm_shopproduct/Bilder/Cover_Download/093225000.JPG)

Oh,...wait!! :o

So, instead of LISTENING to what you already have (and illuminating us), you just went ahead and bought even more stuff you're not going to listen to? ???? Don't you know that if you don't come up with a Nagano review soon, I might have to Buy Something,...uh, ANYTHING!!! More, More, More, More, More....

AAAAAhhhhhhhh :o...

CDCDCD awaits.


 ;) ;D 8)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 17, 2011, 06:55:31 AM
Oh,...wait!! :o

So, instead of LISTENING to what you already have (and illuminating us), you just went ahead and bought even more stuff you're not going to listen to? ???? Don't you know that if you don't come up with a Nagano review soon, I might have to Buy Something,...uh, ANYTHING!!! More, More, More, More, More....

AAAAAhhhhhhhh :o...

CDCDCD awaits.


 ;) ;D 8)

Yes, very good point, snyprrr. I'll try and listen to that Nagano tonight. Please be patient. :)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 22, 2011, 01:17:40 PM
snyprrr, sorry for the late reply, I've been pretty busy today, anyway about the Nagano recording of the Turangalila Symphony: it is very good indeed. I do not think, however, that it trumps Chailly's stellar performance with the Concertgebouw, which is probably my favorite performance of this work. I remember Chung's being quite good as well.

I have been making my way through this set:



This is really excellent so far. Cambreling shows an affinity for this music and the SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg play with authority. The audio quality, an important aspect in this music I think, is exemplary.



Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on August 24, 2011, 06:52:25 PM
snyprrr, sorry for the late reply, I've been pretty busy today, anyway about the Nagano recording of the Turangalila Symphony: it is very good indeed. I do not think, however, that it trumps Chailly's stellar performance with the Concertgebouw, which is probably my favorite performance of this work. I remember Chung's being quite good as well.

I have been making my way through this set:



This is really excellent so far. Cambreling shows an affinity for this music and the SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg play with authority. The audio quality, an important aspect in this music I think, is exemplary.

I couldn't wait. Nagano arrived today.

 :o :o :o

Wow! What a spectacular recording! I'd actually says it's a tiny bit over the top: listen to the unison note in the first movement; there is a searing intensity to the aural experience that is as controlled distortion as I've ever heard. I just can't remember the Chailly recording being as mythic as this one. The bass drums really sound like Hindu gods. The climaxes are,,, I'll call them 'terrifying', because the Teldec sound just seems to accept more and more volume. But, that's why I got it, and boy it delivers. How's the Cambreling?

'They' say that Nagano is overtly fast, but, so far (Track 6) everything seems just ultra exciting. He's not as fast as Rosbaud. And I don't hear the criticisms of overt sweetness.

I haven't listened to this piece since Chung and Chailly came out with dueling versions. This Teldec recording really has a character to it, and the orchestra sounds like a monster, and Nagano manages the affair very excitingly. I might try Chailly again, but right now you'd have to convince me on anyone else: Nagano is a Contender!

And Aimard is scintillating and cataclysmic.




Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on August 24, 2011, 06:58:50 PM
I couldn't wait. Nagano arrived today.

 :o :o :o

Wow! What a spectacular recording! I'd actually says it's a tiny bit over the top: listen to the unison note in the first movement; there is a searing intensity to the aural experience that is as controlled distortion as I've ever heard. I just can't remember the Chailly recording being as mythic as this one. The bass drums really sound like Hindu gods. The climaxes are,,, I'll call them 'terrifying', because the Teldec sound just seems to accept more and more volume. But, that's why I got it, and boy it delivers. How's the Cambreling?

'They' say that Nagano is overtly fast, but, so far (Track 6) everything seems just ultra exciting. He's not as fast as Rosbaud. And I don't hear the criticisms of overt sweetness.

I haven't listened to this piece since Chung and Chailly came out with dueling versions. This Teldec recording really has a character to it, and the orchestra sounds like a monster, and Nagano manages the affair very excitingly. I might try Chailly again, but right now you'd have to convince me on anyone else: Nagano is a Contender!

And Aimard is scintillating and cataclysmic.

Now you make me want to listen to the Nagano again! :P

The Cambreling is very well played. His performance has some character too. There is a great clarity in his reading that matches Chailly's, although we shouldn't forget that Cambreling doesn't have the Berliners or Concertgebouw at his disposal either, he has the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden and Freiburg, which are a fine orchestra, but doesn't match the virtuosity of the afore mentioned orchestras. Then again, who can come close to Berlin and Concertgebouw anyway? They're two of the best orchestras in the world.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on August 27, 2011, 07:55:22 AM
I remember Turangalila being the first real Modern Music that I could get into, but at some point, I must have grown tired of the piece (Chung was my guide at the time,... I muuust have had Chailly, too??,... don't remember, but must have??).

Now, with Nagano blazing the trail, I'm hearing this piece coming backwards from Xenakis, rather than forwards from Beethoven. I'm hearing this piece like a Ballet,... I mean, the rhythmic element,... and the Title itself,... state as much. I can so hear the different Themes as 'cartoon' characters (in the Hindu god, elephants vs. monsters kind of way) interacting with each other. After all, Messiaen does compose in this block-like manner. I almost see this Music as a great-cousin of Xenakis's ballet Antikhthon (1971). This is easily one of Xenakis's most straightforward and block-like constructions, and you can see how both Composers like for things to 'speak on top of one another'.

I remember thinking Turangalila was such a long work,... I think I remember the Penguin Guide speaking of 'longeurs'(sic?),... but now I'm appreciating all the variety within the ten movements. There certainly is a wealth of glittering detail to luxuriate in.


I looked over some timings (Chailly, Previn, Ozawa, etc.,...), and, everyone seems to be within the same 'pocket',... except, some are maybe 2mins. longer in the slow movement. By comparison, Rosbaud is a juggernaut (YouTube).


I'd love to get into some of the movements,... I'm really liking the two 'Chants d'amour', and the mainly percussion driven 'Turangalila,... uh, is it 2, or 3??'. And the finale.

Ahhh,...I just didn't realize how much I needed this Music back with me. ;) ;D
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992): Les Canyons
Post by: snyprrr on August 29, 2011, 06:16:14 PM
I'm so impressed with Nagano's Turangalila that I'm moving on to Les Canyons des Etoiles(is that right?). We have Chung, Salonen, Constant, and De Leeuw. It appears as though I haaave to go with Chung here,... the reviews are just too good to consider Constant, but, I would consider Constant if you all convince me.

Salonen seems to yield to Chung by consensus. De Leeuw seems MIA on Amazon.

So,... it must be Chung then?

And Rattle in Eclairs?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: lescamil on August 29, 2011, 07:52:58 PM
Throw in another vote for the Muraro/Chung recording of Des canyons aux étoiles... (mentioning the pianist is essential!). Muraro's rendering of the piano part is the best commercially available (I heard a live performance of Aimard doing it better once). He brings every little detail out of the work, all while weaving all of the little sound effects into a real musical work. This really is Messiaen's most avant garde work, and is a sort of encyclopedia of his whole body of work up to there, and Chung makes it all sound very natural. I love this recording in every way and don't see much wrong with it.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on August 29, 2011, 08:07:32 PM
Marius Constant was a student of Messiaen's, who belonged to the group of musicians that, with support from Erato, finalized the task of getting acceptance for Messiaen & integration of his work into the repertoire. With Constant's recordings, therefore, you get a first hand authenticity that comes from close collaboration with the master himself. And with the Erato recordings in general (as with the Ades recordings of an earlier generation), you get the standard of performance to be met, if you want legitimacy as a Messiaen performer.

Marius Constant was also a composer with a particularity that might endear him to Americans who grew up in the sixties: he wrote the theme song for the Twilight Zone!

You know I could agonize over this for who knows how long. Constant is 1/2 price, but Chung probably sounds 4X as good simply by default of the recording. How much better can the Constant be?

But, as it comes to me, my main concern in Messiaen, from past experience with the Erato discs, is that the actual sound of the various cymbals and gongs is what's at stake here, because I seem to recall some of those Erato cymbals sounding a bit clangy (same goes for Boulez's Ritual on Sony). That's why I like the Nagano so much, because it really sounds like they really took the time to pick the very best sounding (and blending) cymbals.

Another consideration would be the quality of the 'silence' in the recording, since there is an abundance of 'space' in the score. I have to believe that the DG recording will be light years beyond what Erato was dealing with in the '70s. Also, the sounds of the extracurricular instruments like the... ahem... wind machine (who really uses a wind machine?,... oh yes, Sciarrino) are very important. How can't the newer technology win out?

I'm also curious about Chung in this particular piece, since I'm so willing to dismiss him in the other giant pieces. Obviously there must be a crowning achievement in his Cycle,... is this it? Also, the artwork is a vast improvement on Sony's...uh... grade level artwork.

The thing is, you have to order either the Erato/Apex, or the DG, from the UK. Huh?

It's not usual that I would be advocating for the more expen$ive cd, but
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on August 31, 2011, 06:11:26 AM
ok, I'm going for Chung in Canyons. (looks like 'crayons', haha)

Any last minute efforts?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Coco on August 31, 2011, 07:13:52 PM
ok, I'm going for Chung in Canyons. (looks like 'crayons', haha)

The lost Messiaen piece — 52 coleurs d'un boîte de Crayola
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Muzition on September 07, 2011, 05:10:46 PM
My local orchestra (Montreal Symphony Orchestra) is doing Turangalila next week.  I'm so excited!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on September 08, 2011, 07:23:35 PM
Just received Eclairs with Rattle.

I haven't heard the music for years, and, frankly, the themes are much sparer than the ones found in Turagalila, but, this piece has lots to recommend it, I think. The opening hymn-like movement seems a bit static, which is fair, but by the third movement things get interesting.

I'm always thinking, This is ballet music, when I hear Messiaen, perhaps because he is so obviously telling a story with celestial characters, and the music 'jumps' in that way that only Messiaen appears to utilize.

After the first long slow movement, the 'Seven Trumpets' pieces comes in with a shocking bass drum in this recording. I had actually raised the volume at the end of the slow movement to try and hear it better, and then, BOOM! BOOM!, haha. I think also in the seventh movement, there are lots of low brass that recall awesome spectacles of... I have to be honest, Messiaen may be Cathaholic, but his music sounds waaay more Hindu to me,... or, whatever one calls it?

So far it appears Rattle is taking a nice and lean and mean view of this piece, clocking in at exactly 1hr. I hear the Cambreling is 15mins. longer, but I like this Messiaen trimmed of fat. The slow movement had plenty of repose,... I don't think I'd need the first movement any slower,... I think Rattle does just fine hear, and I of course take the Berliners for granted (same as in Nagano Turangalila!).

I did want to mention the birdsong. The solos have been quite moving, and played with great brilliance by the flautists.


Whether this music were called The Planets, or Cosmos, or any such thing, the cosmic and grand nature of the music is undeniable. Messiaen excels at his own very convincing brand of 'Space Music', with equally meditative and terrifying strains. Overall all though I feel a profound stasis. I see the whole piece played out to a large red curtain at half light.


Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: lescamil on September 08, 2011, 08:30:35 PM
Has anyone out there compared the Rattle and Metzmacher versions? I don't have the CD version of the Rattle, but I have a video of a live performance with him conducting the Berliners, and I'm not really familiar with it enough to talk more about it. The Metzmacher is a wonderful, clear recording. I would imagine that Boulez would conduct the work similarly.

I should mention that Éclairs is really not one of my favorite works by Messiaen, but I feel that is more my problem than the piece's problem. Maybe I need more time with it. I'll sit down with the score and listen a few more times. I adore other works from that time, though, such as the Concert à Quatre (even though Messiaen didn't complete it himself).
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on September 09, 2011, 05:35:51 AM
Has anyone out there compared the Rattle and Metzmacher versions? I don't have the CD version of the Rattle, but I have a video of a live performance with him conducting the Berliners, and I'm not really familiar with it enough to talk more about it. The Metzmacher is a wonderful, clear recording. I would imagine that Boulez would conduct the work similarly.

I should mention that Éclairs is really not one of my favorite works by Messiaen, but I feel that is more my problem than the piece's problem. Maybe I need more time with it. I'll sit down with the score and listen a few more times. I adore other works from that time, though, such as the Concert à Quatre (even though Messiaen didn't complete it himself).

I'm interested too. Here's Rattle:

I     5:45
II    5:53
III   4:03
IV    1:53
V     10:11
VI    4:03
VII   3:32
VIII  11:14
IX     2:28
X      3:43
XI     7:40
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: lescamil on September 09, 2011, 09:47:42 AM
I'm interested too. Here's Rattle:

I     5:45
II    5:53
III   4:03
IV    1:53
V     10:11
VI    4:03
VII   3:32
VIII  11:14
IX     2:28
X      3:43
XI     7:40

Well, I was asking more for a review in words, not the timings of the movements (which I could find online relatively easily).
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: karlhenning on September 11, 2011, 07:30:12 AM
My local orchestra (Montreal Symphony Orchestra) is doing Turangalila next week.  I'm so excited!

Terrific! That is such a fun piece to hear live in the space!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on September 15, 2011, 06:40:59 AM
WHO?? :-\ is in charge of the ArtDept. at DG?? >:D

The cover to Chung's Canyons/Etoiles... looks o.k. on Amazon, but when you're holding it, it's just as bad as their Eclairs. :-\ Awful. These covers definitely belong in a certain Thread! ;)

Anyhow, I chose Chung for Canyons because I thought the sound would have to be the best available out of the four, and, I couldn't imagine the playing being anything but perfect. Well, I do have any compares handy, but no matter, this Chung is pretty all inclusive. At times the hall brings a little attention to itself, but, considering the isolated context of the imagery of the piece, this reverberation is a good thing.

I think I've only heard Canyons once many years ago through Salonen, but, I think I was in a dismissive Messiaen mood at the time. Now, having kick started a Messiaen revival of sorts with the truly exciting Nagano Turangalila, and the equally hynotic Rattle Eclairs (both recordings showcasing the Berliners), Canyons hits my ears as the precursor of Messiaen's Late Works of the '80s. It certainly offsets Turangalila as something quite unto itself. Canyons allies itself more with the post-Chronochromie period of greater silences between statements.

I wasn't at first convinced of Canyons' soundworld, but, by 'Part 3', I really felt as though the sounds of the American SouthWest were truly being inhabited. I think you have to listen to the entire piece to 'get it'. It has such that particular/peculiar Messiaen soundworld of angularity mixed with the sensual, surrounded and punctuated by rests. It sounds simply to me as the alternative soundtrack to Forbidden Planet, so alien are its depictions.


I suppose I will have to get that DG Boulez recording of Chronochromie, but, I think that will be it for a good while. Nothing sounds like Turangalila, not even other Messiaen.


Also, I am hearing sooooo much Late Xenakis in Late Messiaen.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Muzition on September 16, 2011, 12:11:53 PM
I saw Turangalila live Wednesday night, and it was one of the greatest concert experiences of my life! I loved it all, from the bold brass chord to the delicate flute solos, from the eerie electronic swoop of the ondes martenot to the thrilling climaxes punctuated by the tam-tam.

It was played extremely well by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Kent Nagano.  I'm so happy to have heard it!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Brewski on September 16, 2011, 12:31:11 PM
I saw Turangalila live Wednesday night, and it was one of the greatest concert experiences of my life! I loved it all, from the bold brass chord to the delicate flute solos, from the eerie electronic swoop of the ondes martenot to the thrilling climaxes punctuated by the tam-tam.

It was played extremely well by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Kent Nagano.  I'm so happy to have heard it!

Sounds absolutely great. Nagano has a real feel for Messiaen; about five years ago I heard him in Éclairs sur l’au-delà...(Illuminations of the Beyond… with the New York Philharmonic, and he did an outstanding job with it as well.

Anyway, glad it was a good evening; that piece is such an experience heard live.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: lescamil on September 16, 2011, 07:34:19 PM
I saw Turangalila live Wednesday night, and it was one of the greatest concert experiences of my life! I loved it all, from the bold brass chord to the delicate flute solos, from the eerie electronic swoop of the ondes martenot to the thrilling climaxes punctuated by the tam-tam.

It was played extremely well by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Kent Nagano.  I'm so happy to have heard it!

Who were the pianist and ondes martenot player?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Muzition on September 17, 2011, 05:28:21 AM
Angela Hewitt (Piano), Jean Laurendeau (Ondes Martenot)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: lescamil on September 17, 2011, 08:58:00 AM
Wow, I can only imagine Angela Hewitt playing Turangalila. I heard her Hyperion CD and didn't like it at all, but Turangalila is a completely different thing altogether. I'd be curious to see how she does it.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on September 17, 2011, 12:15:21 PM
I saw Turangalila live Wednesday night, and it was one of the greatest concert experiences of my life! I loved it all, from the bold brass chord to the delicate flute solos, from the eerie electronic swoop of the ondes martenot to the thrilling climaxes punctuated by the tam-tam.

It was played extremely well by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Kent Nagano.  I'm so happy to have heard it!

The cd with the Berliners is 'live', and it is spectacular.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on September 20, 2011, 04:40:27 PM
Chronochromie, with Reveil des Oiseaux and Sept Haikai, is one of Messiaen's most accomplished & well constructed compositions. It is as free from the excessive sweetness that occasionally mars his otherwise great pieces of the 1940's, as it is from the grandiloquence of his latter work.  It is composed of an Introduction, 2 Strophes and 2 Antistrophes, an Epode, and a Coda. The second Strophe and the second Antistrophe are subtle modifications of the first, while the Coda recapitulates and transforms the Introduction. The Epode created quite a stir - and even a scandal - when it was first presented to the public: it is written for 18 soli chords (12 violins, 4 altos and two cellos), each of which represents a bird song, each of which has a theme and a rhythm that is independent from all the others: exceedingly difficult for the musicians to carry out, as from inside the orchestra they hear only an anarchy of unrelated sounds, while the public hears an overall harmony comparable to what nature-lovers hear, when at the beginning of spring or at sun-rise during the rest of the season, many species of birds sing together.

Though Messiaen does not believe in or practice chance, Chronochromie might fit well on a CD with a piece from Lutoslawski's maturity, as the overall effect of the Epode is comparable to the ad libitum passages in Lutoslawski's music.

As always with Messiaen, Boulez is highly recommendable. Manual Rosenthal's recording (in the Ades "Musique de Notre Temps box) has documentary value & Karl Anton Rickenbacker's is workmanlike.

(http://i335.photobucket.com/albums/m465/Phil1_05/Messiaen031.jpg)
(http://i335.photobucket.com/albums/m465/Phil1_05/Musiquedenotretempsreperes.jpg)(http://i335.photobucket.com/albums/m465/Phil1_05/Messiaen009.jpg)
(http://i335.photobucket.com/albums/m465/Phil1_05/Chronochromie.jpg)

Hearing Chronochromie for, what I think, is the first time (at least all the way through). It definitely shot into the Winner'sCircle, along with Turangalila, as my fav Messiaen. I think it sounds very much like a really polished Late Xenakis,... I just haven't heard Messiaen so... fluid? You really do sense the 'time' and 'color' aspects, and how they relate. It is also no as homogenous as I thought (like Late Messiaen): it has great sonic complexity.

I also don't think I've heard 'The City On High' before,... that's a really four-square type of piece, very 'stained glass' sounding,... again, not as clanky as I thought it was going to be.

This is that Boulez/Cleveland/DG disc. I'm quite impressed by the package, Et Exspecto is a piece I'll have to become reacquainted with: I'm not sure how I feel about it (does it really need to be played in a mountain in order to impress me?).

But I'm really jazzed about Chronochromie.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Muzition on September 21, 2011, 10:18:41 AM
I'm looking for the sheet music for a piece for clarinet and piano by Messiaen.  The piece is called "Chant Dans Le Style Mozart". Can anyone help me track down the sheet music for it?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on October 10, 2011, 04:52:37 AM
I have really been enjoying Messiaen since we became reintroduced a few months ago. I got:

Turangalila/Nagano
Eclairs/Rattle
Canyons/Chung
Chronochromie-Exspecto/Boulez

Just these four have sent me on a galactic vacation. I am more open to OM's harmonies than before (about 15 years ago), and I'm just so surprised that everything I had been looking for was right there in the Turangalila, and Chronochromie.

