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Liszt, Messiaen / Fredrik Ullen

Liszt / Ullen
Release Date: 07/24/2012 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1803  
Composer:  Franz LisztOlivier Messiaen
Performer:  Fredrik Ullén
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



LISZT Sancta Dorothea. St. François d’Assise: La Prédication aux oiseaux. St. François de Paule marchant sur les flots. Consolations. Unstern! Sinistre, disastro. MESSIAEN Petites esquisses d’oiseaux. Cantéyodjayâ Fredrik Ullén (pn) BIS CD-1803 (72:15)


Here are two composers who lived a century apart, with little in common stylistically, yet Ullén’s program of alternate pieces by Franz Liszt and Read more Olivier Messiaen works extremely well. A strong Catholic faith was one thing the composers shared. Ullén concentrates on this specific area of Liszt’s output, understanding that all of Messiaen’s music was informed in some way by his religious beliefs.


The program begins with Liszt’s Sancta Dorothea , a gentle chorale to set the general mood of contemplation, then moves to his famous evocation of birds in the first of the two Légendes , depicting St. Francis of Assisi : La prédication aux oiseaux.


It is inevitable that Messiaen’s birdsong-influenced music should follow, and so it does. Ullén chooses the late suite of six short pieces ( Petites equisses d’oiseaux ), composed after a two-year break upon completion of his opera, also on the subject of Francis of Assisi. Alternating with these, the pianist intersperses Liszt’s six Consolations : music of religious inspiration with enough variety to avoid any feeling of sameness. The program concludes with a late, disturbingly modern sounding work of Liszt: Unstern! Sinistre, Disastro, written only a few years before his death, followed by Messiaen’s vibrant love poem Cantéyodjayâ of 1949 and finally the second of Liszt’s Legends, the stormy St. François de Paule marchant sur les flots.


The thought Ullén puts into programming he also brings to his playing. Known for remarkable technical skill (Ullén has recorded fearsome etudes by Sorabji and Ligeti), the Swedish pianist here provides limpid beauty, perfectly balanced textures and the sense of inward calm this music demands—even in the twittering birdsongs. He puts all his skill and intelligence at the service of these unexpectedly complementary composers, and his piano is beautifully recorded. Quite simply, this disc is a gem.


FANFARE: Phillip Scott
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Works on This Recording

1. Unstern: sinistre, disastro for Piano, S 208 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Fredrik Ullén (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: after 1880; Rome, Italy 
2. Sancta Dorothea for Piano, S 187 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Fredrik Ullén (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; Rome, Italy 
3. Légendes (2) for Piano, S 175: no 2, St Francis de Paule walks on water by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Fredrik Ullén (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863; Rome, Italy 
4. Légendes (2) for Piano, S 175: no 1, St Francis of Assisi preaching by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Fredrik Ullén (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863; Rome, Italy 
5. Consolations (6) for Piano, S 172 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Fredrik Ullén (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849-1850; Weimar, Germany 
6. Petites Esquisses d'oiseaux by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Fredrik Ullén (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1985; France 
7. Cantéyodjayâ by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Fredrik Ullén (Piano)
Written: 1948 

Sound Samples

Sancta Dorothea, S187/R73
2 Legendes, S175/R17: No. 1. St. Francois d' Assise - La predication aux oiseaux
Petites esquisses d'oiseaux (Little Sketches of Birds): No. 1. Le rouge-gorge (Robin)
Consolations, S172/R12: No. 1. Andante con moto
Petites esquisses d'oiseaux (Little Sketches of Birds): No. 2. Le merle-noir (Blackbird)
Consolations, S172/R12: No. 2. Un poco piu mosso
Petites esquisses d'oiseaux (Little Sketches of Birds): No. 3. Le rouge-gorge (Robin)
Petites esquisses d'oiseaux (Little Sketches of Birds): No. 4. La grive-musicienne (Song Thrush)
Consolations, S172/R12: No. 3 in D flat major: Lento placido
Consolations, S172/R12: No. 4. Quasi adagio
Petites esquisses d'oiseaux (Little Sketches of Birds): No. 5. Le rouge-gorge (Robin)
Petites esquisses d'oiseaux (Little Sketches of Birds): No. 6. L'alouette des champs (Sky Lark)
Consolations, S172/R12: No. 5. Andantino
Consolations, S172/R12: No. 6. Allegretto sempre cantabile
Unstern! Sinistre, disastro, S208/R80
Canteyodjaya
2 Legendes, S175/R17: No. 2. St. Francois de Paule marchant sur les flots

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