Five essential works by Messiaen
We choose the best works by the 20th-century composer, Messiaen
Quatuor pour la fin du temps
Written for the available musicians in a prisoner of war camp – a violinist, clarinettist, cellist and pianist (Messiaen himself) – the result is a most unusual and magical sounding work.
Gruenberg, de Peyer, Pleeth & Béroff
EMI 586 5252
Messiaen’s most exuberant work for orchestra includes the unforgettably delirious sound of the ondes martenot.
Peter Donohoe (piano), Tristan Murail (ondes martenot); CBSO/Rattle
EMI 586 5252
La nativité du Seigneur
This is a work to convert anyone who fears that organ music is dull and ‘fusty’. By turns dramatic and utterly other-worldly, Messiaen’s music revolutionised the organ’s perceived character.
Regis RRC 1086
Vingt regards sur l’enfant-Jésus
In this epic piano cycle, lasting about two hours, Messiaen presents several contemplations of the ‘child-God’, ranging from reflective to ebullient.
Regis RRC 2055
Des Canyons aux étoiles…
Written to celebrate the bicentenary of the United States Declaration of Independence, Messiaen, inspired by the Bryce Canyon in Utah, creates stunning colours from just 44 players.
Radio France PO/Myung-Whun Chung
DG 471 6172