Turangalîla – Symphonie
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Juanjo Mena
Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) | Duration 77'00
Hyperion Records CDA67816
This performance led by the BBC Philharmonic's newly appointed chief conductor, Juanjo Mena, utterly redefines the terms under which past/current/future Turangalîlas need to be judged.
Two formidable Messiaen interpreters – pianist Steven Osborne and ondes Martenot player Cynthia Millar – give this exciting new recording of the Turangalîla Symphony (1948) a stamp of authority and flair. Osborne has proved versatile in any repertoire, especially Beethoven and Ravel, but his 2002 disc of Messiaen's Vingt regards sur l'enfant Jésus remains a winner.
[Turangalîla is] a mountainous task for any pianist, but Steven 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.
— The Independent
Juanjo Mena doesn’t attempt to tone down the [piece's] 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.... Cynthia Millar must have played this piece countless times but never sounds as if she’s going through the motions. I’ve never heard the onde’s low notes in the first movement before, ringing out like blasts from an early Moog synthesiser. Steven Osborne’s handling of the fiendish piano solo is effortless. He’s never better than when he’s in cocktail lounge mode; sample the fourth movement’s bluesy closing duet with the ondes Martenot. Unmissable – this is already among the most uplifting discs you’ll hear all year.
— The Arts Desk
I have possessed almost all recordings of Messiaen's unique, 10-movement orchestral monster, the Turangalila Symphonie. All are brilliant, but not one of them approaches the sheer exhilaration, ebullience and exuberance of Hyperion's new recording of the piece, featuring the pianistic genius of Steven Osborne endlessly energising the music; the unique interpretative skill of ondes martenot player Cynthia Millar (simply the best in the world), who makes the wavy, electronic gizmo speak with clarity and expression; and the coherently structured, articulate playing of the Bergen Philharmonic under principal guest conductor Juanjo Mena. This is a glorious performance of a work that's rare in the concert hall, but a masterpiece packed with atmosphere, reverence, irreverence and a sense of fun in movements 5 and 10 that I have never heard before. Messiaen? Fun? Listen and believe. A clear record of the year, as early as July.
— The Herald
If this were a live performance I’d expect an instant and vociferous storm of applause, for in the face of such glories nothing else would do.
— Musicweb International
Chant d'amour 1
Chant d'amour 2
Joie du sang des étoiles
Jardin du sommeil d'amour
Développement de l'amour