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Classical - Released June 3, 2014 | Ondine

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica - Exceptional Sound Recording
With the growing number of performances and recordings, Olivier Messiaen's Turangalîla-symphonie has become his best-known orchestral work and something of a hit, if such an expansive and influential work can be narrowly categorized as such. Cast in ten movements for piano, ondes Martenot (an instrument similar to the theremin), and large orchestra, with many recurring themes and motives, Turangalîla-symphonie is a cyclic meditation inspired by Indian mysticism, as suggested by the composite title, which Messiaen translated as, "All at the same time song of love, hymn to joy, time, movement, rhythm, life, and death." This performance by Hannu Lintu and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, featuring Angela Hewitt on piano and Valérie Hartmann-Claverie on ondes Martenot, is an excellent presentation, full of vibrant sonorities and vigorous playing, all captured in Ondine's spacious multichannel recording. The hybrid SACD format offers the best way to appreciate Turangalîla, because the massive orchestra should be heard with all its parts distinctly separated, rather than as a thick, homogenous mass, and this recording brings great clarity to all the moving parts. But even more important than the internal details are the shockingly vivid tone colors, which are among the most exciting in 20th century orchestral music. In this area, Lintu draws out the most sharply defined sounds, and pays special attention to Messiaen's lush string and wind textures and sharply accented percussion. Highly recommended to newcomers and Messiaen aficionados alike. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 27, 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama
Paavo Järvi inaugurates his new contract as conductor of the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich with a programme devoted to Messiaen. Alpha Classics will accompany this extremely promising combination: ‘I’ve always admired French music very much. (...) I think Messiaen is the most original voice, someone absolutely unique. You need only listen for three seconds to a work by Messiaen to be sure that it is by him. His style is so clear, so unmistakable. In his two early works Les Offrandes oubliées and Le Tombeau resplendissant, religion and mysticism play an important role. If you listen carefully, you will notice how a harmony is continually transformed, so that you can never predict what sound will come next. But Messiaen’s harmonic language is not experimental: it produces an inevitable meaning, and you get the feeling that the chord sequence can be that way and no other. Music is a language of its own; music begins where words leave off.’ (Excerpt from an interview with Paavo Järvi) © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released March 30, 2018 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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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Classical - Released September 14, 2018 | La Dolce Volta

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros - Choc de Classica
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Quartets - Released November 30, 2018 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica - Exceptional Sound Recording
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Classical - Released September 14, 2018 | La Dolce Volta

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros - Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released September 14, 2018 | La Dolce Volta

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros - Choc de Classica
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Solo Piano - Released November 24, 2017 | Piano Classics

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
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Solo Piano - Released January 26, 2018 | NoMadMusic

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - 5 étoiles de Classica
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Classical - Released January 1, 1991 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released September 21, 2018 | Kings College Cambridge

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
Nine extraordinary meditations by one of the twentieth century’s musical titans, performed on the magnificent King’s College Chapel organ by former organ scholar Richard Gowers. Written in 1935, La Nativité du Seigneur is one of Messiaen’s most popular organ works, and a piece that helped to establish the then 27 year-old as an important figure in contemporary music. Premiered in February 1936 at the Église de la Sainte-Trinité in Paris, where Messiaen was organist for more than sixty years, the debut performance was shared between three of his close friends; with Daniel-Lesur, Jean Langlais and Jean-Jacques Grunenwald each tackling three movements. A testament to Messiaen’s devout Catholicism, each movement follows a portion of the Christmas story, from the Virgin Birth to Epiphany, with the number of movements symbolic of the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy. Significantly, the work contains early examples of Messiaen’s signature compositional elements, such as birdsong, rhythmic inspiration from Hindustani and Carnatic musical traditions, and the ‘modes of limited transportation’, which he would later publish in "La technique de mon langage musical". Born in 1994, Richard Gowers is a British organist, pianist and conductor. After becoming a prize-winning Fellow of the Royal College of Organists at the age of 17, he won first prize at the 2013 Northern Ireland International Organ Competition and studied at the Mendelssohn Conservatoire in Leipzig. From 2014 to 2017 he held the distinguished position of organ scholar at King’s College, Cambridge and in September 2017 he became Chapel Choir Organist at the Old Royal Naval College Trinity Laban. His career as a concert organist has seen him perform in prestigious venues around the world, including Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral. © King's College
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Classical - Released August 23, 2004 | Warner Classics International

