Friday, November 6, 2009

Messiaen - Turangalila Symphony - Myung-Whun Chung

Messiaen - Turangalila Symphony - Myung-Whun Chung
Symphonic | Eac, flac, cue | log, cover | 1 CD, 346 MB
May 12, 1992 | Deutsche Grammophon | RapidShare

This recording of the Turangalila Symphonie, which bears Messiaen's imprimatur, surely rests with the finest achievements of the century. The work is one of astonishing complexity, more akin to a fantastic piano concerto or showcase for the ondes martenot than a symphony. Cast into ten movements, the work seeks to portray, in Messiaen's own words, "[an] all at once love song, hymn to joy, time, movement, rhythm, life, and death." Widely touted as his seminal work, the symphony comes to life in this vivid and electrifying reading by Myung-Whun Chung. The recording is less perfect than others, but retains the fire and excitement of the piece faithfully. The ondes martenot, in particular, sounds mellow and soft, rather than strong and commanding. Despite some minor flaws, the reading is amazing, and, being recorded in Messiaen's presence, with his wife and sister-in-law on the piano and ondes martenot, it gives us a definitive account of what Messiaen himself would have wanted us to hear. The work bursts with life and energy, as befits a piece whose title can be loosely translated from the Sanskrit as meaning "speed of life." This particular disc has received wide accolades from several reputable sources, including "The Rough Guide to Classical Music" and "The Penguin Guide." As an advocate of 20th century music, I consider this piece and this reading essential.--Amazon

To my knowledge, Messiaen never met a recording he wouldn't endorse, but this really is a superb recording of what is Messiaen's best known and perhaps best loved work. Chung approaches the score with the attention to fine detail that a complex 20th century score deserves while attaining the sweep and grandeur necessary to make this truly romantic work sing like only it can. Francis Bacon said that in every beauty there is some proportion of strangeness. This beauty fell to earth from the stars, an alien--weird, startling, but wholly organic and fetching in its own chillingly unique way. Who can listen to Jardin du sommeil d'amour and fail to be touched? Chung brings a delicacy and spirituality to the whole that will leave you mesmerized and the contributions of Yvonne and Jeanne Loriod could not be more expert or authentic--no soloists know this score as they do, surely. This is one of the most successful of Chung's DG Messiaen recordings, and that's saying something.

Turangalîla-symphonie, for piano, ondes martenot & orchestra, I/29
Composed by Olivier Messiaen
Performed by Bastille Opera Orchestra
with Yvonne Loriod, Jeanne Loriod
Conducted by Myung-Whun Chung

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