I'm just lifting up OM. I had no idea I was going to like his music so much at this time. All four cds get lots of play, and are becoming go-tos. His vision is pretty universal.

Just a shout out! ;)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on October 12, 2011, 01:20:32 PM
Just got back from the library with

Chung/DG 3 Liturgies, Cite Celeste, Hymn

Visions/Amen New Albion/Double Edge

Vingt Regards Ogdon/Decca



Already I'm not liking the Double Edge (I think I've listened to this one before). Either I just don't like the music of Visions, or I'm going to need a muuuch more detailed performance and/or recording.

The Chung cd is nice enough, but, for my purposes I'm not smitten.

Haven't listened to JO yet.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: lescamil on October 12, 2011, 05:52:00 PM
The best recording of Visions de l'Amen is this one:



You will not hear a more technically sound or musically detailed recording of the work. Osborne and Roscoe (the latter especially) are both technical monsters, especially in the breakneck finale.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on October 14, 2011, 05:59:54 PM
The best recording of Visions de l'Amen is this one:



You will not hear a more technically sound or musically detailed recording of the work. Osborne and Roscoe (the latter especially) are both technical monsters, especially in the breakneck finale.

Thanks,...

Was listening to the Ogdon Vingt Regards. At first I thought I wasn't really liking the music, but then I started to think this is an old recording and the piano isn't really spectacular. Is it Aimard here? There's so much opportunity for the actual instrument to speak here.



I think I've come to my end with Messiaen, but, already I've got soooo much with just a few works. I think it definitely depends on which recordings you get here.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: eyeresist on October 24, 2011, 05:45:36 PM
Quote
APPARITION OF THE ETERNAL CHURCH (http://www.filmthreat.com/reviews/41836/) (film review)

“Apparition of the Eternal Church,” a fascinating documentary by Paul Festa, takes its name from the title of a terrifyingly intense organ work by Olivier Messiaen. The film uses a unique method to study a fascinating question: what is going on in people’s minds when they listen to music? What is different about the way that different people listen, and what, if anything, is similar?
...
Festa asked a large cross section of people, of diverse ages, genders, ethnicities, and levels of musical education, to listen to this piece on headphones, and he filmed them listening, asking them to describe their experience as they listen. At first, I doubted that this method would reveal anything interesting, since it is so hard to simultaneously listen, analyze, and verbalize one’s experience, but the results are actually highly illuminating, and provide a wonderful glimpse into the way that different people hear music.
...
Surprisingly, the film ends up making a powerful argument for the value of musical education. The music is so powerful that it has a strong effect on all the listeners. But the film makes clear that those persons who are well educated about musical form and about musical history have a much richer and more multi-dimensional experience than those who lack this education. The less educated listeners have no context in which to place what they are hearing, and they are overwhelmed and irritated by the experience. They have no vocabulary to help them understand their responses, so they often end up rejecting or dismissing the music. The more musically knowledgeable ones, on the other hand, have the same spectrum of emotional and physical responses as everyone else, but they are more able to enjoy the music because they can place it in the context of a world of knowledge and culture.
...
Festa is investigating a key question about musical aesthetics, and he has invented a methodology to study it which provides very illuminating results. His brilliant use of editing, and his skill as an interviewer, allow the viewer to have many insights into the varieties of musical experience.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: MDL on November 24, 2011, 02:48:20 PM

I'm really jazzed about Chronochromie.

Chronochromie may be fairly short by Messiaen's standards, but it must be one of his most impressive creations. Perhaps the lack of Messiaenic sprawl adds to its impact. I was recently surprised when the number of recordings of Chronochromie was brought to my attention, but I'm very happy with my two complete recordings (Dorati/BBCSO/Argo and Boulez/CO/DG) and a snatch of Hans Rosbaud on a compilation.

Edit: number... was, not number... were. I'm under the weather with a virus.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on February 19, 2012, 08:08:04 AM
(http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/imgs/s300x300/4790114.jpg)

Int. Release 02 Apr. 2012
10 CDs (http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/cat/single?sort=newest_rec&PRODUCT_NR=4790114&SearchString=Messiaen&UNBUYABLE=1&IN_XXSERIES=COLLED&per_page=50&flow_per_page=50&presentation=flow)

Go straight to 'Worst CD Cover' Thread... do not pass Go!! ;)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: darkmatter on February 19, 2012, 04:04:34 PM
Very much a fan of his Organ works have been since my early Teens, but now exploring his Orchestral catalogue as well, Looking for a recommended version on CD of his Turangalîla-Symphonie. I have the Decca Thibaudet reading thus far :)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: darkmatter on February 19, 2012, 04:15:43 PM
ORGAN MUSIC
Messiaen was the twenthieth century's most daring and original composer of organ music. His earliest published work, Le banquet celeste (The Heavenly Banquet, 1928), written for the Cavaille-Coll instrument at Saint-Trinite, attempts to depict the mystery of the Eucharist by building up of near-static legato chords which are punctuated by a pedal melody representing Christ's blood dripping from the cross. La Nativite du Seigneur (1936), nine meditations on Christ's Nativity, is even more adventurous, decking the composer's melodic and harmonic experimentalism - inspired for the first time by Indian music - with a glittering array of aural effects. It closes with an ecstatic toccata, "Dieu parmi nous" (God Amoung Us), in which modal themes underpinning the whole cycle explode into frenetic celebration.

Messiaen's final masterpiece, the sprawling Livre du Saint Sacrement (1984), was honed during his weekly improvisations at La Trinite. It's eighteen sections, which return to the subject of the Eucharist, incorporate birdsong, Indian melody and a host of other esoteric devices, the work's vast silences and sustained chords assembling a sound-world never previously envisaged for the organ.


Jennifer Bate is a passionate advocate of Messiaen's organ music, and her version of these early masterpieces - wonderfully recorded on the organ of Beauvais Cathedral - is highly persuasive. Part of a complete Messiaen organ set, it is also available as a single budget disc - a great place to start if you're exploring this repertoire for the first time.


For a definitive account of the complete organ works, Olivier Latry's inspirational set is hard to beat. Latry's playing is technically flawless and beautifully paced, but it's his sense of daring that makes these performances so utterly gripping. The recently restored organ of Notre-Dame, Cavaille-Coll's masterwork, sounds tremendous.

The two sets that I have, I have the Bate on LP as well;  highly recommended :)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: DieNacht on June 18, 2012, 03:58:04 AM
(http://i1.ebayimg.com/04/i/001/38/5c/51ba_35.JPG)

"Catalogue des Oiseaux" /Jocy d´Oliveira Carvalho / vox 4LP

A terrific set, I think I prefer this to Hill and even Loriod, it has a very warm and often rather romantic approach to the music, reminding me of Loriod´s nuanced playing in "Des Canyons ..." with Marius Constant, my favourite Messiaen record.

Surprising one doesn´t hear more about this pianist, who is mainly a composer now; her piano technique seems very good,
http://www.musicabrasileira.org/reviewsinterviews/jocy.html
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 18, 2012, 04:20:01 AM
A terrific set, I think I prefer this to Hill and even Loriod, it has a very warm and often rather romantic approach to the music, reminding me of Loriod´s nuanced playing in "Des Canyons ..." with Marius Constant, my favourite Messiaen record.

Tangentially: the same Marius Constant who wrote titles music for The Twilight Zone? Small world . . . .
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: DieNacht on June 18, 2012, 04:26:58 AM
Tangentially: the same Marius Constant who wrote titles music for The Twilight Zone? Small world . . . .

Didn´t know that, but yes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZWI-dHtBF8

He wrote classical/orchestral works too, some of them recorded by Erato, as far as I recall.

Would Messiaen "work" in a science-fiction movie ? Probably so.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: DieNacht on June 18, 2012, 05:21:57 AM
By the way, judging from a recent entry on the www.birdforum.net where a fellow has been studying Messiaen´s sketchbooks, the composer initially didn´t write down the bird calls and songs during field work; he normally notated them by listening to records and LPs with bird songs, given to him by Darius Milhaud in the 1940s, "probably the Ludwig Koch series":


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_Karl_Koch
http://www.wildlife-sound.org/journal/archive/koch.html
http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/archival_sounds/2012/05/the-test-records-of-ludwig-koch.html
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 18, 2012, 08:53:08 AM
New Messiaen orchestral recording coming out...

Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on June 18, 2012, 02:09:22 PM
New Messiaen orchestral recording coming out...



Wow,... WHY did I pull out the Boulez/DG for listening today? :o Interesting!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 18, 2012, 02:13:32 PM
Wow,... WHY did I pull out the Boulez/DG for listening today? :o Interesting!

Ha!

Here's the previous Markl Naxos Messiaen release:

Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: DieNacht on June 20, 2012, 06:06:23 AM
(http://www.online-oboe.de/Jocy-Messiaen-1.jpg)

Messiaen: 20 Regards / Oliveira-Carvalho / vox 3 LP

Not music it is easy to like - at times sounding more as "Live Report From A Blacksmith´s Workshop" or "Fumbling With Home-Made Carpentry Stuff ...", if one is allowed to say it ... But for a new-comer, some of the slow movements have an austere beauty. Bought this because I liked Oliveira´s "Catalogue d´Oiseaux". Loriod´s mono version of "20 Regards" on the Vega label at times seems better (No.1), but Oliveira is good later on (No.5, for instance).
 
The trick to appreciate this music is probably to try to explore how central motifs appear and are varied throughout the work.
And remember the year of composition: 1944.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Leo K. on January 11, 2013, 12:55:34 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41giVNjKm5L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I recently (had the good luck) to aquire this gigantic box, and as a Messiaen newbie, I'm not sure where to start!

Any ideas?

 8)

Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Brewski on January 11, 2013, 01:15:31 PM
Wow, 32 discs - that's quite a set. If you're in a mood for small, try the Quartet for the End of Time or Le merle noir for flute and piano; if you feel like larger forces, the Turangalîla-Symphonie (1946-1948) is arguably his most famous orchestral work and very representative of his style.

Would probably save the opera, Saint François d'Assise, for later; it's over five hours and to me, requires a great deal of concentration. Ditto the keyboard works, unless you are a big keyboard fan. That said, I do think his organ music - especially - is some of the best ever created for the instrument; Livre du Saint Sacrement is pretty monumental.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: lescamil on January 11, 2013, 01:41:31 PM
The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to go chronologically, going through all the various genres. Lucky for you, Messiaen's earliest works are rather short and there is quite a bit of chamber music, such as the Theme and Variations for Violin and Piano and the 8 Piano Preludes. Just go from there all the way to the Concert à Quatre and you'll really get a sense of the breadth of Messiaen's genius.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Leo K. on January 13, 2013, 06:29:30 AM
Thanks for your ideas gentleman!

I think I'll start with Turangalîla-Symphonie  8)

Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: early grey on January 13, 2013, 02:29:22 PM
You'll find a famous recording of the Turangalila Symphony here

          http://www.cliveheathmusic.co.uk/tapes.php

 from the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Charles Groves with John Ogdon (Piano) and Jeanne Loriod (Ondes Martenot)
Broadcast from the Albert Hall, Wednesday 6 August 1969. Enjoy!
 
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: calyptorhynchus on January 19, 2013, 01:46:09 AM
I enjoy the works of Messiaen that I know, mainly the works inspired by bird-song. As you can guess from my picture I'm a keen bird-watcher.

I do think, however, that Messiaen's works aren't always well conceived for listeners. For example I have always thought that his Catalogue d'oiseaux would be better off orchestrated. It's a mistake to have one instrument playing both the scenery and the bird songs. If the orchestral strings played the scenery music and a solo piano (or piano and other solo instruments) played the bird song, it would be a lot easier to follow. (I've heard many of the birds that Messiaen includes in the wild, but I still get lost in the pieces).

The other thing I've always wanted is a performance of Turangalia without the ondes martenot, such an unpleasant instrument. If we could have a performance where the part for that instrument is played by an  instrument of unusual timbre, like a viola d'amore (and all the chromatic glissandi omitted), I think the piece would be better for it.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 20, 2013, 01:49:57 AM

The other thing I've always wanted is a performance of Turangalia without the ondes martenot, such an unpleasant instrument. If we could have a performance where the part for that instrument is played by an  instrument of unusual timbre, like a viola d'amore (and all the chromatic glissandi omitted), I think the piece would be better for it.


That's rather like saying "I don't much like the sound of the viola, so maybe someone do a performance of Harold en Italie, where the viola part is played by something else?"

Messaien loved the Ondes Martenot and composed for it quite a lot (there are three of them in his opera St Francois d'Assis). I doubt he'd have much truck with a performance that replaced it. Like it or not, the sound of the instrument is woven into the fabric of the score and adds quite a lot to its particular tinta.


Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Leo K. on January 20, 2013, 07:07:40 AM
I recently watched this film about Messiaen and recommend it to anyone who wishes to expand their appreciation of this composer.



Thanks for the tip, I shall seek and find!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: marvinbrown on March 26, 2013, 04:15:27 AM


  Messiaen fans! Figured I'd bump this thread! I just finished listening to the 17CD (the 18th CD is an interview) boxset below.  This was my first encounter with this composer's music.  Messiaen's music is quite possibly the most surreal music I have ever heard! But when in "locks in", as it did with the Petites Esquisses D'oiseaux and Catalogue D'oiseaux  a surreal sound world is created that is quite captivating! Listening in the dark Messiaen's birds came to life in a sound world only he could create. I really enjoyed those piano compositions.

 I was not however particularly fond of the piano solo vocal works, the Poems pour Mi. I think those went over my head,  perhaps I was expecting them to be more "lyrical"......yes I know a mistake when considering the other compositions!  In addition I was unmoved by the organ works. Is anyone here a fan of the Organ works and the Poems pour Mi?

  The orchestral compostions, especially the Couleurs de la Cite Celeste are stunning! I felt like I was floating in the air, on a cloud, in a sci-fi world far removed from the one we live in.

 



 
  marvin
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 26, 2013, 09:50:28 AM
My favorite Messiaen work is L'ascension. For me, it doesn't get much more beautiful than this, but I really enjoy his early work anyway. His later work not so much.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: lescamil on March 27, 2013, 02:04:00 PM
My favorite Messiaen work is L'ascension. For me, it doesn't get much more beautiful than this, but I really enjoy his early work anyway. His later work not so much.

The later work can take a bit more time, listening, and reflection, but I ultimately find it more rewarding. Just watch his St. François d'Assise. It is the closest thing to a religious experience in music. That was his magnum opus, and it really sounds it.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on March 27, 2013, 02:12:52 PM
The later work can take a bit more time, listening, and reflection, but I ultimately find it more rewarding. Just watch his St. François d'Assise. It is the closest thing to a religious experience in music. That was his magnum opus, and it really sounds it.

I'll pass. Thanks, but no thanks.
Title: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: meloaku on March 28, 2013, 12:42:16 PM
My favourite version of Quartet of the end of time is the following:
Messiaen: Quatuor Pour La Fin Du Temps[Import] Quatuor Olivier Messiaen.
I find it compelling and delicate.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: marvinbrown on April 04, 2013, 03:08:11 AM


  Messiaen fans I am still struggling with Messiaen's organ works.  I just can't seem to connect with the spirituality conveyed in these compositions .  Worst yet, I tend to lose concentration and then interest far too easily.  :(

  marvin
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: DaveF on April 08, 2013, 09:36:49 AM
Just bought the 10-CD Boulez/Chung box, worst CD cover and all (£24 on eBay, very nice) and found a work I'd not only never heard but never even heard of - the Concert à Quatre.  What a lovely, peaceful, sweet swansong.  Is it just my ears, or is the theme of the Rondeau a very close relative of "I've got no strings" from Disney's Pinocchio?

DF
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Octave on December 11, 2013, 01:03:07 AM
Does anyone strongly suggest one recording of Oiseaux exotiques (1955-56) above others?  For the moment I know of only two, one from Donohoe and De Leeuw with the Netherlands Wind Ensemble (Chandos) and one with Loriod and Boulez with the Intercontemporain (Naive/Montaigne).  I'm sure Loriod is tough to beat, but I still thought I'd ask, especially if there's an ace recording elsewhere I haven't seen.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51VtrXfAeqL.jpg)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51cKmNHQV2L.jpg)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: amw on December 11, 2013, 01:30:05 AM

  Messiaen fans I am still struggling with Messiaen's organ works.  I just can't seem to connect with the spirituality conveyed in these compositions .  Worst yet, I tend to lose concentration and then interest far too easily.  :(

  marvin

Oddly, I've never warmed to Messiaen's organ music either—the piano works (incl also Preludes, Etudes de rythme, Visions de l'amen & Cantéyodjayâ) and Cinq rechants remain favourites. I think I like the orchestral music most of all, though; it may actually be my favourite 20th century music for orchestra (I'm thinking in particular of Des canyons aux étoiles and Éclairs sur l'au-delà, both about 90 minutes long but can be listened to in chunks if an overdose makes your teeth hurt), though Ligeti, Lachenmann, Dillon and of course Bartók are also on the shortlist.

But then I often have difficulty with organ music, apart from Bach and maybe Sweelinck. So maybe I'm not the most reliable source.

@ Octave I have the one from the 80th birthday concert which is ... *googles furiously* ... actually the same as your Boulez/Loriod one, just with a less purple cover
(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0000/986/MI0000986230.jpg)

It's pretty good.

:\

/edit - As far as the piano music in general goes, apart from Loriod I think most of the recordings from the terrible trio (Aimard, Henck, Schleiermacher) are worth checking out as well. And I remember being more impressed than I expected to be with Angela Hewitt's Messiaen disc, though I think she has just the one, anyway.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: early grey on December 30, 2013, 12:10:48 PM
Charles Groves conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra  in the Turangalila Symphony with John Ogdon (Piano) and Jeanne Loriod (Ondes Martenot) from a BBC prom is available on this page of my site

http://www.cliveheathmusic.co.uk/tapes.php
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on March 11, 2014, 03:22:40 PM
Great performance of a great piece, but watch the percussionist playing the tuned gongs starting around 32:45 in the video.
http://www.youtube.com/v/3f4qdJHatNM
Nice save! He almost made it seem like it was part of the show. I can imagine that these kinds of things happen with percussion instruments rather often.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Ken B on March 11, 2014, 04:23:37 PM
My favorite Messiaen work is L'ascension. For me, it doesn't get much more beautiful than this, but I really enjoy his early work anyway. His later work not so much.
I think we agree John. The big piano cycles and the 3 liturgies, some of the organ are what I like.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: lescamil on March 11, 2014, 10:08:31 PM
Does anyone strongly suggest one recording of Oiseaux exotiques (1955-56) above others?  For the moment I know of only two, one from Donohoe and De Leeuw with the Netherlands Wind Ensemble (Chandos) and one with Loriod and Boulez with the Intercontemporain (Naive/Montaigne).  I'm sure Loriod is tough to beat, but I still thought I'd ask, especially if there's an ace recording elsewhere I haven't seen.(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51VtrXfAeqL.jpg)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51cKmNHQV2L.jpg)

This recording is tops for me. I uploaded this 7 years ago, and I still watch it quite a bit. Great performance in every way!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ht5qqE_e1UE
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Octave on March 11, 2014, 10:22:19 PM
Thanks very much for that, lescamil.
Also I failed to thank amw for the earlier feedback on discs.

Quote from: YT comments-stream denizen
this is not the way music should be composed, this is going back to prehistory of sound. After Rachmaninov, music died!
Actually that whole comments stream is amusing enough to constitute a reward for your efforts.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: bwv 1080 on April 16, 2014, 10:15:32 AM
saw this today - a lost piano piece from the early 60s was discovered last year:

http://www.lepoissonrouge.com/lpr_events/peter-hill-marilyn-nonken-pianos-october-12th-2014/

Quote
Peter Hill’s recital with Marilyn Nonken is a chance to hear the New York premiere of a lost masterpiece by Messiaen, discovered by Peter Hill last year among Messiaen’s sketches. La Fauvette Passerinette was composed in the summer of 1961. It was almost certainly intended as the start of a second cycle of pieces on French birdsongs to go with the Catalogue d’oiseaux (1956–58); but by the end of 1961 Messiaen found himself busy with the first of a succession of orchestral works that would occupy him for the rest of the decade, and La Fauvette Passerinette was put aside and forgotten.
 
The inspiration for La Fauvette Passerinette came from a week in May 1961 that Messiaen spent in the Hérault region of central southern France. Messiaen’s manuscript is in an advanced state of completion, with even the piano fingering in place; passages still in the composer’s shorthand were realised by Hill by cross-referencing to the birdsong notations by Messiaen on which the piece is based. The music shows considerable differences with the earlier Catalogue d’oiseaux, with the birdsong more richly harmonised and with a new sense of development, as the music of the main soloist, the sub-alpine warbler, transforms from the lively but lyrical interplay of the opening into a brilliant, almost jazzily-syncopated closing toccata.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Joaquimhock on April 16, 2014, 11:40:16 AM
saw this today - a lost piano piece from the early 60s was discovered last year:

http://www.lepoissonrouge.com/lpr_events/peter-hill-marilyn-nonken-pianos-october-12th-2014/

It's here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FIDl9ZbLuQ
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on May 09, 2014, 09:38:46 PM
Messiaen wrote a series of short commentaries on each of the Vingt Regards in 1945, I have them in the booklet that comes with Osborne's recording on Hyperion. But in that booklet it says that he went on to expand each commentary. Does anyone know how I can get hold of this expended set of comments, preferably free and online, and preferably in French?

I'm interested in exploring recordings of the music, to see how far they reflect Messiaen's ideas. At the moment, just working with the shorter notes, I'm really impressed by what Håkon Austbø does.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: petrarch on May 10, 2014, 04:46:13 AM
Messiaen wrote a series of short commentaries on each of the Vingt Regards in 1945, I have them in the booklet that comes with Osborne's recording on Hyperion. But in that booklet it says that he went on to expand each commentary. Does anyone know how I can get hold of this expended set of comments, preferably free and online, and preferably in French?

Check pages 212-224 of the following: https://circle.ubc.ca/bitstream/handle/2429/4771/ubc_1996-091554.pdf?sequence=1 (https://circle.ubc.ca/bitstream/handle/2429/4771/ubc_1996-091554.pdf?sequence=1)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on May 10, 2014, 05:09:22 PM
My favorite Messiaen work is L'ascension. For me, it doesn't get much more beautiful than this, but I really enjoy his early work anyway. His later work not so much.
I just came across this post. Thanks! This is a beautiful piece that I'm hearing for the first time now. Reminds me quite a bit of Debussy's "Le Martyre de Saint-Sebastien".

I am really starting to enjoy Messiaen a lot, though there are some things that I don't like about his work. Have you heard his "Et Exspecto Resurrectionem Mortuorem"? I'd highly recommend it if you haven't. Extremely powerful music. Since we were speaking of "landmarks" on the Ligeti orchestral works thread, I'll point out the huge woodwind crescendos and gong-rolls in the third movement of "Et Exspecto..."
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 10, 2014, 05:16:18 PM
I just came across this post. Thanks! This is a beautiful piece that I'm hearing for the first time now. Reminds me quite a bit of Debussy's "Le Martyre de Saint-Sebastien".

I am really starting to enjoy Messiaen a lot, though there are some things that I don't like about his work. Have you heard his "Et Exspecto Resurrectionem Mortuorem"? I'd highly recommend it if you haven't. Extremely powerful music. Since we were speaking of "landmarks" on the Ligeti orchestral works thread, I'll point out the huge woodwind crescendos and gong-rolls in the third movement of "Et Exspecto..."

Glad you enjoyed it, Nate. It is a beautiful work. I haven't heard Et Exspecto Resurrectionem Mortuorem in quite some time. I think there was a point a few years where I went through all of Messiaen's orchestral music. Is this an early work? I can't remember. Anyway, I'll check it out at some point.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on May 10, 2014, 05:26:05 PM
Is this an early work?
No, it is from 1964. I'd say for sure that it is my favorite piece by Messiaen.

What do you think of "Turangalila-Symphonie"?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Ken B on May 10, 2014, 05:28:57 PM

What do you think of "Turangalila-Symphonie"?
Not a total success. Parts I like but overall I always wish it would end. He indulges his penchant for shallowness.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on May 10, 2014, 05:33:00 PM
Not a total success. Parts I like but overall I always wish it would end. He indulges his penchant for shallowness.
That pretty much sums up my feelings exactly. I love the movements I, II, V, and X. The whole thing is really too long for what it is. It does contain some great music, though. I always get the fifth movement "Joy of the Blood of the Stars" stuck in my head. I found myself whistling it in the grocery store the other day! Such a pleasant little tune.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 10, 2014, 05:44:20 PM

What do you think of "Turangalila-Symphonie"?

I never cared for the work. That's all I'll say as I'm trying to be nice. :)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on May 10, 2014, 05:57:37 PM
I never cared for the work. That's all I'll say as I'm trying to be nice. :)
I totally understand, trust me. Even the movements that I like are repetitive to the point of absurdity. I just happen to like (very much, in fact) what is being repeated in those. One thing that really bugs me about the piece is that there are too many bells. If I ever listen to the whole thing, my ears end up ringing after.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Ken B on May 10, 2014, 07:43:22 PM
That's all I'll say as I'm trying to be nice. :)
Variety is the spice of life.


 >:D
 :laugh: :laugh:  :P :laugh:
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 10, 2014, 07:51:15 PM
I totally understand, trust me. Even the movements that I like are repetitive to the point of absurdity. I just happen to like (very much, in fact) what is being repeated in those. One thing that really bugs me about the piece is that there are too many bells. If I ever listen to the whole thing, my ears end up ringing after.

I just think it's a huge mammoth piece that has nothing remotely interesting to say. There's nothing that lingers in my memory after listening to it and it certainly doesn't haunt me in any way. Anyway, that's all I'll say about it.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Ken B on May 10, 2014, 08:08:38 PM
I just think it's a huge mammoth piece that has nothing remotely interesting to say. There's nothing that lingers in my memory after listening to it and it certainly doesn't haunt me in any way. Anyway, that's all I'll say about it.
It's better than Des Canyon aux Etoiles ...
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 10, 2014, 08:12:56 PM
It's better than Des Canyon aux Etoiles ...

What isn't? :P
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: amw on May 10, 2014, 08:19:37 PM
It's better than Des Canyon aux Etoiles ...

I like Des Canyons aux Étoiles. And Éclairs sur l'au-dela. :(

Actually I think I like those two better than the Turangalîla-Symphonie for whatever reason. Less repetitive, perhaps.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on May 11, 2014, 05:01:44 PM
I like Des Canyons aux Étoiles. And Éclairs sur l'au-dela. :(

Actually I think I like those two better than the Turangalîla-Symphonie for whatever reason. Less repetitive, perhaps.
Ohh, I've been meaning to hear "Des Canyons..." for a while. Listening to "Eclairs..." right now.

I just think it's a huge mammoth piece [...]
It's THIS big:
(http://wuol.org/wp-content/uploads/messiaen.jpg)

Last night I was looking through the Messiaen board. I had to resurrect (no pun intended!) this (from page 3):
Quote
Messiaen could write a piece called 12 meditations on the epiphany of the glorious ressurection of the mystical cabbages of God LOL or he could call it Symphony No. 3 [...]
That made me laugh. I think he did write a piece with that title.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Ken B on May 11, 2014, 05:14:48 PM
Ohh, I've been meaning to hear "Des Canyons..." for a while. Listening to "Eclairs..." right now.
It's THIS big:
(http://wuol.org/wp-content/uploads/messiaen.jpg)

Last night I was looking through the Messiaen board. I had to resurrect (no pun intended!) this (from page 3):That made me laugh. I think he did write a piece with that title.
So your taste for the gob-smackingly humongous doesn't extend to titles?
 8)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on May 11, 2014, 05:21:31 PM
So your taste for the gob-smackingly humongous doesn't extend to titles?
 8)
What gives you the idea that it doesn't? I love elaborate titles!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Ken B on May 11, 2014, 06:55:08 PM
What gives you the idea that it doesn't? I love elaborate titles!
Then I suggest "Never will beat La Mer in a poll" as a new name for ...
 :)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on May 12, 2014, 07:09:47 AM
I found love for 'Turangalila' through Nagano on Teldec. Maybe it's the sound?

'Canyons' with Chung (DG)... well, the piece IS somewhat like planetarium music, but I can deal with it. Sure, lots of Messy-Anns work contains huge vats of 'lingering'. hmm...

'Eclairs' with Rattle (EMI). Again, maybe it's the recording,... but, there are quite some cool bits for me here.

Just pick your Messy-Ann carefully and only listen when you're sure you're going to enjoy it. Maybe I'll take 'Turangalila' for a spin later on this beautiful day...
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on May 14, 2014, 05:21:24 PM
Here's a rather hilarious and priceless video of the composer of "Turangalila-Symphonie" imitating bird-calls:
http://www.youtube.com/v/9QdgUJss9BU
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on May 14, 2014, 05:30:34 PM
Here's a rather hilarious and priceless video of the composer of "Turangalila-Symphonie" imitating bird-calls:
http://www.youtube.com/v/9QdgUJss9BU

wow, very animated, surprising! interesting

oo-ee oo-ee oo-ee
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: MishaK on May 14, 2014, 05:54:08 PM
Messy-Ann

Actually, the proper pronunciation is Messy-ah-ungh. That's how Aimard pronounces it. He should know.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on May 15, 2014, 06:51:02 AM
Actually, the proper pronunciation is Messy-ah-ungh, due to the two dots on the ë, which separate the syllables.

Hm, French Wiki doesn't show any two dots:

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olivier_Messiaen

While we're at it, can anyone compare the virtues of the Chung and Rattle recordings of Eclairs?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on May 15, 2014, 07:02:49 AM
Hm, French Wiki doesn't show any two dots:

http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olivier_Messiaen

While we're at it, can anyone compare the virtues of the Chung and Rattle recordings of Eclairs?

I ended up picking Rattle after that question was asked the last time. I don't remember the exchange, but it ended with Rattle. Chung is Chung, but Rattle is Rattle and has Berlin! I used to have Chung back in the day, but I can tell you that there are delicious Berlin moments in the EMI.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on May 15, 2014, 07:12:22 AM
Thanks, I've got the Chung already, but I want to get a different view of this piece. It's certainly vast enough to justify it.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: MishaK on May 15, 2014, 11:33:25 AM
Sorry, I dreamt the two dots. In any case, that's how it's pronounced apparently.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on May 15, 2014, 11:49:45 AM
Check pages 212-224 of the following: https://circle.ubc.ca/bitstream/handle/2429/4771/ubc_1996-091554.pdf?sequence=1 (https://circle.ubc.ca/bitstream/handle/2429/4771/ubc_1996-091554.pdf?sequence=1)



OM's notes are proving to be useful when I'm listening to performances. Does I sound like a commentary on Matthew 3 17 (This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased)? Is II full of mysterious echos of ancient tunes? Is III readable as a commentary on "O marvelous exchange! Man's Creator has become man, born of the Virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity."(From the Little Office of the Virgin Mary)?

I'm sure that many pianists play it casually, romantically. Just doing what they feel like. One pianist who is proving to be interesting because he's clearly taken into account OM's ideas about how to play it is Anton Batagov. And, as with Bach, when you play it like the composer intended you get a better performance.

Another aspect to this is Loriod, whose performances are a bit brutal and pointalist. Simetimes she makes me think of Sciarrino. The reason she can't be ignored is that she had special access to OM's intentions - and she recorded it several times, so I guess she must have felt she had something to say.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on May 15, 2014, 11:58:22 PM
By the way, re Loriod's 20 Regards, here are links to what I think are all three recordings. Can someone verify?

Erato (last)
http://open.spotify.com/album/1oPMiSPgxZxEpdbbTOIeIo

Ades
http://open.spotify.com/album/51TyEG7OJsc4M54u7n9Au9

Wega (First)
http://open.spotify.com/album/27GlXJH0H92GrbF0Fqrbi1

I like the Ades the most I think.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Joaquimhock on May 16, 2014, 06:13:43 AM
Hm, French Wiki doesn't show any two dots:



The actual prononciation by a native speaker can be found here: http://fr.forvo.com/word/olivier_messiaen/#fr
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Joaquimhock on May 16, 2014, 06:15:50 AM
Actually, the proper pronunciation is Messy-ah-ungh. That's how Aimard pronounces it. He should know.

When he speaks English Aimard "tries" to have a British accent.... ;-)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Ken B on May 16, 2014, 07:14:22 AM
The actual prononciation by a native speaker can be found here: http://fr.forvo.com/word/olivier_messiaen/#fr
Coincidentally exactly how I pronounce it. ;)
I guess those years in French class were not a complete waste!  :)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mr Bloom on May 16, 2014, 11:32:55 AM
The actual prononciation by a native speaker can be found here: http://fr.forvo.com/word/olivier_messiaen/#fr
This is how I've always heard it pronounced in France.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on May 16, 2014, 11:43:03 AM
I tend to say the last syllable as a nasal 'engh', i.e. Messia-engh instead of Messiae-ungh (as it is pronounced in the demonstration posted). From what I've heard, they tend to do this in southern France (the southern French accent is a little bit more nasal-sounding).
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Joaquimhock on May 16, 2014, 11:58:28 AM
I tend to say the last syllable as a nasal 'engh', i.e. Messia-engh instead of Messiae-ungh (as it is pronounced in the demonstration posted). From what I've heard, they tend to do this in southern France (the southern French accent is a little bit more nasal-sounding).

Yes, but even if Olivier Messiaen was born in Avignon, he spent his childhood in  the Alps and "Messiaen" is a name of Flemish origin (the majority of the persons called "Messiaen" are located in the North of France. In Flemish it should be pronounced "mess yaan"
Olivier Messiean had no specific accent, and certainly not a meridional accent.

http://www.genealogie.com/nom-de-famille/MESSIAEN.html
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Ken B on May 16, 2014, 01:44:27 PM
I tend to say the last syllable as a nasal 'engh', i.e. Messia-engh instead of Messiae-ungh (as it is pronounced in the demonstration posted). From what I've heard, they tend to do this in southern France (the southern French accent is a little bit more nasal-sounding).
Parley voo frans, eh?

My oldest friend spent a decade in Montreal and the 20 years in Paris. When I met his French wife she was surprised because (while my French is limited) my accent was she said much better than his.  >:D :laugh: :laugh:
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on May 19, 2014, 02:16:43 AM
I watched "Oiseaux Exotiques" on the Berlin DCH the other day. It was my second time hearing it and found it better than the first (seems to be the pattern). The first time I listened to it I was trying to do something else. I can't remember what I was trying to do, but I probably didn't do a very good job. That was probably the mistake -- it is anything but background music.

The only thing I still hated was the ending. He repeats the same loud, ugly chord over and over and over and over and over and over. Enough already!

Any opinions on this piece?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: lescamil on May 19, 2014, 08:18:28 AM
I watched "Oiseaux Exotiques" on the Berlin DCH the other day. It was my second time hearing it and found it better than the first (seems to be the pattern). The first time I listened to it I was trying to do something else. I can't remember what I was trying to do, but I probably didn't do a very good job. That was probably the mistake -- it is anything but background music.

The only thing I still hated was the ending. He repeats the same loud, ugly chord over and over and over and over and over and over. Enough already!

Any opinions on this piece?

This was the piece that introduced me to Messiaen, and I honestly didn't know what was going on the first time I heard it (I was just a dumb teenager), but I kept coming back to it for some unknown reason. I kept listening and couldn't put it down, and here I am, some years later, and I count Messiaen among my all time favorites, and I've gone through just about all of his works with varying levels of appreciation, with this work near the top.

As for the chord, it isn't that ugly!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on May 19, 2014, 11:21:19 AM
There are two Yvonne Loriot recordings of Catalogue d'Oiseaux on spotify. I just listened to Le Loriot. There's a fast one (Vega?) and a slow one (Erato?) I like the fast one.

In his notes Messiaen has all sorts of ideas about how to play it. He says that the song is flowing and golden, that it sounds like the laughter of a foreign prince, that it calls to mind Asia or Africa, or an unknown planet. He says it's full of light and rainbows, and full of Leonardo da Vinci style smiles. He says that music should feel like a nonchalant memory, the memory of gold and rainbows, a memory where the sun itself seems to be the emanation of the bird's song.

I don't think I'm entirely kidding myself when I say that her fast recording captures some of these ideas.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on May 24, 2014, 06:31:29 AM
Thanks, I've got the Chung already, but I want to get a different view of this piece. It's certainly vast enough to justify it.

Had the first listen to the Rattle Eclairs yesterday. I like it more than the Chung, though I haven't compared them closely. Rattle's take has a lot more energy and concentration, and a more powerful orchestra. The sonics are a little too close-up, but that also means things register vividly.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on July 19, 2014, 02:54:36 AM
Last night, my dad and I saw this outstanding documentary on Messiaen called "The Crystal Liturgy". A site called medici.tv has a $1 subscription offer for a month and they had this movie, so it is available to see for $1 if anyone is interested (this month only). It is in French, but there are English subtitles. There is no way I'd be able to understand Messiaen's French -- he talks very quickly and extremely enthusiastically. Really a cool guy -- it isn't hard to see why his students loved him so much.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: petrarch on July 19, 2014, 04:43:47 AM
Last night, my dad and I saw this outstanding documentary on Messiaen called "The Crystal Liturgy". A site called medici.tv has a $1 subscription offer for a month and they had this movie, so it is available to see for $1 if anyone is interested (this month only). It is in French, but there are English subtitles. There is no way I'd be able to understand Messiaen's French -- he talks very quickly and extremely enthusiastically. Really a cool guy -- it isn't hard to see why his students loved him so much.

It is part of the outstanding Juxtapositions series. The one on Boulez is my favorite, but they are all quite good.

Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on October 08, 2014, 05:06:56 PM
Ken, I know that you are a fan of the Trois Petites Liturgies. Yesterday I was doing some comparative listening with the score. Out of the four Spotify recordings, the one that really impresses me is the Cardon. The first movement and middle of the third movement have a beautiful and delicate feel while the rhythmic bookends of the third movement are extremely propulsive -- a little slower than the others, but "heavier". What is your go-to version of this work?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Ken B on October 08, 2014, 06:27:34 PM
Ken, I know that you are a fan of the Trois Petites Liturgies. Yesterday I was doing some comparative listening with the score. Out of the four Spotify recordings, the one that really impresses me is the Cardon. The first movement and middle of the third movement have a beautiful and delicate feel while the rhythmic bookends of the third movement are extremely propulsive -- a little slower than the others, but "heavier". What is your go-to version of this work?
I don't know a lot of them, but I like the early 60s recording with the composer and his wife. Couraud.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on October 15, 2014, 09:35:56 AM
Has anyone explored recordings of the Méditations sur le mystère de la sainte trinité? What are the most interesting ones to hear?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on October 17, 2014, 01:31:22 AM
Has anyone explored recordings of the Méditations sur le mystère de la sainte trinité? What are the most interesting ones to hear?
I haven't heard any of Messiaen's organ works. I don't care for organ music right now, but I'd like to hear a few of his compositions for organ since he is one of my favorite composers and organ music was a crucial part of his output. What would be a good place to start? I was thinking maybe L'ascension since I know the orchestral version very well (I'm aware that the 3rd movements are different).

L'ascension is a fairly conservative piece (much of it reminds me a lot of Debussy's Le Martyre de Saint-Sebastien), so I assume his style changed from there. Does he later use birdsong on the organ? I can't imagine how that would work, though I'm sure it did work if he did it.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on October 17, 2014, 05:39:47 AM
I haven't heard any of Messiaen's organ works. I don't care for organ music right now, but I'd like to hear a few of his compositions for organ since he is one of my favorite composers and organ music was a crucial part of his output. What would be a good place to start? I was thinking maybe L'ascension since I know the orchestral version very well (I'm aware that the 3rd movements are different).

