Olivier Messiaen - Hebrides Ensemble - SA-CD.net

A superlative recording from both sonic and artistic standpoints.

The multi-faceted Quatour pour la fin du Temps is given a reading that is very intense in mood. Note that this does not mean wrought but deeply in the spirit of the music: rarely has the Louange à l'Éternité de Jésus (cello and piano) nor the companion piece Louange à l'Immortalité de Jésus (violin and piano) that close the work sounded so ethereal or at one with tranquillity. The more violent episodes are given very brutal renditions - the marvel of Messiaen's creativity is that he managed to leave these thoughts at all during his captivity. While it seems invidious, special mention must go Maximiliano Martín for his very special playing of the Abîme des oiseaux for the clarinet appears to arrive out of complete silence without a discernible entry! The playing of the remainder of disc is similarly well played even if the quality of the music is not quite of the same exalted level as the quartet.

The recording is a great achievement, perfectly judged to give all the tonal variety that Philip Moore extracts from the piano as well as the above mentioned clarinet work of Martín.

Absolutely captivating and a wonderful contribution to the centenary of Messiaen's birth - highly recommended.

10 June 2008