Horizon 2: A Tribute To Olivier Messiaen

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COMPOSERS: Dalbavie,Dukas,Messiaen,Zuidam
LABELS: RCO Live
WORKS: Dalbavie: La source d’un regard; Dukas: La plainte, au loin, du faune… (orch. Keulen); Messiaen: Les offrandes oubliées; Chronochromie; Zuidam: Adam-Interludes
PERFORMER: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/George Benjamin, Ingo Metzmacher
CATALOGUE NO: RCO Live 09003

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It is difficult to imagine that, heard blind, many people would identify Les offrandes oubliées (1930) and Chronochromie (1959-60) as being by the same composer.

The transformation of Messiaen’s language from the early Eucharistic meditation, with its echoes of Stravinsky and Dukas, to the bold and colourful avant-garde masterpiece of Chronochromie reflects not only his extraordinary development, but also broader changes in the musical landscape.

These masterly performances under the baton of George Benjamin here provide the focus of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s inventive tribute to the composer, captured live at concerts during his centenary year.

The other works are an impressive set of commissions. The first unites two great influences on Messiaen in the shape of Dukas’s memorial to Debussy La plainte, au loin, du faune…. Originally for piano, Geert van Keulen’s masterly orchestration echoes both composers.

With its four-note bell-like motif announcing a wonderfully hypnotic, light suffused piece, Marc-André Dalbavie’s La source d’un regard is typically alluring, reinforcing his growing status as a major figure.

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A rewarding programme in superb surround-sound. Christopher Dingle