Album Review

Messiaen, Olivier – “Turangalila-Symphony ” – [Deutsche Grammophon]

cujo   9/16/2007   A Library, CD

The most brilliant display of the symphony orchestra ever put to record? For over an hour, my ears did that cartoon eye-popping tongue-unfurling gimmick. Bright highs, strong lows, new sounds, exotic orchestration, explosions of virtuosity, tsunamis of Tristan-esque drama… all at once a love song, hymn to joy, time, movement, rhythm, life, and death. In his own words: ???superhuman, overflowing, dazzling, and abandoned???

All the complicated hallmarks of Messiaen???s pre-total serialist style are here with none of the turnoffs. Through the fancy octatonics, rhythmical and tonal symmetries, and atypically catholic spiritualism emerge a shockingly tuneful and engaging poem.

This is the definitive recording ??? overseen by Messiaen, the prominent piano part played by Messiaen???s wife Yvonne, and the prominent Ondes Martenot part played by Yvonne???s sister Jeanne (professor of the Ondes Martenot at the Paris Conservatory), conducted by honorary Parisian MW Chung.

Say Yess to the Mess!

–Cujo, KFJC, September 2007

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