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Olivier Messiaen - Hebrides Ensemble - Atlanta Audio Society


01 August 2008
Atlanta Audio Society
Phil Muse

The Hebrides Ensemble release, consisting of cellist and artist director William Conway, violinists Alexander Janiczek and Sarah Bevan Baker, violist Catherine Marwood, flutist Rosemary Eliot, clarinetist Maximiliano Martin, and pianist Philip Moore give distinguished and thoroughly compelling accounts of 'Olivier Messiaen - Chamber Works' in honor of the composer's centenary (1908-1992). Included are Messaien's Quatuor pour la fin du Temps and the recorded premiere of his long-lost Fantaisie for Violin and Piano.

There is no composer one quite like Messaien. His music is immediately recognizable for its extreme rhythmic complexity, which was influenced by his study of ancient Greek and from Hindu music, and his unusual harmonic sense and concept of time. He experienced a kind of synaesthesia, manifested as a perception of certain colors when he heard certain modal harmonies, and he used combinations of these colors in his music. That alone would make his writings distinctive, but there was something else: Messaien was a religious mystic, based on his veneration for St. Francis of Assisi and what he termed "the marvellous aspects of the faith."


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