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‘The Messiaen Monster’, ridiculed by critics at its premiere—in the best tradition of works of genius—is now ‘established as one of the most astonishing classics of the twentieth century’, as Nigel Simeone writes in the booklet of this brilliant new release. The joyful generosity of the orchestral writing and kaleidoscopic nature of the musical invention make Turangalîla one of Messiaen’s most characteristic and appealing works, considered by many to be his masterpiece. As well as the distinctive sound of the ondes martenot, the other striking feature is the virtuoso piano part—it is in some ways a concerto, although the sheer scale of the orchestral contribution belies that specific title. Rarely has it been more explosively performed than here, with an acknowledged living master of Messiaen’s piano music, Steven Osborne, at the keyboard.
02. Chant D'Amour 1
03. Turangalîla 1
04. Chant D'Amour 2
05. Joie Du Sang Des Étoiles
06. Jardin Du Sommeil D'Amour
07. Turangalîla 2
08. Développement De L'Amour
09. Turangalîla 3
28th July 2012
“Osborne copes faultlessly here, negotiating the bustle of the more intense movements with precision and smooth power, while the more reflective passages such as the "Jardin du Sommeil d'amour" are treated with fluid grace and understanding.”
11th August 2012
“The virtue of this studio recording is, paradoxically, that it doesn’t get carried away. The balance of instrumental sound is exemplary, without compromising atmosphere or momentum, and there are virtuoso contributions from Steven Osborne in the easily overlooked piano part and from Cynthia Millar”
The Arts Desk
11th August 2012
“Mena doesn’t attempt to tone down the vulgarity or smooth the out the textures. He’s impetuous, excitable, the Bergen players managing to keep up with his swift tempi. There’s plenty of muscle on display, but the softer episodes are gorgeous...Osborne’s handling of the fiendish piano solo is effortless...Unmissable – this is already among the most uplifting discs you’ll hear all year.”
“any performance must keep sight of the romantic, sometimes disturbing, core of the work. This is clearly understood in this performance from Juanjo Mena and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra...the essentials are there...[Osborne] brings authority to the piano cadenzas and poetry to the filigree passages, while the orchestra players are clearly having fun.”
“A unity of vision between pianist and conductor helps make this Turangalila prevail where others are compromised...the concentrated meditative quality Mena and Osborne lend to the sixth movement rotates the symphony on its axis...No other conductor gets inside Messiaen's overlapping currents of cyclic time like Mena.”
“Mena has a tremendous grip on the score and a real sense of its epic sweep. That sense of sweep, however, is not at the expense of attention to detail; Mena clearly has every aspect of this score at his fingertips...the playing of the Bergen Philharmonic is first class.”
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