is unusual: a bargain price Messiaen collection. It appears as
part of Erato’s Fiftieth Anniversary celebrations now under the
wing of Warners.
Exspecto is stark, unromantic, dissonant and percussion
dominated with defiantly gestural contributions from woodwind
and brass. Often with obsidian brass fading into percussion resonance
and out of it.
de la Cité Céleste is one of those works
in which the piano plays a prominent role amid the thickets of
percussion, smashing tam-tam blows and sphinx-like brass gestures.
Couleurs though written fifteen years later links conveniently
with parts of the extravagant Turangalila-Symphonie.
two works from the 1960s comes the L'Ascension four
movement work from 1930. This is conducted by Marius Constant
rather than Boulez and is for orchestra rather than brass-augmented
percussion ensemble. As with all the works on this well packed
disc the subject matter is devoutly devotional in a savagely magnificent
rather than excessively spiritual way. Listening to those squallingly
aspirational brass fanfares in the first movement (Majesté
du Christ) one can see where Andrzej Panufnik may have found
inspiration for his Sinfonia Sacra. With the celebratory
Alléluia sur la trompette, alléluia sur la cymbale
one can hear the influence of Debussy's La Mer later
to be sloughed off. In the Prière du Christ montant
vers son Père the calm and exaltation of Carl Ruggles’
string writing can be heard as well as elements of Barber (Adagio)
and Pettersson (Symphony No. 7).
course with these recordings you have to be ready for a bed of
hiss which here was more prominent than on the Roussel discs in
this Erato celebratory series. Strange how this fades down quite
distinctly in the Il ressusciteront movement of Et Exspecto.
The highly coloured orchestration is caught with astonishing immediacy
and in the first heyday of these recordings on vinyl must have
tested many a turntable and cartridge.
are authentic 1960s recordings sounding splendid (allowing for
a measure of analogue 'surface') both in impassioned repose (Prière
du Christ) and in savage praise (Et Exspecto). An inexpensive
way into Messiaen's world ... see Full Review