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Autuor De Messiaen - Tremblay, Et Al / Paiement, Et Al

Release Date: 04/25/2006 
Label:  Msr   Catalog #: 1151   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Tristan MurailQi-gang ChenMichčle ReverdyGilles Tremblay
Performer:  Jean-Michele FonteneauMack McCraySe Young LeeBeatrice Kohlloeffel,   ... 
Conductor:  Nicole A. Paiement
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble ParalléleSan Francisco Conservatory New Music Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

REVERDY Concerto for Orchestra. 1 MURAIL Attracteurs étranges. 2 CHEN Instants d’un opéra de Pekin. 3 TREMBLAY Croissant 4 Nicole Paiement, cond; 1,2,3 Jean Michel Fonteneau (vc); 2 Read more class="ARIAL12"> Mack McCray (pn); 3 Se Young Lee (vn); 4 Beatrice Kohlloeffel (vn); 4 Ryan Mooney (va); 4 Corry Rankin (vc); 4 San Francisco Conservatory New Music Ens; 1,2,3 Ens Parallèle 1,2,3 MSR 1151 (62:51)

This collection brings together four composers of different generations and different nationalities. What they have in common is that, at some point, they each studied with Olivier Messiaen.

Gilles Tremblay, born in Quebec in 1932, studied analysis with Messiaen at the Paris Conservatoire during the late 1950s and later became professor of analysis and composition at the Montreal Conservatoire. His string quartet Croissant (from croitre : to grow) is a 20-minute work in one movement, beginning with wisps of sound (pizzicatos and glissandos primarily) and feeling its way towards a more lyrical adagio and a brief scherzo. A fleeting but pivotal reference to Mozart’s Quartet K 458 marks a change of mood.

Tristan Murail (b. 1947) is probably the most familiar name here, known as a musical theorist as well as composer. He was influenced by Messiaen (according to his booklet note) in the areas of resonance and refinement of instrumental timbre. His piece for solo cello ( Strange Attractors ) refers to mathematics for its inspiration, but as an analogy, not in its formal processes. To quote the composer: “The melodic contours of the cello describe spirals that always seem to return to one or several identical points, but in fact always follow differing, warped or diverted trajectories.” In layman’s terms, that would seem to mean the cello rambles aimlessly. In fact, to the naked ear, both the Tremblay and Murail works strike me as little more than a series of exploratory gestures.

The 22-minute Concerto for Orchestra by Michèle Reverdy (b. Egypt, 1943) begins in a testing, exploratory mood as well, but before long tension develops between contrasting themes (and sections of the orchestra), firing up an energy that carries the work along. Scoring is bright and transparent, with particular emphasis on percussion. (Messiaen’s influence is clear here.) What I take to be the second movement, beginning with a sudden mysterious passage around the 13-minute mark, is actually quite creepy! It builds gradually towards the piece’s uneasy, discordant conclusion.

Qigang Chen (b. Shanghai, 1955) was Messiaen’s final composition student, studying with him in 1984. This composer provides a set of piano variations on two themes from the Beijing Opera. While Messiaen may be heard in some of the harmonic choices and keyboard textures, Chen’s music is equally informed by the modes and repetitions inherent in traditional Chinese music. It makes for a strongly individual, tightly organized work, containing several dazzling passages which are dashed off with élan by McCray. (Another performance by Joel Fan is available as part of a mixed recital: see the double review in Fanfare 30:3. Qigang Chen’s orchestral music may also be sampled on two recent Virgin CDs.)

Recording quality and performance standards are high throughout this disc (though it is recorded at a lower than average level overall). Listeners interested in contemporary music are recommended to sample the works by Reverdy and Chen in particular. While all four composers studied with Messiaen, it is refreshing to hear that none has merely aped the master’s style.

FANFARE: Phillip Scott
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Works on This Recording

Attracteurs étranges by Tristan Murail
Performer:  Jean-Michele Fonteneau (Cello)
Conductor:  Nicole A. Paiement
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Paralléle,  San Francisco Conservatory New Music Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1992; France 
Instants d'un opera de Pekin by Qi-gang Chen
Performer:  Mack McCray (Piano)
Conductor:  Nicole A. Paiement
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Paralléle,  San Francisco Conservatory New Music Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2000 
Concerto for Orchestra by Michčle Reverdy
Performer:  Se Young Lee (Violin), Jean-Michele Fonteneau (Cello), Mack McCray (Piano),
Beatrice Kohlloeffel (Violin), Ryan Mooney (Viola), Corry Rankin (Cello)
Conductor:  Nicole A. Paiement
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Paralléle,  San Francisco Conservatory New Music Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1994 
Croissant by Gilles Tremblay
Performer:  Beatrice Kohlloeffel (Violin), Se Young Lee (Violin), Ryan Mooney (Viola),
Corry Rankin (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2001 

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