L'ascension is a fairly conservative piece (much of it reminds me a lot of Debussy's Le Martyre de Saint-Sebastien), so I assume his style changed from there. Does he later use birdsong on the organ? I can't imagine how that would work, though I'm sure it did work if he did it.

Well it's impossible for me to answer a question like that. I'm very keen on the late style - the catalogue d'oiseaux, the etudes, St Francis. So it was natural that I would gravitate to the last big cycles. You're just going to have to suck it and see.

I've started to listen to the Livre du saint sacrement now - I think it's astonishing music.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: aukhawk on October 17, 2014, 09:54:53 AM
I haven't heard any of Messiaen's organ works. I don't care for organ music right now, but I'd like to hear a few of his compositions for organ since he is one of my favorite composers and organ music was a crucial part of his output.

Funnily enough, I had records of Messiaen's organ music for about 10 years before I heard anything else he wrote.  And that made him one of my favourite composers too!

The pieces I have (Nativite du Seigneur, Livre d'Orgue, etc) tend to alternate long quiet contemplative passages with huge magisterial block chords.  I enjoy the former and skip the latter.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on October 19, 2014, 07:27:09 AM
I haven't heard any of Messiaen's organ works. I don't care for organ music right now, but I'd like to hear a few of his compositions for organ since he is one of my favorite composers and organ music was a crucial part of his output. What would be a good place to start? I was thinking maybe L'ascension since I know the orchestral version very well (I'm aware that the 3rd movements are different).

L'ascension is a fairly conservative piece (much of it reminds me a lot of Debussy's Le Martyre de Saint-Sebastien), so I assume his style changed from there. Does he later use birdsong on the organ? I can't imagine how that would work, though I'm sure it did work if he did it.

I think you should start at the end, with the Livre du Saint Sacrement, because it's musically very bold, and because there's an easily obtainable recording which is particularly convincing and which is historically important  - Jennifer Bate's . Jennifer Bate created the music, she was supervised by Messiaen while she recorded it, he approved enthusiastically of what she did.


Le Livre du Saint Sacrement is a massive cosmic journey written in an uncompromising and idiosyncratic modernist idiom. It's a major work of art, enormously challenging, which says big things
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: NLK1971 on October 19, 2014, 08:52:50 AM
I think you should start at the end, with the Livre du Saint Sacrement, because it's musically very bold, and because there's an easily obtainable recording which is particularly convincing and which is historically important  - Jennifer Bate's . Jennifer Bate created the music, she was supervised by Messiaen while she recorded it, he approved enthusiastically of what she did.

Indeed, these recordings were reissued recently:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Messiaen-Organ-Works-Jennifer-Bate/dp/B00N7CM0YW



However, the label and standard of presentation are unknown to me.

Personally, the only major organ works of Messiaen's that I've heard are L'ascension and La nativite, but I recall finding them more consistently compelling than the few orchestral works I've listened to.  Perhaps that's because they are earlier works.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on October 19, 2014, 10:46:30 AM
Indeed, these recordings were reissued recently:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Messiaen-Organ-Works-Jennifer-Bate/dp/B00N7CM0YW



However, the label and standard of presentation are unknown to me.

Personally, the only major organ works of Messiaen's that I've heard are L'ascension and La nativite, but I recall finding them more consistently compelling than the few orchestral works I've listened to.  Perhaps that's because they are earlier works.

I'm not convinced that she's as good in all of the other music as she is in the Livre du saint sacrement.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on October 25, 2014, 11:49:38 PM
When Messiaen's mother, Cécile Sauvage,  was pregnant with him, she started to write some poems for her as yet unborn child, a cycle of poems in fact, completed about two years after his birth, and published as L'âme bourgeon.   Olivier cherished these poems, and participated in a recording of them - the poems were recited by Gisèle Casadesus, and OM contributed some improvisations on the organ.

Never commercially off LP, but now transferred privately and available for the taking on symphonyshare. This is a recording which will  interest people who are curious about Messiaen's art and who can understand French.

Years ago two CDs of Messiaen improvising in services at his church, L'église de la trinité.  They are amateur recordings made by someone in the congregation. The CDs have long been impossible to find. These too have been put on symphonyshare.

Another recent discovery has been Susan Landale's recording of Le Livre du Saint Sacrement, a recording as indispensable as Jennifer Bate's, and with better sound.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on November 30, 2014, 05:08:37 PM
The library at my university has 5 of the 7 volumes of Messiaen's amazingly thorough Traite de Rhythme, de Couleur, et d'Ornithologie (tr. "Treatise on Rhythm, Color, and Ornithology"). It is all in French so it is taking me a while to read (I am semi-fluent, but out of practice -- certainly helps to have Google translate open for the words I don't know!). Has anyone heard of it or read it? It is different than the much earlier Techniques of My Musical Language as it was published after he died.

I read through the analysis of the Turangalila-Symphonie and he comes across as a very enthusiastic writer. Confident, but not full of himself (like Boulez can be). I particularly liked his defense of the criticisms for the Joie du Sang des Etoiles (paraphrasing from what I can remember):

This movement seems to have attracted the most criticism. Prudes complain that it is too sensual. Serialists complain that it is too tonal. All as if these are bad things!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on December 02, 2014, 05:11:34 PM
Cross-posted from the 'Purchases' thread -

I couldn't resist:

(http://www.ondes-martenot.net/omdb/image-l/95.jpg)

Bought this for $84 via Presto Classical. One of the best deals I've seen for this set. Now, I own most of the sets of Messiaen. The only ones I'm lacking are the EMI and Naive sets.

Anyone own this set? I'm sure several people do here.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on December 02, 2014, 08:12:38 PM
I will say this and this is my honest assessment of Messiaen: I am not moved by his music at all. In fact, even the slow movements of Quartet for the End of Time didn't even affect me and, from what I've read, these movements contain some of the most hauntingly beautiful music he has composed. Let me also say I'm not here to bash his music or tell anyone else that they're wrong for liking his music, that wouldn't be right on my part. What I am saying is that I've tried to like Messiaen's music, I've seriously tried, but there's a certain aesthetic about his music that seems to rub me the wrong way. I'm still going to try and explore more of his music but I figured I would spill the beans here instead of pretending to be enthusiastic about a composer that has consistently challenged me every step of the way.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on December 03, 2014, 02:29:34 AM
I will say this and this is my honest assessment of Messiaen: I am not moved by his music at all. In fact, even the slow movements of Quartet for the End of Time didn't even affect me and, from what I've read, these movements contain some of the most hauntingly beautiful music he has composed. Let me also say I'm not here to bash his music or tell anyone else that they're wrong for liking his music, that wouldn't be right on my part. What I am saying is that I've tried to like Messiaen's music, I've seriously tried, but there's a certain aesthetic about his music that seems to rub me the wrong way. I'm still going to try and explore more of his music but I figured I would spill the beans here instead of pretending to be enthusiastic about a composer that has consistently challenged me every step of the way.
Fair enough! And you've inspired me to give Schoenberg's Five Pieces another try in the very near future... ;D
(and a few other things that I don't care for -- i.e. Gruppen, Berg's VC, etc.).

There is definitely an odd aesthetic about his music that differs greatly from many other 20C composers. I freely admit that it is 'clank-y' and more than occasionally too repetitive. Many times, this rubs me the wrong way, too. Somehow, though, I find that an overwhelming sense of joy and blinding glory outshines these negative qualities. If someone doesn't get this enough to counteract, then they are probably going to find his music unpleasant to listen to.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Fagotterdämmerung on December 04, 2014, 01:25:49 PM
I will say this and this is my honest assessment of Messiaen: I am not moved by his music at all. In fact, even the slow movements of Quartet for the End of Time didn't even affect me and, from what I've read, these movements contain some of the most hauntingly beautiful music he has composed. Let me also say I'm not here to bash his music or tell anyone else that they're wrong for liking his music, that wouldn't be right on my part. What I am saying is that I've tried to like Messiaen's music, I've seriously tried, but there's a certain aesthetic about his music that seems to rub me the wrong way. I'm still going to try and explore more of his music but I figured I would spill the beans here instead of pretending to be enthusiastic about a composer that has consistently challenged me every step of the way.

Messiaen is my favorite composer, and I think the slow movements of the Quartet are fairly middling in terms of his overall output. They are accessible, especially compared to his mid-century works with heavy birdsong influence, but for moving slow movements I prefer Prière du Christ montant vers son Père from the orchestral L'ascension; its cousin a half-century later in Demeurer dans l’Amour... from Éclairs sur l'au-delà...; or for something more intimate, Les bergers from La Nativité du Seigneur. ( I'm sure I'm going to get my Messiaen fan-club membership revoked for this, I actually prefer the Méditation from Thaïs to Louange à l'Immortalité de Jésus! )

None the less, he went through quite a few different phases in his span, so if you're still curious to explore, what pieces other than the Quartet have you explored? Perhaps we can suggest some works from his oeuvre that might appeal more to your taste?

In general, when introducing friends to his music, I've found that shorter and more intimate pieces are the route to go. Brief works like Diptyque and O Sacrum Convivium are charming vignettes of his work. The toccata of Dieu Parmi Nous is another thing that I've gotten good feedback from, even from some non-classical listening kinds.

There is always the chance that you just might not like anything he's produced, but since there was some lingering curiosity I thought I'd reply.  :)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on December 04, 2014, 01:43:50 PM
Messiaen is my favorite composer, and I think the slow movements of the Quartet are fairly middling in terms of his overall output. They are accessible, especially compared to his mid-century works with heavy birdsong influence, but for moving slow movements I prefer Prière du Christ montant vers son Père from the orchestral L'ascension; its cousin a half-century later in Demeurer dans l’Amour... from Éclairs sur l'au-delà...; or for something more intimate, Les bergers from La Nativité du Seigneur. ( I'm sure I'm going to get my Messiaen fan-club membership revoked for this, I actually prefer the Méditation from Thaïs to Louange à l'Immortalité de Jésus! )

None the less, he went through quite a few different phases in his span, so if you're still curious to explore, what pieces other than the Quartet have you explored? Perhaps we can suggest some works from his oeuvre that might appeal more to your taste?

In general, when introducing friends to his music, I've found that shorter and more intimate pieces are the route to go. Brief works like Diptyque and O Sacrum Convivium are charming vignettes of his work. The toccata of Dieu Parmi Nous is another thing that I've gotten good feedback from, even from some non-classical listening kinds.

There is always the chance that you just might not like anything he's produced, but since there was some lingering curiosity I thought I'd reply.  :)

John (Mirror Image) likes L'ascension (as do I), as far as I remember.

In general, when introducing friends to his music, I've found that shorter and more intimate pieces are the route to go...
In my opinion, there's also nothing wrong with enjoying part of a work. Eclairs... and Canyons... are just sooo long that I often just listen to a few movements at a time.

Fortunately, my favorite Messiaen is Et Exspecto Resurrectionem Mortuorum, which is only about 30 minutes long.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on December 05, 2014, 07:34:26 AM
Messiaen is my favorite composer, and I think the slow movements of the Quartet are fairly middling in terms of his overall output. They are accessible, especially compared to his mid-century works with heavy birdsong influence, but for moving slow movements I prefer Prière du Christ montant vers son Père from the orchestral L'ascension; its cousin a half-century later in Demeurer dans l’Amour... from Éclairs sur l'au-delà...; or for something more intimate, Les bergers from La Nativité du Seigneur. ( I'm sure I'm going to get my Messiaen fan-club membership revoked for this, I actually prefer the Méditation from Thaïs to Louange à l'Immortalité de Jésus! )

None the less, he went through quite a few different phases in his span, so if you're still curious to explore, what pieces other than the Quartet have you explored? Perhaps we can suggest some works from his oeuvre that might appeal more to your taste?

In general, when introducing friends to his music, I've found that shorter and more intimate pieces are the route to go. Brief works like Diptyque and O Sacrum Convivium are charming vignettes of his work. The toccata of Dieu Parmi Nous is another thing that I've gotten good feedback from, even from some non-classical listening kinds.

There is always the chance that you just might not like anything he's produced, but since there was some lingering curiosity I thought I'd reply.  :)

At one point, I listened to all of Messiaen's orchestral oeuvre. Of course, I can't remember all of the works now as it's been about a year or two ago when I listened to Messiaen in that kind of depth. My favorite work of his is one that Nate (EigenUser) mentioned L'ascension. The best thing he wrote IMHO and one that appeals to my own tastes, but even then it's not something I care to listen to that often. To give you an idea of where I'm coming from musically, my top five favorite composers are: Shostakovich, Ravel, Bartok, Vaughan Williams, and Villa-Lobos.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: torut on December 22, 2014, 11:48:56 AM
Does he later use birdsong on the organ? I can't imagine how that would work, though I'm sure it did work if he did it.
Hans-Ola Ericsson's set is accompanied with a nice booklet that explains where birdsongs are used in Messiaen's organ works, and it also contains recordings of real birdsongs. :) These are the works which include passages inspired by birdsongs.

Messe de la Pentecôte (1950)
Livre d'orgue (1951)
Méditations sur le mystère de la Sainte Trinité (1969)
Livre du Saint-Sacrement (1984)

Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: torut on December 22, 2014, 09:46:48 PM
Apparition de l Eglise Eternelle is my favorite organ work, period. It's a layered construction which is essentially one large culmination of a crescendo.

L Ascension and Messe de la Pentecote are also both fantastic.

But for me, and this shows a bias, you cannot go wrong with any of his organ compositions.

Funnily enough, I had records of Messiaen's organ music for about 10 years before I heard anything else he wrote.  And that made him one of my favourite composers too!

The pieces I have (Nativite du Seigneur, Livre d'Orgue, etc) tend to alternate long quiet contemplative passages with huge magisterial block chords.  I enjoy the former and skip the latter.

I enjoyed all the organ works of Messiaen very much. L'ascension is very nice (I like the orchestral version too.) I too love contemplative parts in works such as Les Corps Glorieux. They often feel ethereal.

Although it is the only recording of Messiaen's organ works I have, I think the Ericsson's set is excellent. The organ sound is very clear and beautiful. (Be careful if you buy mp3. The audio files from cduniverse have too many glitches (I don't know about Amazon, Google, etc.), so I purchased the physical CD set. It contains a good 232-page booklet in English, French and German.)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Johnll on December 26, 2014, 05:46:03 PM
W

Another recent discovery has been Susan Landale's recording of Le Livre du Saint Sacrement, a recording as indispensable as Jennifer Bate's, and with better sound.

Bates is the only recording I have ever had. It is ripped to my old pc and and i have not transferred (so I cannot directly compare) but I have been enjoyed Michael Bonaventure on a streamer and my impression it may be better. Have you heard this and have an opinion?  Some where in this thread (I think) you mentioned St Francis. It is encouraging to hear others speak about this piece.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on January 02, 2015, 09:14:16 AM
W
Bates is the only recording I have ever had. It is ripped to my old pc and and i have not transferred (so I cannot directly compare) but I have been enjoyed Michael Bonaventure on a streamer and my impression it may be better. Have you heard this and have an opinion?  Some where in this thread (I think) you mentioned St Francis. It is encouraging to hear others speak about this piece.

I have now heard Michael Bonaventure's Livre du Saint Sacrement and I think it's wonderful, really wonderful. So thanks. Very meditative. Have you heard any other recordings by him?

Re Saint Francis, my problem is that I've never seen a good production. Having said that, quite recently I played the recording with Fischer Dieskau and really enjoyed it.

It reminds me a bit of Parsifal, the rhythm of static and dynamic bits.

Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Johnll on January 03, 2015, 07:45:59 PM
I have now heard Michael Bonaventure's Livre du Saint Sacrement and I think it's wonderful, really wonderful. So thanks. Very meditative. Have you heard any other recordings by him?

Re Saint Francis, my problem is that I've never seen a good production. Having said that, quite recently I played the recording with Fischer Dieskau and really enjoyed it.

It reminds me a bit of Parsifal, the rhythm of static and dynamic bits.

Thanks for giving Bonaventure a listen. I came upon him just sampling alternatives available on my streamer. I have no musical background so my comments are an entirely emotional response. St Francis is a bizarre, much too long piece that might give even Wagner pause. There is some quality there that appeals even though in any objective way it should not. I am thinking of the contrast with Debussy's  Mélisande which is far more “musical”.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Artem on April 06, 2015, 05:10:50 PM
I finished this short book recently about the quartet and the time that Messiaen and musicians who performed his quartet with him spent in the Stalag camp and also about their lives afterwards.

It doesn't go into the more controversial subjects related to Messiaen that are appearing more frequently these days, but there was an interesting point how Messiaen when talking about the creation and premier of the quartet tried to make up some things to make it look more dramatic. There was also a story of how after being freed he didn't go to visit relatives of one of his camp mates, even though other people who were in the camp with him were supporting that family.

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0801441366.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: MishaK on April 08, 2015, 10:50:47 AM
Yo-Yo Ma and friends are playing the Quatuor pour etc. here in Chicago next month, but tix are ridiculously expensive.  :P
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on April 08, 2015, 10:53:47 AM
Yo-Yo Ma and friends are playing the Quatuor pour etc. here in Chicago next month, but tix are ridiculously expensive.  :P

I'm not going to that, but I will go to the CSO's Turangalila (with Salonen) in May.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: MishaK on April 08, 2015, 11:38:18 AM
I'm not going to that, but I will go to the CSO's Turangalila (with Salonen) in May.

Cool. I'm going to the Saturday performances of all three Salonen programs.  :D  That's part of our little DIY subscription. I heard Yo-Yo do the Quatuor with Barenboim and other CSO members at Carnegie 15 years ago!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on April 18, 2015, 01:24:05 AM
I discovered the Poemes Pour Mi a few days ago. I had heard them a couple of months ago but didn't really pay much attention then. They are really nice songs, I think. They sound so French.

I also made it through Harawi yesterday. :blank:
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on May 10, 2015, 01:01:46 AM
Yesterday I heard Messiaen's Fetes des Belles Eaux for six ondes-Martinots. I didn't realize what an involved work that is! I always assumed it was some short piece that he wrote. On the contrary, its scale is more along the lines of the Quartour pour la Fin du Temps.

I was disappointed that there was no glissando (i.e. use of the 'ruban')! I was waiting for it the whole time!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Abuelo Igor on May 10, 2015, 07:43:39 AM
Maybe that's because no flying saucers were coming...  :)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: early grey on June 03, 2015, 04:24:18 AM
On 28th June 2015 a concert took place at the Royal Festival Hall, London. Here are my observations:
"From our vantage point in Row W, we see the keyboards of the Vibes, the Celeste, the Keyed Glockenspiel and the Piano and the Ondes Martinot facing us from beside the cellos. The double basses are backs to the wall on the far side on their dais whereas next to the tall malletman below us are the fair maidens of the back row of the first violins and amazingly considering how packed the rest of the stage is... empty space. "Syrinx" and "La Demoiselle Elue" were before the interval ( I've looked up the D.G.Rossetti poem in our Palgrave ) so now it is the "Turangalîla" under Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia. Wow. I had a silly grin on my face nearly all the way through at the kaleidoscope of sound, at the sheer nerve of the thematic repetition/variation, at the orchestration sounding from time to time like the Charles Ives simultaneous marching bands or the fairground clash of different stalls and their raucous music and at the conductor's confident marshalling of the huge orchestra. I was intrigued by how often the Glock and the piano were in unison providing harmonic and rhythmic punctuation. The audience seemed to like it and (I never do this!) I was on my feet with most of them at the end.

I was reminded of this connection between the conductor and the work:

"Another name for Finland is 'Karjala'. It is interesting that in Sanskrit 'KarjAla' (करजाल) means 'streams of light' which may be a reference to the 'northern lights' or 'auroras' visible in Finland." Hence "Karelia" ?

Turangalîla is a combination of two Sanskrit words: turanga, meaning time and the more difficult to translate lîla, meaning love but also the play that is life and death."
 
Geoff Brown of the "Times" (UK) said ".. for this was the tastiest, most incandescent live performance of the monster that I've certainly heard."

You can hear for yourself on BBC i-Player, this is the link, valid for 24 days

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05w80vk

and a reminder that the Charles Groves, John Ogdon, Jeanne Loriot, BBC SO performance  from 1969 is to be found here:

http://www.cliveheathmusic.co.uk/tapes.php
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: North Star on June 03, 2015, 04:32:26 AM
I was reminded of this connection between the conductor and the work:

"Another name for Finland is 'Karjala'. It is interesting that in Sanskrit 'KarjAla' (करजाल) means 'streams of light' which may be a reference to the 'northern lights' or 'auroras' visible in Finland." Hence "Karelia" ?
Karjala / Karelia is not 'another name for Finland'. It's a part of Eastern Finland that was mostly stolen by the Soviet Union during & after the wars. In the 18th century and before it was often enough under Russian rule and the culture has always been heavily influenced by the Orthodox Church compared to the rest of Finland.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: CRCulver on June 03, 2015, 04:52:47 AM
Quote from: early grey link=topic=5203.msg897722#msg897722
"Another name for Finland is 'Karjala'. It is interesting that in Sanskrit 'KarjAla' (करजाल) means 'streams of light' which may be a reference to the 'northern lights' or 'auroras' visible in Finland." Hence "Karelia"?

Did you get that from this crackpot site (http://vediccafe.blogspot.ro/2013_02_01_archive.html)? It’s just the usual Hindutva pseudoscience. Karjala isn’t another name for Finland. It’s the Finnish-language name for Karelia, a territory that covers part of Eastern Finland and northwestern Russia. In any event, there is no relationship between the two languages in this respect. The Finnish name Karjala is believed to derive from an old military context and is ultimately borrowed from Germanic harja- ‘horde’. As for the Sanskrit, the word is actually karajāla, not “KarjAla”, and no connection with the Finnish is possible: j (this letter is used to represent a different sound than the j in Finnish) in Sanskrit always comes from an earlier g.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: early grey on June 03, 2015, 06:13:47 AM
Are you saying there are no similarities between the two languages or that I've been misled in this one respect? in which case I apologise. Do you like the music?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: North Star on June 03, 2015, 06:25:12 AM
Are you saying there are no similarities between the two languages or that I've been misled in this one respect? in which case I apologise. Do you like the music?
There are no similarities between Finnish and Sanskrit.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Ken B on June 03, 2015, 12:06:03 PM
Karjala / Karelia is not 'another name for Finland'. It's a part of Eastern Finland that was mostly stolen by the Soviet Union during & after the wars. In the 18th century and before it was often enough under Russian rule and the culture has always been heavily influenced by the Orthodox Church compared to the rest of Finland.

Calling it stolen is naked aggression towards poor beleaguered Russia.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: North Star on June 03, 2015, 03:21:27 PM
Calling it stolen is naked aggression towards poor beleaguered Russia.
I suppose I should thank Lenin for letting Finland declare itself independent at all. Of course he thought Finland would soon turn into a soviet state out of its own will.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Ken B on June 03, 2015, 03:31:00 PM
I suppose I should thank Lenin for letting Finland declare itself independent at all. Of course he thought Finland would soon turn into a soviet state out of its own will.
Instead a century of Finnish aggression. Probably signed treaties and everything.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: North Star on June 03, 2015, 03:31:34 PM
Instead a century of Finnish aggression. Probably signed treaties and everything.
With some bartender, I should imagine.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on June 24, 2015, 12:56:46 AM
Not sure if this has been posted, but this is a very interesting (though short) guide to birdsong.

http://www.oliviermessiaen.org/messiaen2index.htm

Side-by-side examples (recordings) of actual birdsong with the corresponding Messiaen transcription. I live in the mid-Atlantic (US) and I easily recognize the Baltimore oriole, Virginia cardinal, and wood thrush. In fact, I live by the woods and there is a wood thrush singing outside my apartment every morning (including right now)!
Title: Messiaen "Turangalila" w/Dudamel, live from Luxembourg from Jan. 10
Post by: Brewski on January 13, 2016, 06:05:01 PM
(Also posted in the WAYLT thread)

Recorded just 3 nights ago in Luxembourg, here is Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphonie with Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, with Yuja Wang on piano, and Cynthia Millar on ondes martenot. So far, fabulous.

http://concert.arte.tv/de/gustavo-dudamel-dirige-la-turangalila-symphonie-dolivier-messiaen

--Bruce
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: lescamil on January 13, 2016, 09:25:11 PM
I'm disgusted with Yuja Wang's playing and part of me feels sick that she would attempt a work I love so much, but the other part of me is so curious as to what she and Dudamel can do with it. If Aimard could play the work at 19 and do very well with it, anything is possible.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) LES CANYONS.......
Post by: snyprrr on January 16, 2016, 08:51:44 AM
Took 'Les Canyons...' (Chung) for a spin. Yea, this whole piece is somewhat spare, and I'm starting to enjoy the solo piano sections better.I a way, I CAN see the moonlit, starry skies in the music, though, moreso in the "spaces". tHE WHOLE PIECE KIND OF ALSO REMINDS ME OF A 70S SCI-FI.... MAYBE 60S iTALIAN SCI-FI.... 9ack) but it's all very angular, modern, and yet very controlled and polite, though jarring....


why am i writing this??? oy vey


WHAT IS THE SINGLE BEST INTRO TO HIS PIANO MUSIC? PLAYER AND SOUND OF UTMOST IMPORT.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) LES CANYONS.......
Post by: EigenUser on January 16, 2016, 10:53:58 AM
Took 'Les Canyons...' (Chung) for a spin. Yea, this whole piece is somewhat spare, and I'm starting to enjoy the solo piano sections better.I a way, I CAN see the moonlit, starry skies in the music, though, moreso in the "spaces". tHE WHOLE PIECE KIND OF ALSO REMINDS ME OF A 70S SCI-FI.... MAYBE 60S iTALIAN SCI-FI.... 9ack) but it's all very angular, modern, and yet very controlled and polite, though jarring....


why am i writing this??? oy vey


WHAT IS THE SINGLE BEST INTRO TO HIS PIANO MUSIC? PLAYER AND SOUND OF UTMOST IMPORT.

Isn't it a wonderful piece? I will admit that I have the opposite reaction that you have. In particular, I feel that the 2nd solo piano movement (movement 9) is painfully long.

That slow (8th) movement, though! One of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. The cover of the scores that I have for the piece depict it so well:
(http://i.prs.to/sm/t/orig/ump-19462.jpg)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) LES CANYONS.......
Post by: Mandryka on January 17, 2016, 11:58:26 AM


WHAT IS THE SINGLE BEST INTRO TO HIS PIANO MUSIC? PLAYER AND SOUND OF UTMOST IMPORT.

Paul Jacobs playing the Quatre Etudes De Rythme.

Peter Hill playing La fauvette passerinette

Anton Batagov playing the 20 Regards

Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Dax on January 17, 2016, 03:57:48 PM
Thomas Rajna playingRegard de l'esprit de joie

Yvonne Loriod playing the Preludes

Somebody playing Canteyodjaya
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) LES CANYONS.......
Post by: Chronochromie on January 17, 2016, 06:22:26 PM
WHAT IS THE SINGLE BEST INTRO TO HIS PIANO MUSIC? PLAYER AND SOUND OF UTMOST IMPORT.

The early Preludes played by Loriod or maybe Visions de l'Amen for two pianos played by the Labèque sisters.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) LES CANYONS.......
Post by: SimonNZ on January 17, 2016, 07:36:41 PM

WHAT IS THE SINGLE BEST INTRO TO HIS PIANO MUSIC? PLAYER AND SOUND OF UTMOST IMPORT.

The best introduction is straight into the deep end:

Catalogue d'Oiseaux performed by Yvonne Loroid...played so loud its like you're inside the instrument, awash in every overtone and decay

(http://i.ebayimg.com/images/a/%28KGrHqZHJB!E8e0p4K!IBPLwu%286jPw~~/s-l300.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61%2B2vsQX8%2BL._SY300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Chronochromie on January 17, 2016, 08:20:24 PM
One must keep in mind that Loriod made two recordings of Catalogue d'oiseaux. The one in the Messiaen Edition is generally slower than the other one that I found on Spotify with this cover:

(https://images-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61fug9GhKKL._SS280.jpg)

I prefer this one, but the sound is worse than the one in the Messiaen Edition.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Monsieur Croche on January 17, 2016, 09:23:15 PM
My two cents:

Vingt Regards Sur L'Enfant-Jésus ~ Roger Muraro, piano.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on January 17, 2016, 10:29:14 PM
One must keep in mind that Loriod made two recordings of Catalogue d'oiseaux. The one in the Messiaen Edition is generally slower than the other one that I found on Spotify with this cover:

(https://images-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61fug9GhKKL._SS280.jpg)

I prefer this one, but the sound is worse than the one in the Messiaen Edition.

Yes I preferred the fast one.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on January 17, 2016, 10:30:01 PM

Somebody playing Canteyodjaya

Who? I couldn't think of anyone when I made my list.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on January 17, 2016, 10:33:52 PM
Thomas Rajna playingRegard de l'esprit de joie



Never off LP, right?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: SimonNZ on January 18, 2016, 01:28:27 AM
One must keep in mind that Loriod made two recordings of Catalogue d'oiseaux. The one in the Messiaen Edition is generally slower than the other one that I found on Spotify with this cover:

(https://images-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61fug9GhKKL._SS280.jpg)

I prefer this one, but the sound is worse than the one in the Messiaen Edition.

Would that have started life as this box?:

(http://img.cdandlp.com/2013/01/imgL/115831751.jpg)

I'll try and find that in some form and give it a listen. But your last comment may be a deal breaker for me: this is a work that requires a very high level of sonic clarity.

Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Dax on January 18, 2016, 03:51:18 AM
Who? I couldn't think of anyone when I made my list.

The two performances I remember with some affection are both 1960s (I think) - Ronald Lumsden and John Ogdon (very fast!).
I suppose Peter Hill has recorded it, but I really don't rate his playing (e.g., compare his Preludes with those of Loriod).

Any other contenders?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Dax on January 18, 2016, 03:52:35 AM
Never off LP, right?

I think that's right. Does anybody have it?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: bwv 1080 on January 19, 2016, 04:55:58 AM
This is The recording to get

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/073/MI0001073472.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) VISION DE L'AMEN CATALOG POLL
Post by: snyprrr on January 19, 2016, 03:15:33 PM
Thomas Rajna playingRegard de l'esprit de joie

Yvonne Loriod playing the Preludes

Somebody playing Canteyodjaya
Paul Jacobs playing the Quatre Etudes De Rythme.

Peter Hill playing La fauvette passerinette

Anton Batagov playing the 20 Regards
The early Preludes played by Loriod or maybe Visions de l'Amen for two pianos played by the Labèque sisters.
The best introduction is straight into the deep end:

Catalogue d'Oiseaux performed by Yvonne Loroid...played so loud its like you're inside the instrument, awash in every overtone and decay

(http://i.ebayimg.com/images/a/%28KGrHqZHJB!E8e0p4K!IBPLwu%286jPw~~/s-l300.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61%2B2vsQX8%2BL._SY300_.jpg)
My two cents:

Vingt Regards Sur L'Enfant-Jésus ~ Roger Muraro, piano.
The two performances I remember with some affection are both 1960s (I think) - Ronald Lumsden and John Ogdon (very fast!).
I suppose Peter Hill has recorded it, but I really don't rate his playing (e.g., compare his Preludes with those of Loriod).

Any other contenders?
This is The recording to get

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/073/MI0001073472.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

OK, are we having a fully fledged Messiaen-a-thon of Piano Music? Good! I have done just a little collating:

And, to be clear, I'm more concerned with the 3 Big Works: 'Visions', 'Regards', and 'Catalogue d'... though I rate the 4 Etudes and Caty-Jody(?!?!) very highly.

So, Let's get to it:

VISIONS DE L'AMEN


1) Nonken/Rothenberg
2) Osbourne + (Hyperion)
3) Serkin/Takahashi (RCA)... IS THIS THE ONE EVERYONE RAVES ABOUT???
4) Ogden/Lucas
5) Pianoduo (Channel Classics)
6) Labeque (Erato)
7) Messiaen/Loriod
8) Duo'd Accord
9) Argerich/Rabino...(EMI)... I've heard this one, but can't remember, comment
10) Ausbo + (Naxos)
11) Oppens/Lowenthal
12) Wergo
13) Guild
14) Kim/Kim ( Centaur)
15) Hill + (Unicorn-K)
16) Bon/de Leeuw (Montaigne)
17) Double Edge(?) (New Albion)- I remember not thinking much of this one, in the day... sound to dry perhaps?
18) Elizabeth ______ LP?

19) Muraro?????NO recording??
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on January 19, 2016, 03:28:34 PM
VIGNT REGARDS


1) Osbourne (Hyperion)
2) Serkin (RCA)
3) Aimard (SONY)... of course I wonder how good the sound is... though, is he "soft"?
4) Austbo (Naxos)
5) Loriod (ERato)
6) Chauveau
7) Beroff (EMI)... criticism?
8) Zehn (Arts)
9) Ogden (Decca)
10) MacGregor (Collins)
11) Hewitt excepts (Hyp.)
12) Knapik
13) Batagov- I hear things about this one!! but the sound can't be all that, huh?,......
14) MacGregor 2.0 ???????
15) Wergo
16) Muraro No.2
17) Hersch
18) Chew
19) Hill (Unicorn-K)
20) Troup
21) Bessette (Atma)
22) Alice Ader (Adda)
23) joiuzapenade-eeemean???
24) Groslot (Fidelio)
25) Mikhail Rudi*** hey- he's pretty good, I wonder what this sounds like
26) de Oliviera
27) Pierre Reach
28) Carl-Axel Dominique
29) Muraro No.1 (1981)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) CATALOG OF BIRDSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
Post by: snyprrr on January 19, 2016, 03:35:23 PM
CATALOG OF BIRDS


1) Ausbo (Naxos)
2) Ugorski (DG)... yea, but I hear criticism that he's "soft"
3) Hill (Unicorn-K)
4) Muraro (Accord)... they say he's "verrry quiet, but plays fast well when needed"... they chose him over Zehn or Ausbo...
5) Kodama... sounds soft on the samples...
6) Carl-Axel Dominique (BIS).... reviewer liked the clangy quality here, compared with Zehn and Austbo...
7) de Oliviera Carvalho
8) Zehn (Arts)
9) Loriod (Erato)... I hear this one is verrry loud - clangy.... howz the sound?



ok, computy wont allow.... uh... so, let's at it on these three works....
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on January 19, 2016, 03:48:27 PM
I would prefer the most alien piano style with the most scintillating sound.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 19, 2016, 04:31:08 PM
I would prefer the most alien piano style with the most scintillating sound.
Why, of course you do.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on January 19, 2016, 10:20:18 PM
VIGNT REGARDS


1) Osbourne (Hyperion)
2) Serkin (RCA)
3) Aimard (SONY)... of course I wonder how good the sound is... though, is he "soft"?
4) Austbo (Naxos)
5) Loriod (ERato)
6) Chauveau
7) Beroff (EMI)... criticism?
8) Zehn (Arts)
9) Ogden (Decca)
10) MacGregor (Collins)
11) Hewitt excepts (Hyp.)
12) Knapik
13) Batagov- I hear things about this one!! but the sound can't be all that, huh?,......
14) MacGregor 2.0 ???????
15) Wergo
16) Muraro No.2
17) Hersch
18) Chew
19) Hill (Unicorn-K)
20) Troup
21) Bessette (Atma)
22) Alice Ader (Adda)
23) joiuzapenade-eeemean???
24) Groslot (Fidelio)
25) Mikhail Rudi*** hey- he's pretty good, I wonder what this sounds like
26) de Oliviera
27) Pierre Reach
28) Carl-Axel Dominique
29) Muraro No.1 (1981)

Batagov sounds excellent.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on January 19, 2016, 10:24:38 PM
I would prefer the most alien piano style with the most scintillating sound.

In terms of composition, catalogue d'oiseaux is the most alien style, it's really difficult music. To appreciate it you need a detailed tourist guide of all the regions of France mentioned, OM's notes,,and a recording of the bird noises. Does it repay the effort?  - A toi de voir.

Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on January 20, 2016, 07:06:45 AM
In terms of composition, catalogue d'oiseaux is the most alien style, it's really difficult music. To appreciate it you need a detailed tourist guide of all the regions of France mentioned, OM's notes,,and a recording of the bird noises. Does it repay the effort?  - A toi de voir.

I don't know why, but all of a sudden I've opened up to Messiaen's uniquely clangorous Piano Music. I guess I'm finally "ready" for it. Yea, I've got a real achin for the 'Catalog' right now...

either way, quite an impressive lineup of artists there...
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 20, 2016, 07:10:06 AM
I don't know why, but all of a sudden I've opened up to Messiaen's uniquely clangorous Piano Music.

Cool.

http://www.youtube.com/v/DHqvZk4mQs4
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Parsifal on January 20, 2016, 07:27:09 AM
In terms of composition, catalogue d'oiseaux is the most alien style, it's really difficult music. To appreciate it you need a detailed tourist guide of all the regions of France mentioned, OM's notes,,and a recording of the bird noises. Does it repay the effort?  - A toi de voir.

Oddly enough, I appreciated it by listening to it.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 20, 2016, 07:31:26 AM
Oddly enough, I appreciated it by listening to it.

I endorse this approach.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on January 20, 2016, 09:33:08 AM
It's the structure of the catalogue d'oiseaux pieces which is tough. Without the tourist guide and notes, it's just so much note spinning IMO. This is programme music after all, and hence you need to get your head round the programme.

In this and in 20 Regards, I think Messiaen's texts and his music are inseparable. Just as with the titles of the Debussy preludes. He did, I think, publish the commentaries with the music in catalogue d'oiseaux.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Parsifal on January 20, 2016, 10:41:45 AM
The bird songs gave him motifs that stimulated his musical imagination. That is a sufficient basis for me to enjoy the work. Knowing more of the actual birds and their natural songs may well contribute to one's appreciation of the work, but I do not feel any lack of satisfaction for not knowing them.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Chronochromie on January 21, 2016, 02:44:00 PM
It's the structure of the catalogue d'oiseaux pieces which is tough. Without the tourist guide and notes, it's just so much note spinning IMO. This is programme music after all, and hence you need to get your head round the programme.

In this and in 20 Regards, I think Messiaen's texts and his music are inseparable. Just as with the titles of the Debussy preludes. He did, I think, publish the commentaries with the music in catalogue d'oiseaux.

Do bear in mind that Debussy did not mean for the Preludes to be programme music. He put the titles are at the end of each Prelude.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: SimonNZ on January 21, 2016, 02:57:06 PM
The bird songs gave him motifs that stimulated his musical imagination. That is a sufficient basis for me to enjoy the work. Knowing more of the actual birds and their natural songs may well contribute to one's appreciation of the work, but I do not feel any lack of satisfaction for not knowing them.

+1. This. Exactly.

Also: I've never heard the Debussy Preludes as "programme" music, and would never want to. Which doesn't then make it merely "just so much note-spinning". And simply giving a piece a title isn't enough it make it programme music, is it? Doesn't that require a bit more of story than a passing glimpse or impression?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on January 22, 2016, 08:27:19 AM
In the case of catalogue d'oiseaux, it's much more than a brief title at the end. It's a humongous description of a scene in a specific geography, often with a long time span. They're sometimes performed with narrator. They're as much programme music as The Domestic Symphony.

I'd be interested if anyone thinks of them differently. I've often wondered if they are spiritual in some sense, given the leanings of the composer.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on January 22, 2016, 11:16:08 AM
I'd be interested if anyone thinks of them differently. I've often wondered if they are spiritual in some sense, given the leanings of the composer.
Good point. Messiaen's use of birdsong is absolutely spiritual. He strongly believed that God was everywhere and spoke through nature. You can easily see this in the text (which he wrote) to the 3rd of the Trois Petites Liturgies (which is partly why I think it is his most important composition -- it gives insight into his beliefs that permeated his entire output). Here's an English translation of parts of the movement (from CSO program notes):

Whole in all places,
Whole in each place,
Bestowing being upon each place,
On all that occupies a place,
The successive you is omnipresent,
In these spaces and times that you
created,
These satellites of your Gentleness.

Place yourself, like a seal, on my
heart.

[...]

In the rainbow, with one wing after the
other,
(Blind sash around Saturn),
Present in the hidden race of my
cells,
In the blood that repairs its banks,
Present , through Grace, in your
Saints.

(Interpretations of your Word,
Precious stones in the in the wall of
Freshness)
Place yourself, like a seal, on my
heart.

[etc...]
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on January 24, 2016, 10:55:27 AM
http://d97bcfa3.cm-3-4d.dynamic.ziggo.nl/scores/M/Messiaen,%20Olivier/Messiaen%20-%20Catalogue%20d'Oiseaux%20Book%203.pdf


The above commentary on La Chouette Houlotte emphasises scariness - words like terrifying, heart beating too quickly,
painful, lugubrious, and at the end the shriek of a murdered child. So I thought I'd kill some time searching for the most scary version on record.

There are tons of these things on spotify, but from this point of view (ie over the top melodrama) they were disappointing, apart from one pianist, two versions.

My vote goes to Loriod - both recordings seemed good, the short and the long.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on January 24, 2016, 03:13:23 PM
Cool.

http://www.youtube.com/v/DHqvZk4mQs4

well, frankly, that's the one Messiaen Piano  Piece that is his single best, and everyone knows it, that's why I wanted to limit to the Big3 opusses.

So far, my favorite of the new recent crop of listening to the Bird catalog: Loriot No.1 (NOT the regular Erato version, but the LP with the blues grey and white cover shown earlier in this Thread) and de Oliviera on Naxos (not Ausbtbo??).

In terms of composition, catalogue d'oiseaux is the most alien style, it's really difficult music. To appreciate it you need a detailed tourist guide of all the regions of France mentioned, OM's notes,,and a recording of the bird noises. Does it repay the effort?  - A toi de voir.


[/quote

I'm feeling that I can now hear those things without all the... lol... "bother"... (yes, it's like that!! lol)...

http://d97bcfa3.cm-3-4d.dynamic.ziggo.nl/scores/M/Messiaen,%20Olivier/Messiaen%20-%20Catalogue%20d'Oiseaux%20Book%203.pdf


The above commentary on La Chouette Houlotte emphasises scariness - words like terrifying, heart beating too quickly,
painful, lugubrious, and at the end the shriek of a murdered child. So I thought I'd kill some time searching for the most scary version on record.

There are tons of these things on spotify, but from this point of view (ie over the top melodrama) they were disappointing, apart from one pianist, two versions.

My vote goes to Loriod - both recordings seemed good, the short and the long.

I liked the one with the blue/grey/white LP. I guess that one's just available in DaBiGBoX? I really liked the tight acoustic for once.





Have you heard Carl-Axel D. on BIS?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on January 25, 2016, 12:58:45 PM

Have you heard Carl-Axel D. on BIS?

I've only heard Carl-Axel Dominique playing La Chouette Houlotte and I wasn't very impressed.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on January 25, 2016, 01:03:56 PM
de Oliviera on Naxos (not Ausbtbo??).



What's that?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on February 01, 2016, 03:16:55 AM
Posted this in the listening thread, but I don't want it to get lost there:

A Messiaen work that I highly recommend is his Le Tombeau Resplendissant. It is an early orchestral work (even earlier than L'Ascension) that is unfortunately neglected. While he never removed it from his catalogue, Messiaen apparently never wanted it played or even discussed. The study score wasn't published until 1997 (5 years after his death). I have no idea why he felt this way. It is such an exciting and interesting work.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on February 01, 2016, 08:35:41 AM
What's that?

It seems there's an MP3 Naxos version with this deOliviera lady, but it doesn't seem to be an extant CD??? But, was it originally on LP??? This one is a bit shadowy...


I still haven't pulled on the Catalog yet... waiting on absolute final confirmation.... uh, and $$$, lol!!


I would've thought Roger Woodward would have recorded these.... how that would've sounded, I don't know...
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: EigenUser on July 31, 2016, 04:07:46 PM
Over the past year I spent some time orchestrating the 10th of the Vingt Regards. In case anyone is interested, here is a computer-generated recording: https://soundcloud.com/eigenuser/orchestration-olivier-messiaen-regard-de-lespirit-de-joie-from-vingt-regards

(Warning to Ken: it is unabashedly bloated)

I might add an optional part for an ondes-Martinot.

Piccolo
4 Flutes
3 Oboes
1 English Horn
3 Clarinets
2 Bass Clarinets

4 Bassoons
6 Horns in F
4 Trumpets in C
4 Trombones
1 Tuba

Celesta
Glockenspiel (either 1 keyboard glockenspiel or 2 mallet glockenspiels)
Solo Piano

2 Sets of Tubular Bells (one player each)

6 (?) Percussionists:
   Crash Cymbal
   Suspended Cymbal
   Chinese Cymbal
   Tam-tam
   Tambourine
   Maracas
   Triangle
   Woodblock (should be a “hollow” sound with a relatively low pitch, but not too low)
   Bass Drum

16 1st Violins
16 2nd Violins
14 Violas
14 Cellos
10 Double Basses

TOTAL = ~114 players
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: lescamil on July 31, 2016, 08:17:44 PM
Over the past year I spent some time orchestrating the 10th of the Vingt Regards. In case anyone is interested, here is a computer-generated recording: https://soundcloud.com/eigenuser/orchestration-olivier-messiaen-regard-de-lespirit-de-joie-from-vingt-regards

(Warning to Ken: it is unabashedly bloated)

I might add an optional part for an ondes-Martinot.

Piccolo
4 Flutes
3 Oboes
1 English Horn
3 Clarinets
2 Bass Clarinets

4 Bassoons
6 Horns in F
4 Trumpets in C
4 Trombones
1 Tuba

Celesta
Glockenspiel (either 1 keyboard glockenspiel or 2 mallet glockenspiels)
Solo Piano

2 Sets of Tubular Bells (one player each)

6 (?) Percussionists:
   Crash Cymbal
   Suspended Cymbal
   Chinese Cymbal
   Tam-tam
   Tambourine
   Maracas
   Triangle
   Woodblock (should be a “hollow” sound with a relatively low pitch, but not too low)
   Bass Drum

16 1st Violins
16 2nd Violins
14 Violas
14 Cellos
10 Double Basses

TOTAL = ~114 players

Very interesting! Do you have a score for us to look at?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on September 15, 2016, 08:50:40 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gq-nnAjLIxc&list=FLywAvBRNesAwgjv_zxLtxAA

The above is from le merle bleu complete with Messaien's commentary in French and some images of the landscape.

Quote
Au mois de juin. Le Roussillon, la Côte Vermeille. Près de Banyuls : cap l'Abeille, cap Rederis. Surplomb des falaises, au dessus de la mer bleu de prusse et bleu saphir. Cris des Martinets Noirs, clapotis de l'eau. Les caps s'allongent dans la mer comme des crocodiles. Dans une anfractuosité de rocher qui fait écho, le Merle Bleu chante. Il est d'un autre bleu que la mer : bleu violacé, ardoisé, satiné, bleu noir. Presque exotique, rappelant les musiques Balinaises, son chant se mêle au bruit des vagues. On entend aussi le Cochevis de Thékla qui papillonne dans le ciel au dessus des vignobles et du romarin. Les Goélands Argentés hurlent au loin sur la mer. Les falaises sont terribles. L'eau vient mourir à leur pied dans le souvenir du Merle Bleu.

June. In the Roussillon, the Côte Vermeille. Near Banyuls : cap l'Abeille, cap Rederis. Cliffs overhanging, above the prussian blue and sapphire blue sea. Cries of Black Swifts, lapping of the water. The cliffs stretch out into the sea like crocodiles. In a rock crevice which echoes the blue merle sings. It's another sort of blue than the sea, violet blue, slate blue, satin-like, black blue. Almost exotic, calliing to mind the music of Bali, its song becomes mixed with the noise of the waves. You can also hear the Cochevis de Thékla(?) which flutters through the sky above vines and rosemary bushes. The silver seagulls scream out from far away on the sea. The cliffs are terrible. The water comes to die at their feet in memory of the blue merle.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Androcles on November 01, 2016, 01:05:21 PM
To this day, still one of the most important composers to me.  8)

Mark Morris describes him and Mahler as the two colossae of the century. Probably fairly accurate. To my mind, he is one of very few 'advanced' composers who might be able to reach a fairly broad cross-section of listeners. And most of the others I'n thinking of there wrote rather cinematic music.
Title: Re: Olivier Messaien (1908-1992)
Post by: Cato on November 08, 2016, 04:43:56 AM
To this day, still one of the most important composers to me.  8)

If you like Messaien, then you need to know the organ works of Louis Vierne, especially the later organ symphonies, although even the First Organ Symphony shows a tendency toward stretching harmonic possibilities.

Compare, e.g. parts of Messaien's Visions de l'Amen with Louis Vierne's Carillon of Westminster.

https://www.youtube.com/v/vvXddUK7I4k

https://www.youtube.com/v/ucZhSNVue0g

Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Maestro267 on November 08, 2016, 11:50:36 AM
Currently listening to the Turangalîla-Symphonie. This remains easily my favourite Messiaen work, as much as I enjoy the others I've heard. It was the first work of his I read about (I love the idea that, with no limit to the commission to write the work, he chose to go all-out and write this enormous work). The eerie sound of the ondes Martenot, the incredible piano writing, and the way it interacts with the percussion, are some of my favourite aspects of the work.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Todd on December 05, 2016, 11:08:28 AM
I had the good fortune to attend a performance of the Turangalila Symphonie this past Saturday, with soloists Steven Osborne and Cynthia Millar, the same due that feature in the Hyperion recording.  I enjoy this work, but listen to it only rarely.  In person, it was almost overwhelming in scale and volume.  Not since an ear-splitting performance of DSCH 11 have I attended a classical concert so loud.  Many members of the audience covered their ears during crescendos and whenever the ondes Martenot really got cranking.  Orchestral playing was top flight - I'm not sure the Oregon Symphony could have pulled it off before Carlos Kalmar whipped them into shape - and both main soloists sounded swell.  (I'd love to hear Osborne play some of the Vingt Regards in person.)  It was an AV concert, with special animation and projections put together by local artists, which projected onto the entire front quarter of the auditorium during a couple movements.  Parts of the visuals were good, some less good, but the music was superb.  The opening Tristan Prelude/Liebestod was somewhat superfluous, but still lovely.  If ever I hear this work in person again, I may take earplugs, or sit way in the back.

I picked up the Hyperion release while in attendance, and plan to give it a spin in the next few weeks to see how it stacks up.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on December 05, 2016, 11:25:27 AM
I had the good fortune to attend a performance of the Turangalila Symphonie this past Saturday, [...]

Thanks for the review. Was Kalmar conducting this one? Sounds like you are lucky to have him in Oregon - I certainly appreciate having him at Grant Park during the summer.

I've heard the piece twice, both times with the CSO (Eschenbach and Salonen respectively). The second time I sat behind the orchestra and caught the full fury of the CSO brass. There was a bit of a balance problem in that location, in that the Ondes Martenot was hard to hear.

Apart from covering their ears, did the audience like it?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Todd on December 05, 2016, 11:34:50 AM
Was Kalmar conducting this one?


Yes, and he displayed his usual precision and energy.  I would have been less enthusiastic about attending had it been a guest conductor, unless it was an A-lister. 

My seats had a balance problem favoring the ondes Martenot, with the speakers maybe 15-20 feet away.  The brass overpowered everything in the loudest passages, though.  There were some young kids in the audience, and I have to think the ondes Martenot drove them nuts. 



Apart from covering their ears, did the audience like it?


It received one of the loudest and longest ovations I've witnessed.  I think only James DePreist's final concert and one of Hilary Hahn's performances compare.  There were ovations after several individual movements, as well. 
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Turner on December 05, 2016, 12:23:49 PM
It seems there's an MP3 Naxos version with this de Oliviera lady, but it doesn't seem to be an extant CD??? But, was it originally on LP??? This one is a bit shadowy...



Yes, it´s an old Vox Box LP set, which I have. An admirable label as regards expanding the repertoire, it was. I remember that recording as good and varied (the music needs that, to avoid monotony). I also own Hill and Loriod, and have heard some Ugorski samples. But it´s been a while since I heard it.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: lescamil on December 06, 2016, 02:12:19 PM
I had the good fortune to attend a performance of the Turangalila Symphonie this past Saturday, with soloists Steven Osborne and Cynthia Millar, the same due that feature in the Hyperion recording.  I enjoy this work, but listen to it only rarely.  In person, it was almost overwhelming in scale and volume.  Not since an ear-splitting performance of DSCH 11 have I attended a classical concert so loud.  Many members of the audience covered their ears during crescendos and whenever the ondes Martenot really got cranking.  Orchestral playing was top flight - I'm not sure the Oregon Symphony could have pulled it off before Carlos Kalmar whipped them into shape - and both main soloists sounded swell.  (I'd love to hear Osborne play some of the Vingt Regards in person.)  It was an AV concert, with special animation and projections put together by local artists, which projected onto the entire front quarter of the auditorium during a couple movements.  Parts of the visuals were good, some less good, but the music was superb.  The opening Tristan Prelude/Liebestod was somewhat superfluous, but still lovely.  If ever I hear this work in person again, I may take earplugs, or sit way in the back.

I picked up the Hyperion release while in attendance, and plan to give it a spin in the next few weeks to see how it stacks up.

I was here, too! I went to yesterday's performance. I picked up his Feldman and Crumb CD on Hyperion afterward and got it autographed. Had a chat with him and he said he won't do Des Canyons or any of the later pieces because they aren't to his taste. Shame. I think he'd do well with some of the 1950s and onward Messiaen. His recording of the Vingt Regards to me is the benchmark.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: PotashPie on December 08, 2016, 02:36:15 PM
This excellent book, and if you don't like Peter Hill's playing,maybe you'll like him as an author.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41F00ZEVTTL._SX401_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: amw on December 27, 2016, 05:58:49 AM
Had a Messiaen Emergency today after discovering my sole recording of the Quatour pour la Fin de Temps to be not exactly enjoyable due to some surprising lapses in the performance (particularly intonation), not good sound quality, and some stylistic choices I wasn't convinced by. Surprising because the performers are none other than Vera Beths, Anner Bylsma, George Pieterson and Reinbert de Leeuw.

Anyway, using my highly scientific and exhaustively researched methods of randomly listening to a few seconds of various things I have chosen four recordings to trial as replacements:

Tashi Ensemble - RCA
Poppen/Fischer-Dieskau/Meyer/Loriod - EMI
Shaham/Wang/Meyer/Chung - DG
Bell/Isserlis/Collins/Mustonen - Decca

Trial results will be posted when I get around to it. The match will use a double elimination system with the grand prize recording receiving untold wealth and prestige. All of the musicians will be monitored for performance enhancing drugs and such.

Also feel free to post your thoughts if you have any.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mahlerian on December 27, 2016, 06:00:26 AM
I have the middle two, and I prefer the latter, though the tempos are definitely slower than normal, and that might be a problem for some.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on December 27, 2016, 06:57:09 AM

Anyway, using my highly scientific and exhaustively researched methods of randomly listening to a few seconds of various things

Trial results will be posted when I get around to it. The match will use a double elimination system with the grand prize recording receiving untold wealth and prestige. All of the musicians will be monitored for performance enhancing drugs and such

excellent!!!

Shall I get the wetsuit out now, or wait?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Turner on December 27, 2016, 07:05:36 AM
It was perhaps mentioned here before, but there´s an interesting recording of the "Quatuor ..." with Messiaen himself too, Pasquier etc.
The sound is not that bad.

I also have 2) Loriod/Poppen, and 3) New York Philomusica Ensemble (double-CD with interesting couplings, a Vox Candide recording).
Skipped one with the Danish Funen Trio, coupled with Bartok.

Am pretty satisfied with the contrasts provided by those three.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: PotashPie on December 27, 2016, 09:35:44 AM
One of my favorite Messiaen works is  Couleurs De La Cite Celeste.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41X499M17EL.jpg)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: amw on December 27, 2016, 11:57:43 AM
I have the middle two, and I prefer the latter, though the tempos are definitely slower than normal, and that might be a problem for some.
For all that I go on about how great fast tempi are, I actually am not totally opposed to being slow. Wouldn't wanna be without Fiorentino's Schumann Fantasy or the Belcea Quartet's Op. 132 or the Talich Quartet's Brahms sextets etc. So that's not a huge problem.

It was perhaps mentioned here before, but there´s an interesting recording of the "Quatuor ..." with Messiaen himself too, Pasquier etc.
The sound is not that bad.
Didn't make the cut tho. I guess I prefer Messiaen's wife when it comes to the ivories.

Quote
I also have 3) New York Philomusica Ensemble (double-CD with interesting couplings, a Vox Candide recording).
Skipped one with the Danish Funen Trio, coupled with Bartok.
don't know these two.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Crudblud on January 21, 2017, 03:34:11 PM
One of my favorite Messiaen works is  Couleurs De La Cite Celeste.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41X499M17EL.jpg)

I came here to post about this piece, this exact recording in fact. It's extremely dazzling in that way Messiaen does so well.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: J.II.9 on March 22, 2017, 12:50:23 PM
One of my very top desert island discs, definitely. I've heard few other versions of those tunes but this one firmly stands above others. Hats off to Mrs Bate.
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61e4wVnITlL._SX355_.jpg)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mahlerian on March 22, 2017, 01:10:54 PM
Jennifer Bate's whole set of Messiaen's organ works is available in Mp3 form for a very low price on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Messiaen-Organ-Works-Jennifer-Bate/dp/B00XMB7SG8
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: PotashPie on March 22, 2017, 01:40:23 PM
I found this used, and it's one of the best I've heard. I keep coming back to it. The recording is what I like, rather close and not a hall sound. The delicate bird embellishments are very convincing, just right. The other parts are not overly forceful, but just right. It seems to create a good calming mood when that is called for.

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/106/MI0001106378.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Maestro267 on March 22, 2017, 01:48:11 PM
I recently purchased Warner/Erato's 18-disc Messiaen Edition boxset, so I've been listening to a fair bit of his music in recent days. I particularly enjoyed the Meditations sur le Mystere de la Saint-Trinite (forgive me if I've got the title wrong). I love the colours Messiaen comes up with on the organ.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Maestro267 on April 22, 2017, 11:10:03 AM
At some stage, I'm going to have to tackle the two enormous piano cycles in this boxset, Catalogue d'oiseaux and Vingt regards, although I'm beginning to think that, unlike other "concert length" works, I may have to split them across several listening sessions, possibly over a day or two. I want to give them a go, but the thought of 2½ hours of nothing but piano music (and that's just for one of those works) is rather daunting.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: CRCulver on April 22, 2017, 12:38:05 PM
At some stage, I'm going to have to tackle the two enormous piano cycles in this boxset, Catalogue d'oiseaux and Vingt regards, although I'm beginning to think that, unlike other "concert length" works, I may have to split them across several listening sessions, possibly over a day or two. I want to give them a go, but the thought of 2½ hours of nothing but piano music (and that's just for one of those works) is rather daunting.

Vingt regards is pretty easy to sit through if you watch the Roger Muraro DVD, as then you have all the visual element of watching a pianist perform this often challenging score. That said, while Muraro was my way into the piece, it is the Aimard recording on Teldec that I now go back to when I'm in the mood for the work.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: James on April 22, 2017, 01:04:13 PM
Interesting bit of theory .. Messiaen's 3rd mode, the all-interval tetrachord, and Giant Steps

https://www.youtube.com/v/sQGWAnYd7Iw
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: James on April 22, 2017, 01:07:23 PM
it is the Aimard recording on Teldec that I now go back to when I'm in the mood for the work.

