Messiaen: Livre d'orgue

Messiaen: Livre d'orgue

by Tom Winpenny


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Following his 2017 Naxos release of Olivier Messiaen's "Les Corps glorieux" and the "Messe de la Pentecôte," Tom Winpenny has recorded the "Livre d'orgue" (1951), a collection of studies employing Indian rhythms, unusual modes, and birdsongs, which were all part of the composer's stock-in-trade at the time. The opening track, an independent work titled "Verset pour la fête de la Dédicace" (1960), is a soft and relatively accessible birdsong piece that serves as a suitable introduction to Messiaen's style and methods. Because what follows is considerably more sparse, angular, and fragmentary, the "Livre d'orgue" may be regarded as a rather cerebral exercise. In spite of such evocative titles as "The Hands of the Abyss" and "The Eyes in the Wheels," there is less of the religious mysticism that otherwise permeates Messiaen's music. One might be tempted to dismiss the "Livre d'orgue" as an anthology of mid-20th century avant-garde notions, particularly over the use of pointillisme that was common in the international serial style, but considering Messiaen's deep faith and visionary outlook, it's difficult to write off as merely a bag of tricks. The closing pieces, "Monodie" (1963) and "Tristan et Yseult: Thème d'amour" (1945), are slight and seem to be included for the sake of completeness, though Winpenny deserves credit for choosing pieces that are well suited to the program as a whole.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/13/2018
Label: Naxos
UPC: 0747313384570
catalogNumber: 8573845
Rank: 213176


  1. Tristan et Yseult: Thème d'amour, for organ
  2. Monodie, for organ, I/45a
  3. Livre d'orgue, for organ, I/38
  4. Verset pour la Fête de la Dédicace, for organ, I/44

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