Steven Osborne / Cynthia Millar / Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra / Juanjo Mena MESSIAEN Turangalîla-Symphonie
‘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.
'Messiaen's joyous amalgamation of unfettered emotion and experiments in musical time is incredibly rich in detail, yet remarkably direct in experession … 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 pacing of moments such as the main climax (of many) in the 'Développement de l'amour' is masterfully handled, as is the subsequent dispersal of energy … Steven Osborne brings authority to the piano cadenzas andpoetry to the filigree passages, while the orchestra players are clearly having fun' (BBC Music Magazine)