That disc is mind-blowing. Along Ligeti's studies .. the best Aimard recording (thus far).
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on April 23, 2017, 07:46:44 AM
Interesting bit of theory .. Messiaen's 3rd mode, the all-interval tetrachord, and Giant Steps

https://www.youtube.com/v/sQGWAnYd7Iw


I got sour kitty face listening to his improv :P Monk+Rihm= aye caramba!!




yes, I know, they're just random,... but that's what it reminded me of, lol :)



I'm still on the hunt for the best overall Catalog of Birds... I wish Teldec had one, or a great Philips...
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: James on April 23, 2017, 07:49:34 AM
I'm still on the hunt for the best overall Catalog of Birds... I wish Teldec had one, or a great Philips...

You check out Peter Hill on Regis?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Monsieur Croche on April 23, 2017, 12:42:08 PM
I got sour kitty face listening to his improv :P Monk+Rihm= aye caramba!!
yes, I know, they're just random,... but that's what it reminded me of, lol :)

Lol.  It is not at all random, it is improvised by a guy who -- clearly enough -- comes from a jazz background, and his ear, motor habit, and rhythmic habits and impulses naturally come to the fore, even in Messiaen / sets theory mode :-)  NB, too, how he was much more interested in the Chord aspect vs. what can arise from the mode in various horizontal lines.  Ergo, from this player, you get what you get.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on April 23, 2017, 06:27:09 PM
Lol.  It is not at all random, it is improvised by a guy who -- clearly enough -- comes from a jazz background, and his ear, motor habit, and rhythmic habits and impulses naturally come to the fore, even in Messiaen / sets theory mode :-)  NB, too, how he was much more interested in the Chord aspect vs. what can arise from the mode in various horizontal lines.  Ergo, from this player, you get what you get.

every now and then you'll hear THE boogie woogie riff pop up once in the course of a Serial piece, lol

btw- by random, I meant the Monk, because I thought some jazznazi might correct me on Giant Steps being... Coltrane?  but, it DID sound like Monk+Rihm (and, I've heard Rihm use the boogie riff in his Klavierstucke 7, I think)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Rons_talking on April 27, 2017, 01:36:44 AM
Interesting bit of theory .. Messiaen's 3rd mode, the all-interval tetrachord, and Giant Steps

https://www.youtube.com/v/sQGWAnYd7Iw


While soloing with PC sets like the 0146 might be interesting over bluesy tunes (Blue Monk) or modal tunes (Footprints, Impressions), where the harmonic background is understood by all, the use of this on Giant Steps is meaningless. The trick is to play with and around the changes (the harmonic rhythm on GS is too fast for many improvisers to keep up) as Coltrane does so brilliantly. If one can't hear the implied progression in the soloists' notes--though not limited to it--the player sounds like he can't hear the changes. If I hear 0246 sets on Giant Steps I'll assume the player doesn't have it.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on August 24, 2017, 05:22:37 AM
I've always been a big worshiper of his big orchestral works (and Catalog of Birds/organ works) but damn his smaller assorted chamber works are really fun to slice through. Lots of awesome lesser-known stuff. I've heard it all before, just not for a while. It's good to be back to Messiaen again  8)

BUT- did you hear the Foo Fighters with Rick Astley singing?????? that's what's important!!! ;) :D ;D :laugh:
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on October 16, 2017, 11:26:49 AM
latest on Forbes.com

(https://blogs-images.forbes.com/jenslaurson/files/2017/10/Musikverein_Vienna_TONKUENSTLER_Yutaka-Sado_Forbes_Classical-Critic_Messiaen_jens-f-laurson_600.jpg?width=960)
Review: A Tonkuenstler Turangalîla With Yutaka Sado
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2017/10/16/review-a-tonkuenstler-turangalila-with-yutaka-sado/#4885210a3250 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2017/10/16/review-a-tonkuenstler-turangalila-with-yutaka-sado/#4885210a3250)

... and a very brief, snarky history of the orchestra.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: You did it on November 05, 2017, 09:04:35 PM
I always find myself back at Messiaen, whether it's from biography related stuff or from composing myself. Such a profound and exciting composer, the harmony alone is worth the price of admission  :D
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: You did it on November 19, 2017, 07:30:51 PM
Roll over Grisey, it's Messiaen season!


"and the birds sang their pretty song, and there is always music in the air"


BANG BANG Canyons BANG BANG Turangalila SCREAM!!!!!! Now smile of joy.

Messiaen season: Nov-?2017-201#?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on November 19, 2017, 07:34:29 PM
I wonder if they prescribe Ritalin to adults nowadays? I know someone who needs it. ;) ;D
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: You did it on November 19, 2017, 07:49:08 PM
I wonder if they prescribe Ritalin to adults nowadays? I know someone who needs it. ;) ;D

If that was too cryptic for you weelllllllll:

I got the full scores for both of those works right now and I'm on top of the fucking moon, so excited!  ;D  8)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: You did it on November 19, 2017, 07:50:45 PM
And my new course is off to a grreeeeaaatt start  :-*
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: You did it on November 19, 2017, 08:00:58 PM
I am not shitting you, there is a sparrow in the library (that obviously got through one of the main entrances)

I can't help but feel amused by that when I'm reading these Messiaen scores  :laugh:
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: You did it on November 20, 2017, 01:02:59 AM
Leaving out the work as a whole, both "Omao, leiothrix, elepaio, shama" and "Zion Park et la cité céleste" from Des Canyons really gets to me, it's so inspiring. Some of those big thick melodic chord sections bring on emotions close to tears, it's connected to that spiritually (not religious) invigorating sense of awe and beauty.   :'(

I really enjoy the hell out of "Appel interstellaire" (the big horn solo) and "Bryce Canyon et les rochers rouge-orange", both of which continue a sense of excitement and exotic, spacey colors.  8)

Just a fucking amazing work all round, but they are my favorite four sections I think   :)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: lescamil on November 20, 2017, 09:57:06 AM
Leaving out the work as a whole, both "Omao, leiothrix, elepaio, shama" and "Zion Park et la cité céleste" from Des Canyons really gets to me, it's so inspiring. Some of those big thick melodic chord sections bring on emotions close to tears, it's connected to that spiritually (not religious) invigorating sense of awe and beauty.   :'(

I really enjoy the hell out of "Appel interstellaire" (the big horn solo) and "Bryce Canyon et les rochers rouge-orange", both of which continue a sense of excitement and exotic, spacey colors.  8)

Just a fucking amazing work all round, but they are my favorite four sections I think   :)

I saw this piece live during the Messiaen year 2008 and it was one of the best concerts I've ever been to. I wanted to cry during the slow 8th movement...
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: You did it on November 20, 2017, 01:55:03 PM
I saw this piece live during the Messiaen year 2008 and it was one of the best concerts I've ever been to. I wanted to cry during the slow 8th movement...

I love how he jumps between really majestic/ethereal/grand moods and more nuanced/solemn emotional (in a reserved, personal way) moods in his work. To which he has pretty much done right off the bat!

Messiaen also clearly articulates how intensity and calmness (or fast and slow, loud and quiet etc) both compliment each other, even at the same time (like Ives done in many ensemble/orchestral works)


So moving back to that 8th movement, the harmonies in that movement are so beautiful (though very idiosyncratic of Messiaen) and the birdsong too adds so much emotional weight in this movement.
But the very last movement of Canyons is probably the one that gets to me the most.


Turangalila, Quartet and Eclairs (off the top of my head) have slow movements that hit me hard too (disregarding the awesome faster/busier movements), the last movement of Eclairs for instance:

 :'( :'( :'( :'(

That pulls very strongly on my heart, more than any other piece I've heard.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on January 28, 2018, 07:58:26 PM
Again I am seeking for the  best in the three big piano works, 'Visions...', 'vingt...', and the Catalog of Birds.


Aimard sounds great but is thoroughly MOR as far as taking chances and being dangerous


need a truly spectacular 'Visions...', in perfect sound


I do like Beroff"s 'Vingt...' in spite of any reservations


Muraro seems to be more affordable than Peter Hill...


Austbo seems better in 'Vingt...' than Aimard, but Aimard's sound is better??

Does anyone recommend Osborne over the competition in VR?



Serkin seems to be getting mixed reviews now that we have have so many moderns to choose from?



Messiaen can be such a tonic!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mandryka on January 28, 2018, 10:46:21 PM





Does anyone recommend Osborne over the competition in VR?





Yes, for the colour. Osborne is good at piano colours.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) VINGT REGARDS DEATH MATCH
Post by: snyprrr on January 29, 2018, 09:05:12 AM
Yes, for the colour. Osborne is good at piano colours.


Seriously, I need some help here...

My main problem would be $$$...

I have concluded from Reviews that Osborne would be the best choice here, but he is still at full price, @$30incl. s+h... with 'Visions...', and the Bird Catalog (also somewhat expensive), we're looking at quite the investment, hence, my desire to get that which will forever quench the desire (nobody wants to make a $30 error (not saying Osborne would be an error))...

I am drawn to Beroff for the sound and the sound the fingers are making, but I understand his recording couldn't hold a candle to the Hyperion.

I only hear good things about the Muraro DVD, no voices yet on the Accord recording...

I still want to know if anyone can compare Austbo with Aimard here. I like Austbo better, but the two sound pictures are different, and the Naxos has a lot more 'room' than the Teldec.


Ogdon[/b]&Loriod I'm currently dismissing at the time, just for my own reasons... I knowI know


The rest of the contenders, all on small labels?, are pretty expensive at full price...

Zehn?


http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/Themes/default/images/bbc/bold.gifHOW DOES THIS CRAP HAPPEN????????so annoying
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on January 29, 2018, 09:27:18 PM
VINGT REGARDS


     Loriod'56       Loriod'88       Ogdon       Beroff        Serkin      Osborne        Muraro'99        Aimard         Batagov

01:**4:57              5:21            7:59*          5:42           8:10*         8:10*            5:06               6:10              9:09**

02:   2:47              2:55           *2:33           2:52           3:34          2:49              3:02               3:15              4:17*
03:   3:17              3:34          **1:47           3:28           3:19          3:37              3:24              *2:58              3:39

04:   4:54             *4:48            6:42**         5:09           4:56          5:02              4:57               5:16              7:08**
05:   5:45              5:36            8:35**        *5:14           6:27          6:53              6:33               5:24             10:15***
06:  10:40            10:23           *9:08         *9:04          10:46        *9:39             10:44             10:57            13:35**

07:  *3:42              *3:55           4:27*          4:53*          4:14          4:27*          **3:09             **3:34              5:51***

08:   2:26               2:22         **1:59          *2:07           2:20          2:14              2:20               2:17              2:43*
09:   3:24               3:00          *2:25           3:08           2:50          2:45              2:54               3:12              3:59**
10:                        8:40          11:24**         8:11           8:01         8:43              9:08                8:11            11:10**

11:                        7:51        ***4:38           *6:51           8:15         7:51              7:55             **6:23             8:56*

12:                        2:57            2:31           2:23            2:26        *2:19              2:35                2:23             2:53

13:                        4:10           *3:53           4:19           4:09          4:11              4:33*               4:01             5:08**
14:                        4:51            4:41           4:33           4:34          4:50              5:02                4:55             5:06

15:                      10:16           12:23          *8:38         12:04       11:42             11:42              10:04           18:05***

16:                        2:50             3:41           2:55         *2:33         3:09              2:56                3:10             3:44
17:                        5:10             5:35           5:02          6:05         5:31              5:02                5:12             7:02**
18:                        6:49             8:31**         6:23          5:41         6:20              6:19                6:26             7:05*

19:                        9:53            11:46          9:12          8:53        10:29             8:00               10:08           13:38***
20:                      12:53.............13:03       *11:19        13:00        15:34           12:45               11:59           16:24***
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 02, 2018, 05:50:22 PM
Has anyone heard this? Any good?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/813Qt9YDPCL._SL1200_.jpg)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on February 03, 2018, 03:25:30 AM
Has anyone heard this? Any good?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/813Qt9YDPCL._SL1200_.jpg)

I've heard it several times, thinking that it should wow me. It's certainly VERY good... I wonder if the clarinet part has ever been played as well as here; certainly never better.
I have in the past done comparative QPLFDTemps listenings (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2009/Jan09/Messiaen_quatuor.htm (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2009/Jan09/Messiaen_quatuor.htm)), but not here.
If I did a side-by-side, it might well come across atop or near the top, I imagine, but i'd still wonder why it didn't grab me right out of the box.

I like the recording of the Houston Chamber Players (http://a-fwd.to/6zoy2q6) (Koch, oop) for their beauty in some movements, but perhaps also not enough to make them an over-all favorite.

Come to think of it, perhaps I should make a comparative review again.  :D

Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 03, 2018, 06:37:20 AM
Thanks, Jens. That’s pretty much what I figured. A lot of times when you have renown musicians such as the ones on this recording the results aren’t always satisfying.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) THE DARMSTADT ORGAN WORKS
Post by: snyprrr on February 08, 2018, 09:31:37 AM
Messe dd Pentecote
Livre d'Orgue


I have just discovered these two works and realize I have unearthed the "greatest", and, it seems, first Darmstadt influenced organ works. Except for Hindemith (who obviously didn't write Avant-Garde), I can't even think of who may even have contributed to the "Modern" organ repertoire. And these two are THE pieces, apparently!

IS ANYONE FAMILIAR WITH THESE? COMMENT?



And then there's the Meditations (1969), which must be considered THE... well, it's written at the height of the decadent '60s,... I'm just saying it does seem to be scary music, making me think of 'Rosemary'sBaby' and 'The Exorcist',... but, of course, not in an obvious way, but in the way the old generation was reacting to the Leftist takeover of society... blah blah...


ANYHOW, Messiaen's organ works of his maturity don't seem to get talked about much.... :(
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on February 08, 2018, 09:35:41 AM
So far, I've got coming-

Catalogue d'Oiseaux: Roger Muraro (Accord) (simply beautiful piano image and playing!)

Visions de l'Amen: The Labeques (Erato-1969, because everyone said so)

Vingt Regards: Steven Osborne (Hyperion, because eeeveryone said so)


I CAN'T WAIT!! ;)


HAVE YOU HEARD CARL-AXEL DOMINIQUE IN 'Vingt Regards'??? WOW!!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on February 08, 2018, 10:04:02 AM
Haitink conducting 'Et Exspecto...' with the CRO (Philips), wow, day and night with Boulez. What a cool sound!


HEY GUYS- if you've soured on Messiaen, come back in 3-4 years and try again, it's working for me!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) CANTEYODJAYA
Post by: snyprrr on February 08, 2018, 10:23:17 AM
Who? I couldn't think of anyone when I made my list.

Most take this at @13:30,...

It's such an f'd up sounding piece, so brilliant, and I find it ridiculously infuriating, lol!

But I have Serkin (Koch), who clocks in at 11:57, and it really does impact the opening configuration. However, once the piece gets going, all recordings mush together for me. This work is just sooo out there in terms of its galloping seven legged hippo theme! But, it's so ingenious!

Schleiermacher has a nice Darmstadt Vol.1 programme on MDG (13:33), with typical sweet ambience; there are others with drier, or wetter, sound, depending on your preference. But, to me, the music is sooo...so... you know,... that ANY performance seems to do.

Ridiculous! :P
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) PRELUDES 1-8
Post by: snyprrr on February 12, 2018, 08:36:46 AM
Well, I guess no one's cuing up for Messiaen at this time but me. :( I feel like alone at the Coney Island boardwalk :'(.


Listening now to Loriod's Preludes on a grey and rainy day... what more needs be said?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) ORGAN MUSIC: EARLY vs LATE
Post by: snyprrr on February 12, 2018, 08:50:38 AM
I remember the Penguin Guide MAKING me buy that Bate 'Nativite' back in the day, which, of course, is now long gone, but now the time has come for me to niggle into Messiaen's Organ Works. The 'Messe du Pentecote', and the 'Livre d'Orgue' strike me as squarely in the Composer's Experimental/Serial phase, and samples have yielded quite intriguing sonorities.

The 'Meditations', also, strike me as Messiaen's "stern God" answer to the late '60s.

'Nativite'and 'Livre SS' I have only perused as of yet, and the earlier pieces seem interesting, all in their own way. I don't recall 'Banquet Celeste' being so wonderfully static...



I'm considering the 'Complete'... and there are a handful of Cycles... the main criticism of Bate's set is the swamping reverb, which many say does somewhat cloud certain intricacies, whilst others like the suspended legato of the ambience. Ericsson seems a bit dry acoustically to me; Latry seems "perfect", but some point out some weaknesses in that set. Messiaen himself probably has mediocre sound; ...


Am I just being ignored or does no one care for Messiaen in 2018? ALIEN NEIL- I can't tell you how much late Xenakis I'm hearing in the brass+piano+percussion works!! The bridge is being built!! ;)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) ORGAN MUSIC: EARLY vs LATE
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on February 12, 2018, 10:43:44 AM



I'm considering the 'Complete'... and there are a handful of Cycles... the main criticism of Bate's set is the swamping reverb, which many say does somewhat cloud certain intricacies, whilst others like the suspended legato of the ambience. Ericsson seems a bit dry acoustically to me; Latry seems "perfect", but some point out some weaknesses in that set. Messiaen himself probably has mediocre sound; ...


Am I just being ignored or does no one care for Messiaen in 2018? ALIEN NEIL- I can't tell you how much late Xenakis I'm hearing in the brass+piano+percussion works!! The bridge is being built!! ;)

We're reading you.  ;)

For the organ works I have Weir (Collins) (http://a-fwd.to/47IYbUb) & Latry (DG) (http://a-fwd.to/3iMDnoY) - and the Warner recordings (http://a-fwd.to/3BRNmrC) of Messiaen himself coupled with those that M.C.Alain made.

But to suggest that I can meaningfully recommend one set over the other would be pretentious. I've not heard them recently enough or focused enough to really get into the nitty-gritty of them, I'm afraid.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Maestro267 on February 12, 2018, 12:18:47 PM
I listened to Des Canyons aux Etoiles last night. Fantastic piece. The small string section (compared with more typical orchestra-sized woodwind and brass contingents and Messiaen's substantial percussion section) makes for a fascinating sound world. I also learnt that the descending horn call that occurs in the 3rd, 6th and 12th movements is the bird call of the canyon wren.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Baron Scarpia on February 12, 2018, 12:57:51 PM
I agree with you that the small string ensemble rather than the orchestral version is preferable.

Now I'm confused. Messiaen notated the piece for individual string instruments. I never saw mention of a different version of the piece for full string section.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Mahlerian on February 14, 2018, 09:03:35 AM
My mistake.  I listened to it last month and I thought I had read something in the booklet about a different version for chamber group instead of full orchestra ... brain fart.   :-[

There is a kind of small ensemble within the full orchestra that plays as a chamber group.  Perhaps that's what was being referred to?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) ORGAN MUSIC: Weir Rules??
Post by: snyprrr on February 15, 2018, 07:11:52 AM
We're reading you.  ;)

For the organ works I have Weir (Collins) (http://a-fwd.to/47IYbUb) & Latry (DG) (http://a-fwd.to/3iMDnoY) - and the Warner recordings (http://a-fwd.to/3BRNmrC) of Messiaen himself coupled with those that M.C.Alain made.

But to suggest that I can meaningfully recommend one set over the other would be pretentious. I've not heard them recently enough or focused enough to really get into the nitty-gritty of them, I'm afraid.

Well, with Weir/Collins 'Complete' going for $7+sh., the choice was made for me, lol,... but, the consensus falls very kindly in her direction. As much as i'd like to be swamped by Bate's ambience, I'm not sure I need the slow bits taken out to the extreme. Weir seems to have the best overall no-nonsense reviews...

In any case, I will soon have more Messiaen Organ Music than I will know what to do with! Should keep me busy...



