LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL Archives

CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL@COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL  March 2000

CLASSICAL March 2000

Subject:

From the Canyons to the Stars

From:

Jos Janssen <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 28 Feb 2000 22:09:37 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (98 lines)

On Saturday the 26th of February I attended in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw
a performance of this work given by the Dutch Radio Chamber Orchestra under
the baton f Peter Eotvos.  The piano solo part was played by the fast
rising star in contemporary usic Pierre Laurent Aimard, whose excellent
new release of the "Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant Jesus" also deserves much
attention.

This piece was premiered in 1974 and written on commission by Messiaen to
commemorate the 200th birthday of the US State.  It is a 75 minutes vast
orchestral work for quite unusual forces.  Next to a relatively small
number of strings there is a threefold/fourfold woodwind ensemble, 4 horns
(of which one plays a major solo role), trumpets, trombones and a huge
amount of percussion (piano, xylophone, xylorimba, glockenspiel, Cuban
drums, crotan, various sets of gongs/tam-tams, aerophone, metal plate,
tubular bells and so on, and so on).The result is an absolute exubarance
in orchestral colour parallel to nothing else I know in modern music.

The piece is made up of 12 parts, divided into several sections.  As
the starting point for inspiration, Messiaen choose the natural beauty of
some well known places in the States like Bryce Canyon and Cedar Creeks.
He was particularly impressed by the sheer variety of colours he found
there with innumerable nuances of red (on the ground) and blue (in the
skies).  In Messiaen's conception these colours coincide with musical
harmony (E major for red A major for blue).  Indeed the harmonics of the
work seem to focus on every so much nuances of and additions to these
chords as there were colours to be seen.  Messiaen's harmonic technique
however is by conception (modes of limited transposition) very statical.
Although not "tonal" in a conventional sense, it makes extensive use of
natural resonance.  My girlfriend's observation (she is quite unfamiliar
to Messiaen although I pester her a lot) was typical: it's not tonal,
yet natural sounding, is nail-on-the-head.  Apart from this harmonic
technique, Messiaen makes extensive use of birdsong, there is some
"language musical", one or two Hindu tala-rythms, limited rythmic
permutations and non-retrogadable rythms.  In short, from a point of
view of Messiaen Styles, there is not much new in the piece.  The real
novelties are in the brilliant orchestration which seems like one big
love declaration to nature.

This post would get way too long when trying to point out all the amazing
things in this score.  Just a few:

1.  The first movement depicts the desert.  It starts with a significant
call on the horn, a motto which returns on key points.  This is really a
study in resonances and flagolets interspersed with flashy bird song.  The
movement (as are almost all the others) is build up of repeated episodes
which in my ears greatly facilitate the listener.  These episodes stand
quite static next to each other, which gives a compelling sense of
immovability (Messiaen would perhaps have said "eternity".

4.  "The gift of awe".  Terrifying chords, horrific effects on the violins
(playing in a very akward position on the strings).  These depictions of
terror are transferred into a sense of awe.  Think of Mozes hiding his face
when he saw God in the burning wood.

6.  A terrific 7 minutes solo on the horn.

8.  A look at the stars and on eternity.  A 10 minutes long extatic piece
elaborating on A major.  Eotvos was unashamedly humming along.....  You
don't see that too often: people humming on contemporary music.

12.  This last part sublimates the love of nature into Messiaen's love of
God.  The end is a powerfull yet very tender E major.

The overall effect is quite theatrical in a good sense of the world.  There
is something undeniable dramatic about this piece, which makes it perhaps
a perfect start for those wanting to become aquainted with Messiaen.  I
often wonder how Berlioz would have composed had he lived in our time......

Eotvos' ensemble gave a high spirited performance.  The percussionists were
obviously having a ball.  Aimard is -as I've known him always- flawless:
great virtuosity and high spirits.The horn solos by Marie Luise Neunecker
were simply ravishing.  This concert will be broadcasted on Wednesday March
1st on Dutch Radio 4.  For the innumerable who are remote to the little pot
and wooden-shoe country I live in, I would recommend strongly one of the
following recordings:

Olivier Messiaen
Des Canyons aux Etoiles  Asko Ensemble, Schonberg Ensemble
dirigent Reinbert de Leeuw
piano Marja Bon
hoorn Hans Dullaert
glockenspiel Wim Vos
xylorimba Ger de Zeeuw
Auvidis Montaigne MO 782035

or

London Sinfonietta
Paul Crossley
directed by Esa-Pekka Salonen
Sony 44762

For more reading check out
http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/97mar/audubon/audubon.htm
or write me a private mail for an extensive list of links.

greetings, Jos
jjan @ wishmail.net

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
July 1997

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager