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Olivier Messiaen: Inédits
     

Olivier Messiaen: Inédits

 
This CD features the first release of performances of short works by Messiaen, all of them rarities, except for "Le merle noir." Messiaen wrote "La morte du nombre" for soprano, tenor, violin, and piano in 1929 while he was a student at the Paris Conservatory. It's possible to trace its lineage back through Debussy's

Overview

This CD features the first release of performances of short works by Messiaen, all of them rarities, except for "Le merle noir." Messiaen wrote "La morte du nombre" for soprano, tenor, violin, and piano in 1929 while he was a student at the Paris Conservatory. It's possible to trace its lineage back through Debussy's "Le Martyre de St. Sébastien" to "Tristan," but in its melodic, harmonic, and gestural language, it is still very clearly a work of Messiaen's and couldn't possibly be attributed to anyone else. It's a serene, gorgeous, sensuous piece that deserves to be more widely known. "Offrande au Saint Sacrament," for organ, is undated, but probably written soon after "La morte du nombre" in a similar mood of quiet radiance. It's typical of the style of the composer's organ works of the early '30s -- harmonically and melodically rich, emotionally warm, and rhythmically irregular. "Quatre Inédits for Ondes Martenot and piano" sound like absolutely nothing else in the world. Messiaen regularly used the early electronic instrument to ravishing effect as part of an orchestral texture, but it's revelatory to hear it highlighted as it is here -- the sounds of which it's capable and which the composer adroitly exploits are stunning. The album closes with "Chant des Déportés," for chorus and orchestra, written in celebration of the liberation of prisoners from concentration camps in 1945. It's distinctly Messiaen, but at the same time rousingly patriotic -- the choral parts are unison and relatively simple, probably intended for community choruses rather than professionals -- and the effect is genuinely gripping. The performances are generally very fine, particularly those featuring pianist Yvonne Loriod, the composer's wife, organist Naji Hakim, and Jeanne Loriod playing Ondes Martenot. The vocal soloists in "La morte du nombre" sound a little pinched. The sound quality of the recording of the BBC Orchestra & Chorus, under Andrew Davis, is muffled and woofy, but otherwise good. Any fan of the composer will want to hear these obscure but attractive pieces.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/29/1999
Label:
JADE / BMG
UPC:
0743216741120
catalogNumber:
67411

Tracks

  1. La Mort du nombre, for soprano, tenor, violin & piano, I/6
  2. Offrande au Saint-Sacrement, for organ
  3. Prélude, for piano: works~Unspecified Prelude for piano
  4. Chant (dans le style Mozart), for clarinet & piano
  5. Prélude, for organ
  6. Piece, for piano & string quartet, I/58
  7. Le merle noir, for flute & piano, I/37
  8. Monodie, for organ, I/45a
  9. Work(s): 4 Inédits Pour Piano et Onde Martenot
  10. Pièce pour le tombeau de Paul Dukas, for piano, I/16
  11. Chant des Déportés, for large soprano and tenor chorus & orchestra, I/60

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