Olivier Messiaen: Des Canyons aux Étoilesby Myung-Wha Chung
Olivier Messiaen found inspiration in his faith and in the phenomena of the natural world, and Des Canyons aux étoiles (From the Canyons to the Stars) is arguably the composer's most awesome musical realization of that inspiration. Composed in 1972-74 for an oversize chamber orchestra, this massive 12-movement work was motivated by a trip to the canyons of Utah, where Messiaen noted the colors and shapes of the rock formations as well as the birdcalls he heard there. The music is majestic and strange -- appropriately so, given the terrain it depicts -- conveying not only a sense of immensity but also of the ecstatic, spiritual response the landscape elicits in the visitor. Myung-Whun Chung leads a characterful, colorful performance that takes in all the impressive sonic sights without too much lingering. Roger Muraro revels in the brilliant solo piano part (originally written for Messiaen's wife, Yvonne Loriod), and there is some virtuoso horn playing from Jean-Jacques Jastafré in the opening movement and again in the "Interstellar Call" (Movement Six). To sample the music's richness, turn to "Bryce Canyon and the Red-Orange Rocks" (Movement Seven), where the ecstatic element is at its most soul stirring. The French Radio Orchestra give what must be one of their best performances ever, and DG provides superb recorded sound -- clear, wide-ranging, and rich-toned. Like a visit to the canyons themselves, Messiaen's work is an experience.
- Release Date:
- Deutsche Grammophon
- Des Canyons aux étoiles, for piano & orchestra, I/51
Performance CreditsMyung-Wha Chung Primary Artist
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