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Messiaen: Organ Works Vol 5 & 6 / Weir


Release Date: 03/29/2005 
Label:  Priory Records   Catalog #: 925/26   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Gillian Weir
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 21 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Weir’s benchmark recording returns.

Messiaen’s 18-movement organ cycle Livre du Saint Sacrement was written in 1984, the year after he’d completed a long period of hard labour on the opera Saint Frandois d’Assise. Apart from the orchestral Éclairs sur l’Au-delà… (1988-91) it was his last major work. It’s a worthy summation of Messiaen’s commitment to his own instrument, and of his concern to create music that, while technically all-embracing, was expressively focused on the great truths of Christianity as he saw them.

Echos of Messiaen’s earlier organ works can be heard here and there, but the Livre betrays no signs of creative fatigue, and although few organists have the opportunity to
Read more perform it complete on a regular basis it rightly forms the climax of all the complete sets on disc. Both Jennifer Bate (who made the first recording, on Messiaen’s own organ at Sainte-Trinité) and Oliver Latry are impressive here. Yet Gillian Weir’s Messiaen cycle remains the best of all, and she, playing the marvellous Frobenius instrument at Århus, brings that special spaciousness and intensity to the Livre that distinguishes her cycle as a whole.

Set against these virtues, the fact that separate movement timings are missing from the documentation is a very minor blemish. Since Weir has taken the opportunity to add performances of the three short early works (Prélude, Monodie, Offrande au Saint Sacrement) that weren’t generally known when her ‘integral’ set was originally issued, her collection is now as complete as Latry’s. It is also, quite simply, one of the finest organ recordings ever made.

-- Arnold Whittall, Gramophone [2004]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Livre du Saint Sacrement by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Gillian Weir (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984; France 
Length: 65 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Notes: Aarhus Cathedral, Denmark (01/25/1994 - 01/28/1994); Aarhus Cathedral, Denmark (02/23/1994 - 02/25/1994) 
2.
Prelude for Organ by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Gillian Weir (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 02/02/2003 
Venue:  Aarhus Cathedral, Denmark 
Length: 9 Minutes 57 Secs. 
3.
Monodie by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Gillian Weir (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; France 
Date of Recording: 02/02/2003 
Venue:  Aarhus Cathedral, Denmark 
Length: 3 Minutes 0 Secs. 
4.
Verset pour la fête de la dédicace by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Gillian Weir (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960; France 
Length: 10 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Notes: Aarhus Cathedral, Denmark (01/25/1994 - 01/28/1994); Aarhus Cathedral, Denmark (02/23/1994 - 02/25/1994) 
5.
Offrande au Saint Sacrement by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Gillian Weir (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930-1935; France 
Date of Recording: 02/02/2003 
Venue:  Aarhus Cathedral, Denmark 
Length: 4 Minutes 9 Secs. 
6.
Diptyque for Organ by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Gillian Weir (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; France 
Length: 11 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Notes: Aarhus Cathedral, Denmark (01/25/1994 - 01/28/1994); Aarhus Cathedral, Denmark (02/23/1994 - 02/25/1994) 

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