Messiaen: Chants de Terre et de Ciel

Messiaen: Chants de Terre et de Ciel

by Suzie LeBlanc
     
 
This elegant release includes some of Messiaen's most accessible early vocal and chamber music. The music's roots in the French musical culture of the early twentieth century is plainly evident, so the CD should appeal to fans of gentle post-Impressionism. The music is still recognizably Messiaen; his distinctive harmonies and idiosyncratic

Overview

This elegant release includes some of Messiaen's most accessible early vocal and chamber music. The music's roots in the French musical culture of the early twentieth century is plainly evident, so the CD should appeal to fans of gentle post-Impressionism. The music is still recognizably Messiaen; his distinctive harmonies and idiosyncratic sense of rhythm are apparent, but this is the composer at his most sensual, without the spikiness or austerity that characterize some of his later work. These pieces were all written when the composer was in his twenties. The most substantial work here is the song cycle "Chants de terre et de ciel," which Messiaen wrote to his own texts for his wife. The saturated harmonies and fluid rhythms give the music a sinuous and almost erotic intensity. There are many moments when the music achieves an ecstatic stillness, in which time seems suspended. Canadian soprano Suzie LeBlanc has a voice with the purity and immaculate intonation that the songs (which were long considered virtually unsingable) require technically, as well as the interpretive sensitivity to make them shimmer. The nuanced playing of pianist Robert Kortgaard immeasurably contributes to the luster of the performance. They bring the same finesse to "Trois mélodies," which the composer wrote as a student, but which are already marked with his unmistakable sound. "La morte du nombre," a short cantata scored for soprano, tenor, violin, and piano, is also a very early work; it inhabits the same aesthetic sphere: late Impressionism evolving into the composer's own distinctive style. It's simply a gorgeous piece. Tenor Lawrence Wiliford and violinist Laura Andriani join LeBlanc and Kortgaard in a radiant performance. The CD also includes two short pieces for violin and piano, "Vocalise" and "Thème et variations." Atma's sound is spectacularly present and vivid.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/30/2008
Label:
Atma Classique
UPC:
0722056256421
catalogNumber:
2564
Rank:
260735

Tracks

  1. Mélodies (3), for soprano & piano, I/4  - Olivier Messiaen  - Olivier Messiaen  - Robert Kortgaard  - Suzie LeBlanc  - Cécile Sauvage  - Donald Winkler  - Joseph Bain
  2. La Mort du nombre, for soprano, tenor, violin & piano, I/6  - Olivier Messiaen  - Olivier Messiaen  - Robert Kortgaard  - Suzie LeBlanc  - Lawrence Wiliford  - Donald Winkler  - Laura Andriani  - Joseph Bain
  3. Vocalise-étude, for soprano & piano (orchestrated as II mvt. of "Concert à quatre"), I/15  - Olivier Messiaen  - Robert Kortgaard  - Laura Andriani
  4. Chants de terre et de ciel, song cycle for soprano & piano, I/19  - Olivier Messiaen  - Olivier Messiaen  - Robert Kortgaard  - Suzie LeBlanc  - Donald Winkler  - Joseph Bain
  5. Theme and Variations, for violin & piano, I/10  - Olivier Messiaen  - Robert Kortgaard  - Laura Andriani

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