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Messiaen: Chamber Works - Hebrides Ensemble

Messiaen: Chamber Works - Hebrides Ensemble

Linn Records  CKD 314

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Chamber


Olivier Messiaen: Quatuor pour la fin du Temps, Theme et variations, Piece pour piano et quatuor a cordes, Fantaisie, Le Merle noir

Hebrides Ensemble


Released to celebrate the centenary of the composer's birth, this new recording of Messiaen's chamber works, including the premiere recording of Fantaisie, is a comprehensive collection with highly informative booklet notes by Messiaen expert Nigel Simeone. Messiaen: Chamber Works marries the chamber works of one of the finest 20th century composers with the renowned interpretive skills of contemporary music specialists the Hebrides Ensemble. Quatour pour la fin du Temps, written and premiered in a POW camp, is one of the most remarkable works to have come out of World War II. The Hebrides Ensemble powerfully conveys its apocalyptic inspiration and message of faith.

Messiaen: Chamber Works includes the first recording of Fantaisie, a work for violin and piano, thought to be lost until it was re-discovered by Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen and then published in 2007. The Theme and Variations was Messiaen's first piece of instrumental chamber music and was considered by the composer to be one of his best.

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Review by John Broggio - June 10, 2008

A superlative recording from both sonic and artistic standpoints.

The multi-faceted Quatour pour la fin du Temps is given a reading that is very intense in mood. Note that this does not mean wrought but deeply in the spirit of the music: rarely has the Louange à l'Éternité de Jésus (cello and piano) nor the companion piece Louange à l'Immortalité de Jésus (violin and piano) that close the work sounded so ethereal or at one with tranquillity. The more violent episodes are given very brutal renditions - the marvel of Messiaen's creativity is that he managed to leave these thoughts at all during his captivity. While it seems invidious, special mention must go Maximiliano Martín for his very special playing of the Abîme des oiseaux for the clarinet appears to arrive out of complete silence without a discernible entry! The playing of the remainder of disc is similarly well played even if the quality of the music is not quite of the same exalted level as the quartet.

The recording is a great achievement, perfectly judged to give all the tonal variety that Philip Moore extracts from the piano as well as the above mentioned clarinet work of Martín.

Absolutely captivating and a wonderful contribution to the centenary of Messiaen's birth - highly recommended.

Copyright © 2008 John Broggio and HRAudio.net

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