La Fauvette Passerinette

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Anderson,Benjamin,Dutilleux,Messiaen,Murail and Takemitsu,Ravel,Sculthorpe,Stockhausen,Young
LABELS: Delphian
ALBUM TITLE: La Fauvette Passerinette
WORKS: Works by Messiaen, Ravel, Stockhausen, Anderson, Benjamin, Dutilleux, Sculthorpe, Young, Murail and Takemitsu


A new Messiaen work may be the focus here, but this would be an outstanding recital even without that enticement. La Fauvette passerinette (The Subalpine Warbler) was fully sketched in 1961, but only discovered and subsequently completed by Peter Hill in 2010. It is a significant and dramatic work, having clear resonances with the Catalogue d’oiseaux, but with Messiaen clearly going in a different direction in his treatment of the birdsong material.

Hill places the new work within an exceptionally well-crafted recital in which Messiaen’s music is a recurrent thread in a span of resonances, influences and affinities ranging from Ravel’s ‘Oiseaux tristes’ to the brief yet perfectly formed flourish of Julian Anderson’s Etude. The innate poetry and sense of colour that characterise Hill’s complete Messiaen piano cycle are, if anything, even stronger in these new accounts of ‘La Colombe’ and ‘Le Traquet stapazin’.


As is clear from Hill’s extensive and eloquent booklet notes, the pieces are arranged in four groups, ‘Prelude’, ‘Etude’, ‘Birds & Landscapes’ and ‘Memorial’. The ‘Etude’ sequence includes Stockhausen’s explorations of sonority in Klavierstücke VII and VIII and George Benjamin’s highly imaginative Fantasy on Iambic Rhythm, as well as the Anderson, and Messiaen’s pugnacious ‘Ile de feu 1’. Whether in Dutilleux or Peter Sculthorpe, Murail or Takemitsu, Hill’s provides a masterclass in capturing a composer’s idiom with warmth and humanity. Christopher Dingle