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Reviews: Messiaen: La Nativité du Seigneur - Wolfgang Sieber

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Reviews: 1

Review by Beagle May 18, 2012 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Hmm, a disc this good needs a review of some sort (and deserves a more thorough review than this 'off the cuff' quickie).

IF you are a fan of Messiaen already THEN consider yourself blessed, say no more, wink-wink, nudge-nudge (I refer to the Messiaen of the 'Quartet for the End of Time', not the Messiaen of 'Turangalila').

IF you hate organ music, THEN fergitaboutit, go throw rocks at windows or something.

IF you love to drift off into intoxicating and surreal hyperdimensions... THEN hey, we've got a disc for you! I do not share Olivier Messiaen's visionary Roman Catholic faith -- but neither do most of the planet's 1.15 billion Roman Catholics. Don't tell my Lutheran ancestors, but I find his ecstatic music very very attractive!

Olivier Messiaen is twentieth-century music's odd-man-out. His tunes are modal, i.e. simple but slightly exotic to our pentatonic-scaled ears. Beneath that plain but haunting harmony, he employs unorthodox rhythm to construct surprises and (more surprising) long intervals with a hypnotic lack of surprises. Because of its unusualness, Messiaen's music requires repeated listening before the brain begins to eagerly anticipate each tidal movement of this musical ocean. But until that time, the music is not offensive, not jarring, just quixotic; you may feel 'a bit at sea' but not 'seasick'.

100% wonderful: other than Olivier, I can't imagine a more messiaenic performer than Herr Sieber -- to my ears, he IS Messiaen. And the 2004 Grosse Kuhn-Orgel in Alfried Krupp Hall is a modern miracle (one can almost forgive some of the munitions-manufacturing).

100% wonderful: huge acoustic space, exquisite almost-silences, pedal-notes which will walk the Hummel figurines off the mantlepiece.... If you're going shopping for new equipment, take this disc as your test record.

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