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released February 15, 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
Composed in 1944 and first performed at the Salle Gaveau in Paris on 26 March 1945 by Yvonne Loriod, this is the second great pianistic cycle by Olivier Messiaen: a major work indeed, not only in the composer’s oeuvre but in the entire repertoire for solo piano. As we know, its origin is in the faith and spirituality of Olivier Messiaen, who described it as: ‘The Contemplation of the Child-God in the cradle, and the gazes fixed upon Him: from the inexpressible Gaze of God the Father to the multiple Gaze of the Church of love, also taking in the unheard Gaze of the Spirit of joy, the tender Gaze of the Virgin, of the Angels, of the Magi, and of those creatures that are immaterial or symbolic (Time, Extreme Height, Silence, the Star, the Cross).’ He continues: ‘It is a complex of sounds destined for perpetual variations, pre-existing in the abstract as a series, but very concrete and easy to recognize by their colours: a steely grey-blue traversed by bright red and orange, a mauve-tinted violet spotted with leather-brown and encircled in deep purple.’ The vision of this work transmitted by Martin Helmchen – a great piano virtuoso who is himself marked by a strong sense of spirituality – is another substantial contribution to the Messiaenic monument. © Alpha Classics
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Classical - Released May 17, 2004 | RCA Red Seal

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Chamber Music - Released March 1, 2019 | Orfeo

Olivier Messiaen's Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time) was composed and given its premiere in a German prisoner-of-war camp in 1941; Messiaen later said that the audience there, which included German guards as well as the composer's fellow French prisoners, was the most attentive he had ever enjoyed. The work's title refers not only to the Apocalypse (or to the new one that seemed to be building in Europe), but to the drastic rhythmic experiments that came to fruition in the quartet, for violin, clarinet, cello, and piano. Messiaen supplied his own little program for the piece, referring to birds, other natural phenomena, and religious ideas. This eight-movement piece has an odd mixture of subtlety and hair-trigger tension, and it tends to succeed best in committed live performances, which it receives here from a quartet of German musicians, recorded live at the 2008 Salzburg Festival. Even beyond the performances of the musicians themselves, the sound engineering of Reinhard Prosser ought to be commended to aspiring chamber music sound crews; he achieves a maximum of clarity with a minimum of extraneous noise that almost makes you forget you're listening to a live recording. Then, the immediacy of the almost supernaturally extended rhythms of the final "Louange à l'immortalité de Jésus" (Praise for the Immortality of Jesus) movement brings you back to the live presence in a striking way. The work is technically challenging, but the players (two of whom are apparently related) deliver a perfectly coordinated reading that does not lack for a spiritual dimension. A recording of this work that can stand with the classics, and at a midline price to boot. © TiVo
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Classical - Released March 4, 2016 | Naxos

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Classical - Released November 3, 2017 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Classical - Released February 12, 2021 | Gramola Records

Booklet
Olivier Messiaen's two-hour, 20-movement piano solo cycle on the Observations of the Child Jesus was written in 1944 after the Quatuor pour la fin tu temps and the Visions de l'Amen for two pianos and has established itself as one of the most significant piano works of the 20th century. Great pianists such as Anton Batagov and Martin Helmchen have documented outstanding performances of this extremely versatile cycle of musical offerings on recordings. Pi-hsien Chen recorded Messiaen's magnum opus for piano live for the West German Radio (WDR) in Cologne in 2005, which impressively testifies to her exceptional status in the contemporary repertoire. Her Schönberg, Boulez, Barraqué, Stockhausen and Cage recordings are of almost intimidating sovereignty, flawless pianistic brilliance and sublime structural clarity, and thus at least as legendary as her playing of Bach, Scarlatti, Mozart, Beethoven or Schubert. Born in Taiwan, the pianist has lived in Cologne since the age of nine and is praised by colleagues and the press for the sensual objectivity of her performances. After the three-album-release with Schubert's "Grandes Sonates", Aldila Records now presents her live cycle Vingt regards sur l'Enfant-Jesus, which is performed here with compelling authenticity and mastery. A living icon of modernity performs an immortal icon of modernity. © Gramola Records
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Classical - Released July 17, 2020 | DUX

Hi-Res Booklet
Arkadiusz Bialic was born in 1976 in Kraków. Although he initially learned to play the piano and violin, at the age of 13, fascinated by the sound of the organ, he began learning to play this instrument. He studied music in Kraków under the guidance of Prof. Józef Serafin. Arkadiusz Bialic is the first Polish winner of the prestigious Grand Prix de Chartres. The cycle La Nativité du Seigneur was composed by Olivier Messiaen in 1935 and is still considered one of his key works. The Birth of the Saviour is a piece in which, on the one hand, we can observe a number of solutions that testify to the fully developed compositional craft of the French artist, on the other, it is one of the most fervent manifestations of Messiaen’s worship of Christ and the Christian religion. © DUX Records
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Classical - Released January 1, 1999 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)