Olivier Messiaen [Box Set]

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
Na?ve has some of the finest performances of Messiaen in its catalog and brings together four previous releases on six discs with this bargain-priced collection. Reinbert de Leeuw, who's featured on three of the releases, on two as conductor and one as pianist, is one of the foremost Messiaen interpreters to emerge in the late twentieth century. He is absolutely in tune with the composer's often cryptic musical logic, which in the hands of less insightful performers is not always apparent. De Leeuw's performances are fresh and spontaneous sounding, which, given Messiaen's carefully calibrated temporal irregularities must be just what the composer intended. Messiaen ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
Naïve has some of the finest performances of Messiaen in its catalog and brings together four previous releases on six discs with this bargain-priced collection. Reinbert de Leeuw, who's featured on three of the releases, on two as conductor and one as pianist, is one of the foremost Messiaen interpreters to emerge in the late twentieth century. He is absolutely in tune with the composer's often cryptic musical logic, which in the hands of less insightful performers is not always apparent. De Leeuw's performances are fresh and spontaneous sounding, which, given Messiaen's carefully calibrated temporal irregularities must be just what the composer intended. Messiaen cultivated a sense of wonder by creating music with both ethereal serenity and startling outbursts, and de Leeuw expresses that wonder beautifully. "La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ," the composer's largest choral work, calls for massive choral and instrumental forces and is one of his most austere creations. In this performance, featuring Bruxelles Radio Choir and Hilversum Radio Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, the work's otherworldliness is enveloping and its ecstatic eruptions are gripping. This must be considered a definitive performance of the piece, based on the composer's rhapsodic endorsement, which is full of superlatives and triple exclamation points. De Leeuw brings the same understanding and vision to "Des Canyons aux Etoiles," for piano, horn, xylorimba, glockenspiel, and orchestra, one of Messiaen's most immediately appealing works, played by the superb ASKO Ensemble, Schönberg Ensemble, and Slagwerkgroep den Haag. His performance of "Visions de l'Amen," for two pianos, with Maarten Bon, is luminous and colorful. The disc conducted by Pierre Boulez includes four of Messiaen's works for piano and small orchestra. It was taken from a live 1988 performance in honor of the composer's 80th birthday and features pianist Yvonne Loriod, the composer's wife, and Ensemble InterContemporain. Boulez's interpretations may not have the flexibility of de Leeuw's, but his cool precision works well with this more abstract repertoire. His performance of "Oiseaux Exotiques," another of the composer's most familiar pieces, is especially engaging, lively, and playful. Loriod, who is certainly the premier Messiaen interpreter, plays with authority and poetry. The sound quality is exemplary, but there is some ancillary noise on the Boulez disc.
Toronto Star - John Terauds
A compilation of must-have recordings.... All of the performances here vibrate with life and intensity.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/27/2008
  • Label: Naive
  • UPC: 822186821794
  • Catalog Number: 782179
  • Sales rank: 246,195

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–14 La Transfiguration de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ, for 100 voices, pno, cello, fl, clar, xylorimba, vib, mar & orchestra, I/48 - Olivier Messiaen & Reinbert de Leeuw (99:51)
Disc 2
Disc 3
  1. 1–7 Visions de l'Amen for 2 pianos, I/25 - Olivier Messiaen & Maarten Bon (48:49)
Disc 4
  1. 1 Applause - Recorded Sound & Péter Eötvös (0:20)
  2. 2 Sept haïkaï, for piano, 13 winds, 6 percussion & 8 violins, I/45 - Pierre Boulez & Olivier Messiaen (21:10)
  3. 3 Couleurs de la cité céleste, for piano, 13 winds & 6 percussion, I/46 - Pierre Boulez & Olivier Messiaen (16:19)
  4. 4 Un Vitrail et des oiseaux, for piano, 17 winds, trumpet & 8 percussion, I/55 - Pierre Boulez & Olivier Messiaen (8:27)
  5. 5 Oiseaux exotiques, for piano, 11 winds & 7 percussion, I/41 - Pierre Boulez & Olivier Messiaen (15:26)
Disc 5
  1. 1–12 Des Canyons aux étoiles, for piano & orchestra, I/51 - Olivier Messiaen & ASKO Ensemble (91:05)
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Inspirational Tribute

    In honor of the 100th year of Olivier Messiaen’s birth comes this six-disc set of some of his most groundbreaking and beautiful music. The protean composer was one of the 20th century’s major visionaries as well as one of its most accessible artists, a claim few other musicians can make. While his output is immense, this box set functions both as a wonderful entry point for those unfamiliar with his work, and a welcome addition to the most ardent Messian fan’s collection. An added bonus is the presence of two of the most gifted interpreters of his music: the virtuoso pianist Yvonne Loriod (Messiaen’s widow), and legendary conductor/composer Pierre Boulez. The first two discs are devoted to Messiaen’s “The Transfiguration of Christ,” a monumental work that expresses his deep religious faith through an astonishing musical palette of brilliant orchestral colors and sensuous choral passages. The composer’s trademark birdsong effects and exotic percussion are also much in evidence. The performance by Loriod, the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Brussels BRTN choir is perhaps the best version I’ve heard. Disc three features “Visions de L’Amen,” a much knottier, more angular work, scored for two pianos, that makes effective use of repetition and harsh dynamics, yet not without sparks of iridescent lyricism. Disc four is a real treat: a 1988 concert staged in honor of Messiaen’s 80th birthday, with Pierre Boulez conducting a small orchestra and Loriod playing piano on several of the composer’s seminal works. “Sept Haiku” and “Couleurs de la Cite Celeste” are sublime meditations full of movement, tension and mystery. “Un Vitrail et des Oiseaux” and “Oiseaux Exotiques” evoke to the fullest Messiaen’s ability to transpose actual birdsong transcriptions into ravishing musical equivalents. The final two discs present another massive orchestral work, “Des Canyons aux Etoiles.” Inspired by the geography and birds of Utah’s Bryce Canyon, it’s a long and episodic journey full of Messiaen’s unique sound colors and textures, infused with a profound spiritual beauty that can be equally enjoyed from a religious or secular perspective. All of these works share an idiosyncratic approach to melody, rhythm and harmony, and sound like no other music ever written. Messiaen passed away in 1992, but musicians and music lovers alike are still coming to grips with his complex and glorious legacy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews