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Messiaen Edition


Release Date: 04/18/2006 
Label:  Warner Classics   Catalog #: 62162   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Yvonne LoriodFrançois DupinGeorges BarboteuAlain Jacquet,   ... 
Conductor:  Marius ConstantPierre BoulezKent NaganoMarcel Couraud
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ars Nova Ensemble of the ORTFDomaine Musical OrchestraStrasbourg Percussion Ensemble,   ... 
Number of Discs: 18 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 19 Hours 33 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

You may not be losing any sleep over your lack of 18 discs of Messiaen, but for all his music’s odd mixture of wackiness and pedantry, not to mention his total lack of humor, he was unquestionably one of the great musical voices of the 20th century. His music is personal, compelling, and often strikingly beautiful. It is also remarkably consistent, whether written for orchestra, ensemble, piano, organ, or the voice. These 18 discs (17 if we discount the nearly hour-long interview, thoughtfully translated in the extensive accompanying booklet) offer an exceptionally comprehensive and complete overview of his achievement. Not all of the performances are the very best available, but a surprising number of them are.

VOCAL WORKS Read more />
Messiaen’s vocal writing is problematic. First, there are his own strange texts, whether on the subject of love or religious mysticism. They often look and sound ridiculous, and this is exaggerated by the awkwardness of the vocal lines. Included here are Poèmes pour mi, Chants de terre et de ciel, Harawi, Cinq Rechants, and the Trois Petites Liturgies. The first three works are song cycles, the last two are choral works. The Trois Petities Liturgies probably is the easiest work to enjoy, on account of it being written in the same basic idiom as the Turangalila-symphonie (complete with Ondes Martenot). There is no point in criticizing Maria Oràn or Rachel Yakar, the brave sopranos who took on the thankless task of performing the song cycles. They deserve our respect. The other performances are very fine, though I find the Cinq Rechants virtually unlistenable, both as music and poetry.

ORGAN WORKS

Messiaen’s organ music stands in the great line of French works for the instrument starting with Franck and Widor, and proceeding through Vierne and Tournemire. They are wholly characteristic, and often fascinating in their timbral combinations. Despite being written for “the king of instruments”, they are also some of Messiaen’s most personal pieces, being largely inspired by his religious faith. The works included here number among his most approachable: La Nativité du Seigneur, Le Banquet celeste, and Apparition de l’église éternelle are splendidly performed by Marie-Claire Alain, while Méditations sur le mystère de la Sainte-Trinité is played by Messiaen himself. All of these pieces have become standard repertoire among organists, perhaps the last music for the instrument to earn that distinction. They are critically important to any understanding of Messiaen’s achievement, and there is just enough music here to let you decide if you want to explore further.

PIANO WORKS

These include the most famous “bird” pieces: Petites esquisses d’oiseaux, Catalogue d’Oiseaux, La Fauvette des jardins, and (with orchestra) Réveil des oiseaux. In fact, the piano is a marvelous medium for realizing Messiaen’s birdsong obsession, but his writing for the instrument also includes some of his more abstract pieces: the Preludes, and the Four Rhythmic Etudes. Messiaen’s most famous piano cycle, the Vingt Regards sur l’enfant Jésus also is included, all of these works performed by the composer’s wife and ideal interpreter, Yvonne Loriod. There are, of course, many versions of these pieces now available, many of them just as good, but Loriod’s authority can’t be denied. Visions de l’Amen, now a classic of the piano duo repertoire, also receives a fine interpretation courtesy of the Labèque sisters.

ORCHESTRAL & ENSEMBLE WORKS

Now for the bad news. The original release of this set, on Erato, lacked Messiaen’s most popular work: the Turangalila-symphonie. This omission has been remedied, but Kent Nagano’s live Berlin Philharmonic version, sloppily played and indifferently engineered, isn’t recommendable. It’s a shame, because the rest of the orchestral works are excellently done. Marius Constant’s version of From the Canyons to the Stars remains the best available, and his performances of Les Offrandes oubliées, the Hymne au Saint Sarement, Sept Haïkaï, and L’Ascension are all marvelous. The same holds true for Pierre Boulez’s versions of Colors of the Celestial City and Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum. This performance of the Quartet for the End of Time doesn’t displace Tashi’s incomparable RCA recording, but it’s still quite good. As already noted, this set comes with a big, fat booklet that offers not only the interview, but complete notes, texts (for what they’re worth), and translations. If you buy this set, and then supplement it with, say, Wit’s Naxos recording of the Turangalila-symphonie, you should have enough Messiaen to last a very long time. It occupies much less shelf space than the original Erato release, and there really is no better way to get to know this music so inexpensively and conveniently.

