Messiaen: St François d’Assise (Tableaux 3, 6, 7 & 8)

Our rating 
2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0

COMPOSERS: Messiaen
LABELS: Orfeo
WORKS: St François d’Assise (Tableaux 3, 6, 7 & 8)
PERFORMER: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Rachel Yakar, Kenneth Riegel, Robert Tear, Gilles Cachemaille, Sebastian Vittucci; ORF Choir, Arnold Schoenberg Choir, Vienna RSO/Lothar Zagrosek
CATALOGUE NO: C 485 982 I ADD
For anyone wishing to discover Messiaen’s extraordinary opera St François d’Assise, this live recording of four scenes might seem like an enticing prospect. Taken from an early concert performance at Salzburg, long before Peter Sellars’s famous production of the complete work, it offers about half of the opera. Any account will reveal hitherto unsuspected facets of this richly varied work, but they come here at the expense of fundamental elements. The infliction of the stigmata should be terrifyingly powerful. Instead it is mildly alarming, chugging along without the merest hint of a bass drum. Furthermore, nothing can hide the fact that Fischer-Dieskau, for all his gravitas, never donned a habit to play the saint in a staged production. The other soloists are fine, but Kent Nagano’s magnificent complete recording, taken from the 1998 revival of the Sellars production, is worth the extra cost. Christopher Dingle

Advertisement