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Pierre-Laurent Aimard|Messiaen: Catalogue d’oiseaux, I/42

Messiaen: Catalogue d’oiseaux, I/42

Pierre-Laurent Aimard

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Can the title of a work influence the way that performers approach it? At any rate, Messiaen's two great piano masterpieces have titles which suggest very different musical experiences. Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus (1944) is steeped in religious fervour and contemplation, while Catalogue d’oiseaux (1956–1958) is a work with rather more of an ornithological bent. Indeed, the composer himself said to Claude Samuel: "I tried to render exactly the song of a bird typical of a given region, surrounded by its neighbours in that habitat, as well as expressions of its song at different times of day and night." But then he goes on to describe a more expressive and poetic side of the work. Birdsong, effectively, "bears in its harmonic and rhythmic material the scents and colours of the country in which the bird lives", and it is hardly possible to "exactly" transcribe the improbable rapidity of birdsong for any human instrument. One might have thought that "sonic reproduction" was the key idea behind the Catalogue d'oiseaux, but in the finished work, what we are listening to is a great composer, a master of innovative structures, finding a stunning range of piano sounds. In other words, in spite of its name, the Catalogue d’oiseaux is not a musical documentary, but rather a series of musical poems exploring birds and other wonders of nature – in France, as that is where all these delightful flying things happened to be found. Pierre-Laurent Aimard gives a reading of the (diabolical) score which is both super-precise and rigorous, and yet so poetic and inspired that one has the impression that he is taking dictation directly from the birds themselves. © SM/Qobuz

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Messiaen: Catalogue d’oiseaux, I/42

Pierre-Laurent Aimard

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Catalogue d’oiseaux, I/42 (Olivier Messiaen)

1
No. 1. Le Chocard des Alpes (Alpine Chough)
00:09:37

Olivier Messiaen, Composer - Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2018 PENTATONE (P) 2018 PENTATONE

2
No. 2. Le Loriot (Golden Oriole)
00:08:18

Olivier Messiaen, Composer - Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2018 PENTATONE (P) 2018 PENTATONE

3
No. 3. Le Merle bleu (Blue Rock Thrush)
00:13:10

Olivier Messiaen, Composer - Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2018 PENTATONE (P) 2018 PENTATONE

4
No. 4. Le Traquet Stapazin (Black-eared Wheatear)
00:14:15

Olivier Messiaen, Composer - Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2018 PENTATONE (P) 2018 PENTATONE

5
No. 5. La Chouette Hulotte (Tawny Owl)
00:08:04

Olivier Messiaen, Composer - Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2018 PENTATONE (P) 2018 PENTATONE

6
No. 6. L'Alouette-lulu (Wood Lark)
00:06:49

Olivier Messiaen, Composer - Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2018 PENTATONE (P) 2018 PENTATONE

DISC 2

1
No. 7. La Rousserolle Effarvatte (Reed Warbler)
00:31:39

Olivier Messiaen, Composer - Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2018 PENTATONE (P) 2018 PENTATONE

DISC 3

1
No. 8. L'Alouette Calandrelle (Short-toed Lark)
00:05:20

Olivier Messiaen, Composer - Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2018 PENTATONE (P) 2018 PENTATONE

2
No. 9. La Bouscarle (Cetti's Warbler)
00:10:39

Olivier Messiaen, Composer - Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2018 PENTATONE (P) 2018 PENTATONE

3
No. 10. Le Merle de roche (Rock Thrush)
00:17:43

Olivier Messiaen, Composer - Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2018 PENTATONE (P) 2018 PENTATONE

4
No. 11. La Buse variable (Buzzard)
00:09:55

Olivier Messiaen, Composer - Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2018 PENTATONE (P) 2018 PENTATONE

5
No. 12. La Traquet rieur (Black Wheatear)
00:08:02

Olivier Messiaen, Composer - Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2018 PENTATONE (P) 2018 PENTATONE

6
No. 13. Le Courlis cendré (Curlew)
00:09:17

Olivier Messiaen, Composer - Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Artist, MainArtist

(C) 2018 PENTATONE (P) 2018 PENTATONE

Album review

Can the title of a work influence the way that performers approach it? At any rate, Messiaen's two great piano masterpieces have titles which suggest very different musical experiences. Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus (1944) is steeped in religious fervour and contemplation, while Catalogue d’oiseaux (1956–1958) is a work with rather more of an ornithological bent. Indeed, the composer himself said to Claude Samuel: "I tried to render exactly the song of a bird typical of a given region, surrounded by its neighbours in that habitat, as well as expressions of its song at different times of day and night." But then he goes on to describe a more expressive and poetic side of the work. Birdsong, effectively, "bears in its harmonic and rhythmic material the scents and colours of the country in which the bird lives", and it is hardly possible to "exactly" transcribe the improbable rapidity of birdsong for any human instrument. One might have thought that "sonic reproduction" was the key idea behind the Catalogue d'oiseaux, but in the finished work, what we are listening to is a great composer, a master of innovative structures, finding a stunning range of piano sounds. In other words, in spite of its name, the Catalogue d’oiseaux is not a musical documentary, but rather a series of musical poems exploring birds and other wonders of nature – in France, as that is where all these delightful flying things happened to be found. Pierre-Laurent Aimard gives a reading of the (diabolical) score which is both super-precise and rigorous, and yet so poetic and inspired that one has the impression that he is taking dictation directly from the birds themselves. © SM/Qobuz

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