— David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Vingt regards sur l'enfant Jésus by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Yvonne Loriod (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; France 
Date of Recording: 10/1973 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris, France 
Length: 120 Minutes 16 Secs. 
2.
Des canyons aux étoiles by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Yvonne Loriod (Piano), François Dupin (Glockenspiel), Georges Barboteu (French Horn),
Alain Jacquet (Xylorimba)
Conductor:  Marius Constant
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ars Nova Ensemble of the ORTF
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1970-1974; France 
Date of Recording: 02/1973 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris, France 
Length: 98 Minutes 59 Secs. 
3.
Haïkaï (7) by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Yvonne Loriod (Piano)
Conductor:  Marius Constant
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ars Nova Ensemble of the ORTF
Written: 1962 
Date of Recording: 07/1977 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris, France 
Length: 22 Minutes 38 Secs. 
4.
Couleurs de la cité céleste by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Gaston Derytère (Clarinet), André Fournier (Clarinet), Yvonne Loriod (Piano),
Jean-Paul Finkbeiner (Tubular Bells), René Allain (Trombone), Guy Deplus (Clarinet),
Georges Van Gucht (Xylophone), Pierre Thibaud (Trumpet), Jean Batigne (Marimba),
Claude Ricou (Xylorimba)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Domaine Musical Orchestra,  Strasbourg Percussion Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; France 
Date of Recording: 01/1966 
Venue:  Notre Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 17 Minutes 1 Secs. 
5.
Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Yvonne Loriod (Piano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Domaine Musical Orchestra,  Strasbourg Percussion Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1964; France 
Date of Recording: 01/1966 
Venue:  Notre Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 29 Minutes 46 Secs. 
6.
Visions de l'amen by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Marielle Labèque (Piano), Katia Labèque (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; France 
Date of Recording: 12/1969 
Venue:  Salle Adyard, Paris, France 
Length: 47 Minutes 43 Secs. 
7.
L'Ascension for Orchestra by Olivier Messiaen
Conductor:  Marius Constant
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933; France 
Date of Recording: 01/1966 
Venue:  Studio 103, ORTF 
Length: 26 Minutes 8 Secs. 
8.
Les offrandes oubliées by Olivier Messiaen
Conductor:  Marius Constant
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1971 
Venue:  Studio 103, Radio France, Paris, France 
Length: 11 Minutes 55 Secs. 
9.
Hymne au Saint-Sacrement by Olivier Messiaen
Conductor:  Marius Constant
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1971 
Venue:  Studio 103, Radio France, Paris, France 
Length: 14 Minutes 0 Secs. 
10.
Petites Esquisses d'oiseaux by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Yvonne Loriod (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1985; France 
Date of Recording: 10/1987 
Venue:  Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 14 Minutes 35 Secs. 
11.
Preludes (8) for Piano by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Yvonne Loriod (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929; France 
Date of Recording: 10/1987 
Venue:  Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 33 Minutes 38 Secs. 
12.
Catalogue d'oiseaux by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Yvonne Loriod (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956-1958; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1970 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris, France 
Length: 162 Minutes 50 Secs. 
13.
La fauvette des jardins by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Yvonne Loriod (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; France 
Date of Recording: 02/1973 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris, France 
Length: 34 Minutes 25 Secs. 
14.
Méditations sur le mystère de la Sainte Trinité by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Olivier Messiaen (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1969; France 
Date of Recording: 06/1972 
Venue:  Église de la Trinité, Paris, France 
Length: 77 Minutes 34 Secs. 
15.
Quatuor pour la fin du temps by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Marie-Madeleine Petit (Piano), Huguette Fernandez (Violin), Jacques Neilz (Cello),
Guy Deplus (Clarinet)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; Silesia, Poland 
Date of Recording: 02/1963 
Venue:  Hoche Studio, Paris, France 
Length: 50 Minutes 2 Secs. 
16.
Harawi by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Rachel Yakar (Soprano), Yvonne Loriod (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; France 
Date of Recording: 02/1988 
Venue:  Studio 107, Radio France, Paris 
Length: 57 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Language: French 
17.
Poèmes pour Mi by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Maria Oran (Soprano), Yvonne Loriod (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; France 
Length: 29 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Language: French 
18.
Chants de Terre et de Ciel by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Yvonne Loriod (Piano), Maria Oran (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; France 
Length: 28 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Language: French 
19.
La nativité du Seigneur by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Marie-Claire Alain (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; France 
Date of Recording: 04/1988 
Venue:  Hofkirche, Lucerne, Switzerland 
Length: 51 Minutes 0 Secs. 
20.
Le banquet céleste by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Marie-Claire Alain (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; France 
Date of Recording: 04/1988 
Venue:  Hofkirche, Lucerne, Switzerland 
Length: 6 Minutes 4 Secs. 
21.
Apparition de l'église éternelle by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Marie-Claire Alain (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932; France 
Date of Recording: 04/1988 
Venue:  Hofkirche, Lucerne, Switzerland 
Length: 8 Minutes 14 Secs. 
22.
Turangalîla-Symphonie by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Dominique Kim (Ondes Martenot), Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Conductor:  Kent Nagano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946-1948; France 
Date of Recording: 03/2000 
Venue:  Live  Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 73 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Notes: Version: 1990 
23.
Réveil des oiseaux by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Yvonne Loriod (Piano)
Conductor:  Kent Nagano
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953; France 
Date of Recording: 10/23/1992 
Venue:  Studio 103, Radio France, Paris, France 
Length: 22 Minutes 18 Secs. 
24.
Rechants (5) by Olivier Messiaen
Conductor:  Marcel Couraud
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; France 
Date of Recording: 04/1968 
Venue:  Studio 103, Radio France, Paris, France 
Length: 17 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Language: French 
25.
Études (4) de rhythme by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Yvonne Loriod (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; France 
Date of Recording: 01/1968 
Venue:  Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris 
Length: 17 Minutes 25 Secs. 
26.
Petites liturgies (3) de la Présence Divine by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Jeanne Loriod (Ondes Martenot), Yvonne Loriod (Piano)
Conductor:  Marcel Couraud
Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF Chamber Orchestra,  ORTF Women's Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; France 
Date of Recording: 02/1964 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris, France 
Length: 37 Minutes 7 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 I did not ever receive this order July 6, 2013 By John Kuzma (Denver, CO) See All My Reviews "I regret that I didn't receive this fine recording. Can you help?" Report Abuse
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