WHO ELSE DO WE LIKE IN AVANT-MODERN ORGAN???? It seems a genre none to friendly?... Feldman, Scelsi, Ferneyhough, Berio, Xenakis, Chaynes, ... next to Messiaen, do we have any real "classics" in the field?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: snyprrr on February 15, 2018, 07:15:33 AM
I am LOVING the Labeques 'Visions de l'Amen'! I didn't recall how this piece had such fistfulls of sharp notes shredding,... I can listen to it just fine without the programme... it just seems sooooooooooo Modern coming from the '40s.



THE ONLY WORKS I'M HAVING ISSUES WITH are the piano+brass+percussion works, but, I think that also is the consensus. Other than that, I'm really having a great time with Messiaen this go around! ;)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) ORGAN MUSIC: Weir Rules??
Post by: Mahlerian on February 15, 2018, 09:51:17 AM
WHO ELSE DO WE LIKE IN AVANT-MODERN ORGAN???? It seems a genre none to friendly?... Feldman, Scelsi, Ferneyhough, Berio, Xenakis, Chaynes, ... next to Messiaen, do we have any real "classics" in the field?

Ligeti wrote a few interesting pieces for the instrument, but it seems to have been less than popular with the 20th century avant-garde generally.  Stravinsky and Schoenberg both had reservations about the organ and used it only once each.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) ORGAN MUSIC: Weir Rules??
Post by: Baron Scarpia on February 15, 2018, 10:02:56 AM
WHO ELSE DO WE LIKE IN AVANT-MODERN ORGAN???? It seems a genre none to friendly?... Feldman, Scelsi, Ferneyhough, Berio, Xenakis, Chaynes, ... next to Messiaen, do we have any real "classics" in the field?

Petr Eben. Modern, probably not avant-modern
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) ORGAN MUSIC: Weir Rules??
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on February 15, 2018, 03:23:42 PM

WHO ELSE DO WE LIKE IN AVANT-MODERN ORGAN???? It seems a genre none to friendly?... Feldman, Scelsi, Ferneyhough, Berio, Xenakis, Chaynes, ... next to Messiaen, do we have any real "classics" in the field?

Albert Alain.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) ORGAN MUSIC: Weir Rules??
Post by: Joaquimhock on February 16, 2018, 01:43:09 AM




WHO ELSE DO WE LIKE IN AVANT-MODERN ORGAN???? It seems a genre none to friendly?... Feldman, Scelsi, Ferneyhough, Berio, Xenakis, Chaynes, ... next to Messiaen, do we have any real "classics" in the field?

The tradition of composer-organist is still alive (at least in France) with Thierry Escaich for instance.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4HYOyKJ1y4
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) ORGAN MUSIC: Weir Rules??
Post by: ritter on February 16, 2018, 04:22:15 AM
WHO ELSE DO WE LIKE IN AVANT-MODERN ORGAN???? It seems a genre none to friendly?... Feldman, Scelsi, Ferneyhough, Berio, Xenakis, Chaynes, ... next to Messiaen, do we have any real "classics" in the field?
I'm not into organ music (avantgarde or not), and feel rather close--not surprisingly--to Pierre Boulez's comments on his teacher Messiaen as reported by Gerald McBurney in The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/jan/12/pierre-boulez-gerard-mcburney-a-pierre-dream):

"...I was escorting him [i.e. Boulez] to a restaurant. The rest of the company had moved swiftly, but he was walking slowly, tired after rehearsal. Someone had told me on no account to mention Messiaen. So I did, and he immediately laughed, stopped and looked at me like a schoolboy preparing a whoopee cushion for a grownup.

'Ah, Messiaen, he is for me a big problem … [dramatic pause] The religion … [another pause, shrugged shoulders, and louder] The birds … [louder still, hands raised and in tones of pantomimic horror] Aand … my God … the ORGAN!' There was no doubt which of these three shockers was the worst..."
  ;D

Still, for those interested in avantgarde organ music, there's this:


Mostly late Krenek, except for the middle-period Sonata op. 92.


The only piece I know is Cristóbal Halffter's Ricercare from 1981. Haven't listened to it in ages.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) ORGAN MUSIC: Weir Rules??
Post by: snyprrr on February 17, 2018, 07:07:24 AM
I'm not into organ music (avantgarde or not), and feel rather close--not surprisingly--to Pierre Boulez's comments on his teacher Messiaen as reported by Gerald McBurney in The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/jan/12/pierre-boulez-gerard-mcburney-a-pierre-dream):

"...I was escorting him [i.e. Boulez] to a restaurant. The rest of the company had moved swiftly, but he was walking slowly, tired after rehearsal. Someone had told me on no account to mention Messiaen. So I did, and he immediately laughed, stopped and looked at me like a schoolboy preparing a whoopee cushion for a grownup.

'Ah, Messiaen, he is for me a big problem … [dramatic pause] The religion … [another pause, shrugged shoulders, and louder] The birds … [louder still, hands raised and in tones of pantomimic horror] Aand … my God … the ORGAN!' There was no doubt which of these three shockers was the worst..."
  ;D

Still, for those interested in avantgarde organ music, there's this:


Mostly late Krenek, except for the middle-period Sonata op. 92.


The only piece I know is Cristóbal Halffter's Ricercare from 1981. Haven't listened to it in ages.

Not that Boulez had to conduct any of the organ works, lol, funny story!


Yea, ... the organ,... whatcha gonna do?


However, I have just dipped into the Weir Box,..."dipped" being the operative word. Gonna try the 'Meditations' here before the snow starts...
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) QFTEOT
Post by: snyprrr on February 17, 2018, 07:10:09 AM
QFTEOT


I can't seem to get into this as much as I thoughtI would. Of course, it's been decades since I had this around (Northeast/west Chamber??), and I'm listening now to Brunner/Fontenay (Teldec), but I'm just not feeling it, and I think it's the music.Maybe all of those unison runs are getting to me?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) QFTEOT
Post by: Mirror Image on February 18, 2018, 04:41:29 PM
QFTEOT


I can't seem to get into this as much as I thoughtI would. Of course, it's been decades since I had this around (Northeast/west Chamber??), and I'm listening now to Brunner/Fontenay (Teldec), but I'm just not feeling it, and I think it's the music. Maybe all of those unison runs are getting to me?

To bolded text, there’s always the possibility that it’s you. ;) FWIW, I never have been able to fully appreciate Messiaen’s music, although I do love L’ascension.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: kyjo on February 18, 2018, 10:41:37 PM
While there are certain movements of the Turangalîla-Symphonie and Quatuor pour la fin du temps that I really like, I have trouble truly appreciating the works as a whole. The movements of the Turangalîla-Symphonie that I enjoy are the first, the fifth (Joie du Sang des Étoiles - thrilling), and the last; the movements of Quatuor pour la fin du temps that I enjoy are the fifth (Louange à l'Éternité de Jésus - simply one of the most transcendent pieces of music I know), sixth (Danse de la fureur, pour les sept trompettes), and the last (Louange à l'Immortalité de Jésus). Like John, my overall favorite Messiaen piece that I know is the early L'ascension, with its thrilling, dance-like third movement and its transcendent final movement.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) QFTEOT
Post by: snyprrr on February 19, 2018, 10:55:48 AM
While there are certain movements of the Turangalîla-Symphonie and Quatuor pour la fin du temps that I really like, I have trouble truly appreciating the works as a whole. The movements of the Turangalîla-Symphonie that I enjoy are the first, the fifth (Joie du Sang des Étoiles - thrilling), and the last; the movements of Quatuor pour la fin du temps that I enjoy are the fifth (Louange à l'Éternité de Jésus - simply one of the most transcendent pieces of music I know), sixth (Danse de la fureur, pour les sept trompettes), and the last (Louange à l'Immortalité de Jésus). Like John, my overall favorite Messiaen piece that I know is the early L'ascension, with its thrilling, dance-like third movement and its transcendent final movement.
To bolded text, there’s always the possibility that it’s you. ;) FWIW, I never have been able to fully appreciate Messiaen’s music, although I do love L’ascension.

Everyone else seems to shun 'L'Ascension', but I'm with you guys. The whole work has the "early Messiaen" quality I like (meditative), without the heriocmusic thatI don't look for in Messiaen, specifically the other three early orchestral works, the Offrandes, the Hymn, and the Tombeau Resp...


Messiaen seems somewhat "mushy" before QFTEOT...??... the Preludes, for instances (sometimes I like, sometimes not so much- at least he's softer and quieter...)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) ORGAN MUSIC: MESSE & LIVRE-
Post by: snyprrr on February 19, 2018, 11:00:16 AM
We're reading you.  ;)

For the organ works I have Weir (Collins) (http://a-fwd.to/47IYbUb) & Latry (DG) (http://a-fwd.to/3iMDnoY) - and the Warner recordings (http://a-fwd.to/3BRNmrC) of Messiaen himself coupled with those that M.C.Alain made.

But to suggest that I can meaningfully recommend one set over the other would be pretentious. I've not heard them recently enough or focused enough to really get into the nitty-gritty of them, I'm afraid.

Having a blast going through the Weir Cycle. I have now had my mind blown by the 'Messe de la Pentecote', a work that sounds just like I had hoped, maybe not quite Stockhausen, but the coolest thing ever for quirky Modern Organ. I guess the Livre d'Orgue will be next.


I do enjoy Messiaen's transition years 1948-53, all the works here are just patently bizarre in the extreme, for the time. I hear Xenakis all over Messiaen now!!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) STEVEN OSBORNE VINGT REGARDS
Post by: snyprrr on February 20, 2018, 04:21:21 PM
I'm finding Osborne almost too perfect in VR... almost, but it's still quite droolworthy,... I do like not hearing any clanking, it's just such a creamy piano image... too good...
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) ORGAN MUSIC: MESSE & LIVRE-
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on February 21, 2018, 07:56:04 AM
Having a blast going through the Weir Cycle. I have now had my mind blown by the 'Messe de la Pentecote',

Went and listened to the same. Pretty good stuff, innit?!
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) THE DARMSTADT ORGAN WORKS
Post by: Mandryka on February 22, 2018, 05:50:08 AM
Messe dd Pentecote
Livre d'Orgue


I have just discovered these two works and realize I have unearthed the "greatest", and, it seems, first Darmstadt influenced organ works. Except for Hindemith (who obviously didn't write Avant-Garde), I can't even think of who may even have contributed to the "Modern" organ repertoire. And these two are THE pieces, apparently!

IS ANYONE FAMILIAR WITH THESE? COMMENT?



And then there's the Meditations (1969), which must be considered THE... well, it's written at the height of the decadent '60s,... I'm just saying it does seem to be scary music, making me think of 'Rosemary'sBaby' and 'The Exorcist',... but, of course, not in an obvious way, but in the way the old generation was reacting to the Leftist takeover of society... blah blah...


ANYHOW, Messiaen's organ works of his maturity don't seem to get talked about much.... :(

Yes the livre d'orgue is worth hearing, and it does sound as though there's not so often any sort of tonal resolution or memorable melody or story like.  I've never heard the messe de Pentecôte. I don't think Livre d'orgue was a mature work, he kind of grew out of modernity into something else, I think the mature works are the meditation sur Le mystère de la sainte trinité, and the livre du saint sacrement.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) STEVEN OSBORNE VINGT REGARDS
Post by: Mandryka on February 22, 2018, 05:51:24 AM
I'm finding Osborne almost too perfect in VR... almost, but it's still quite droolworthy,... I do like not hearing any clanking, it's just such a creamy piano image... too good...

I've heard him play it in concert three times! When you hear him he leaves a string impression of being a colourist, timbre is important to him.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) STEVEN OSBORNE VINGT REGARDS
Post by: snyprrr on February 22, 2018, 02:06:43 PM
I've heard him play it in concert three times! When you hear him he leaves a string impression of being a colourist, timbre is important to him.

Yea...no... I am quite in awe of those super fast tinkling "bird stars" in the...6th??... ,and just his total command of the the tone of the whole thing... BUT he did make me crave Beroff, which I have now promptly acquired.But, those two extremes should fit me for a while.

Osborne does seem to leave Aimard in the dust, eh? Perhaps if Osborne had the Teldec piano image rather than the Hyperion one...??...


BTW-does your Osborne come in one of those odd turn of the century jewel boxes?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on December 10, 2018, 01:49:45 AM
Anyone remember these recordings? I hadn't even been aware of them, and I'm decidedly above-average into Messiaen's organ works.
Very nice discovery for me.

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dt-8pAjW4AAWZUb.jpg)

#morninglistening to #Messiaen #OrganMusic w/#LouisThiry on @LaDolceVolta

: http://a-fwd.to/4XQh4OD

Terrific 1972 recordings from the #Calliope label of the then complete #organworks of #OlivierMessiaen’s on the gorgeous 1965 #MetzlerOrgelbau…  (http://a-fwd.to/4XQh4OD)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: aukhawk on December 10, 2018, 02:30:41 AM
Welcome new additions to my aviary are the Fauvettes de l'Herault, the last three tracks on this album.

(https://images-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61gLh3x3TgL._SS500.jpg)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: pjme on December 26, 2018, 01:27:27 AM
An unusual "Noêl" from Olivier and Yvonne.

https://www.youtube.com/v/qOPHvlaOCGY

Lovely! Even also rather awkward...not even the faintest smile.

 But : "C'est le Bon Dieu qui te réponds".


Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Maestro267 on April 02, 2020, 02:53:20 AM
After 3 years of having the recording, over the last 2 days I've finally listened to the complete Catalogue d'oiseaux for the first time. Hearing the birdsong outside inspired me to give it a go, and it's a very rewarding experience when the mood is right. I broke it up into sections, listening to the first six movements yesterday and the last seven this morning.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: CRCulver on April 02, 2020, 04:38:43 PM
There is a new monograph about the Catalogue d’oiseaux written by noted Messiaen experts Roderick Chadwick & Peter Hill. Worth checking out.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Maestro267 on September 11, 2020, 11:25:24 PM
I stumbled upon this video, a guide through Des Canyons aux Etoiles. It's in French, but it does contain plenty of musical examples with the orchestra playing. From it, I finally discovered how some of the strange sounds in the fifth movement (Cedar Breaks and the Gift of Awe) are made. I knew from liner notes that somewhere in the piece, a trumpeter blew into a detached mouthpiece, and I thought that was in the second passage. Turns out what that is, is a cello or bass player bowing the bridge of the instrument. The trumpet mouthpiece plays in the next passage, accompanied by just wind machine and suspended cymbal.

https://youtu.be/ios_VJ01bcE?t=1986 (https://youtu.be/ios_VJ01bcE?t=1986)
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Brewski on September 12, 2020, 04:32:24 PM
I stumbled upon this video, a guide through Des Canyons aux Etoiles. It's in French, but it does contain plenty of musical examples with the orchestra playing. From it, I finally discovered how some of the strange sounds in the fifth movement (Cedar Breaks and the Gift of Awe) are made. I knew from liner notes that somewhere in the piece, a trumpeter blew into a detached mouthpiece, and I thought that was in the second passage. Turns out what that is, is a cello or bass player bowing the bridge of the instrument. The trumpet mouthpiece plays in the next passage, accompanied by just wind machine and suspended cymbal.

https://youtu.be/ios_VJ01bcE?t=1986 (https://youtu.be/ios_VJ01bcE?t=1986)

Thanks for this, which also reminds me that it's been awhile since I have heard much Messiaen, other than the Quatuor.

--Bruce
Title: Tonight: Messiaen's Visions de l'Amen
Post by: Brewski on October 03, 2020, 05:32:38 AM
Tonight, a 2015 concert from the archives of Da Camera, based in Houston. Marilyn Nonken and Sarah Rothenberg perform Messiaen's Visions de l'Amen for two pianos, with lighting by Jennifer Tipton. I heard this live and thought it was quite moving.

It's free, with registration (email and password).

https://www.dacamera.com/?event=messiaen-visions-de-lamen&event_date=2020-10-03

--Bruce
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Brewski on October 03, 2020, 04:42:14 PM
Photos of the Messiaen are too large to post, so here's my tweet showing Visions with Jennifer Tipton's lighting. Anyone who admires the piece (one of the greats for two pianos) will want to see this at some point.

Recorded in 2015 in Houston, Texas.

https://twitter.com/BruceHodgesNY/status/1312560719649550336?s=19

--Bruce
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: vers la flamme on October 07, 2020, 03:25:26 PM
What are some of the great recordings of the Vingt Regards? This is a major work of Messiaen's that is totally absent from my library. There are so many out there... I'm curious about Steven Osborne and Pierre-Laurent Aimard.

I always enjoy Messiaen's music but I must be in the mood for it. I have been meaning to explore it all in further depth. All I really know is the Quatuor & the Turangalîla and love both, especially the former.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: vers la flamme on October 11, 2020, 04:27:01 PM
What are some of the great recordings of the Vingt Regards? This is a major work of Messiaen's that is totally absent from my library. There are so many out there... I'm curious about Steven Osborne and Pierre-Laurent Aimard.

I always enjoy Messiaen's music but I must be in the mood for it. I have been meaning to explore it all in further depth. All I really know is the Quatuor & the Turangalîla and love both, especially the former.

I ordered Håkon Austbø on Naxos. Excited to spend time with the music.

I want to get some more of Myung-Whun Chung's Messiaen. Thoughts on his Turangalîla and Éclairs?
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: aukhawk on October 14, 2020, 08:16:53 AM
Osborne playing Vingt Regards is on YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrOuFIABcDo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrOuFIABcDo)

I have a recording from BBC iPlayer but I think that's no longer available.  Not sure if the above is the same one or not.  Osborne takes his time - it's the slowest performance of Vingt Regards I've heard and it's wonderful.  I haven't heard the Hyperion recording.
I generally don't like Aimard - I have a few of his Oiseaux but they sound rather heavy-handed to me.

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.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: MusicTurner on October 14, 2020, 09:30:16 AM
What are some of the great recordings of the Vingt Regards? This is a major work of Messiaen's that is totally absent from my library. There are so many out there... I'm curious about Steven Osborne and Pierre-Laurent Aimard.

I always enjoy Messiaen's music but I must be in the mood for it. I have been meaning to explore it all in further depth. All I really know is the Quatuor & the Turangalîla and love both, especially the former.

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.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: Brewski on October 14, 2020, 11:26:23 AM
What are some of the great recordings of the Vingt Regards? This is a major work of Messiaen's that is totally absent from my library. There are so many out there... I'm curious about Steven Osborne and Pierre-Laurent Aimard.

I always enjoy Messiaen's music but I must be in the mood for it. I have been meaning to explore it all in further depth. All I really know is the Quatuor & the Turangalîla and love both, especially the former.

I've only heard two: the landmark recording by Peter Serkin (1975) and Pierre-Laurent Aimard (2000). Even if you like other versions better, Serkin's is a marvel, despite some rather dry sound. (To some ears, that might be a plus.) Aimard's is also intensely spiritual, but with much better sonics.

Looking at versions available, I'm surprised and pleased to find so many. I would imagine both Osborne and Austbø are equally excellent.

Re: the Myung-Whun Chung's recordings, I love them. Turangalîla has lots of competition, but Éclairs, not so much. Sound quality of both is exemplary -- IMHO, a must in these scores.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: vers la flamme on October 15, 2020, 02:18:54 AM
I've only heard two: the landmark recording by Peter Serkin (1975) and Pierre-Laurent Aimard (2000). Even if you like other versions better, Serkin's is a marvel, despite some rather dry sound. (To some ears, that might be a plus.) Aimard's is also intensely spiritual, but with much better sonics.

Looking at versions available, I'm surprised and pleased to find so many. I would imagine both Osborne and Austbø are equally excellent.

Re: the Myung-Whun Chung's recordings, I love them. Turangalîla has lots of competition, but Éclairs, not so much. Sound quality of both is exemplary -- IMHO, a must in these scores.

--Bruce

I think I'll get the Chung Turangalîla—the only recording I have of that work is Ozawa from the '60s on RCA and the sound quality leaves something to be desired.

Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: vers la flamme on October 15, 2020, 02:25:18 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.
Title: Re: Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Post by: aukhawk on October 15, 2020, 08:12:11 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.