- Steven Osborne (Piano)
Notes & Reviews:
"Osborne can deliver fireworks in the Lisztian pyrotechnical sections, but his most notable achievement is a whispered pianissimo in quiet moments such as the opening piece and 'Regard Du Silence'. The finale, which evokes 'bells, glory, and the kiss of love' with hypnotic repeating chords, is especially ravishing in Osborne's languid tempo. The recording is deep, resonant, and velvety, like the playing." - Sullivan, ARG
'few possess the spiritual, emotional and physical stamina required for a successful interpretation of the complete cycle... Steven Osborne's new account certainly demonstrates these qualities in abundance' (BBC Music Magazine)
'Breathtaking... Not just a first-class performance, magnificently recorded, but a very important structural statement on playing one of the last century's masterpieces of piano literature' (The Glasgow Herald)
'Steven Osborne's performance is one of towering authority and technical achievement... [He] rises to the challenges of the work magnificently and succeeds in delivering one of Hyperion's finest piano recordings - quite an achievement in a catalogue of outstanding piano discs' (Gramophone)
'there are two reasons for saluting this new set: because it is an extremely fine performance of the Vingt Regards and because it reveals a pianist of exceptional gifts' (Gramophone)
'a performance of commanding virtuosity, deep poetry and ravishing colour' (Gramophone)
'Osborne's revelatory performance is a blinding tour de force of interpretive and pianistic incandescence. Awesome' (Classic FM Magazine)
'Awe-inspiring' (The Sunday Times)
'Outstanding' (The Independent)
'An ideal combination of spirituality and transcendent virtuosity. This is an outstanding achievement. If you enjoy Messiaen's music, you need to hear this' (BBC Radio 3, 'CD Review')
'Anyone looking for a recording of Messiaen's most famous piano work can do no better than Osborne's' (The Guardian)
'playing of absorbing intensity ... One of the most successful and spectacular piano discs of recent years' (The Daily Telegraph)
'Hyperion's presentation, like the recorded sound, complements Osborne's magnificent grasp of the music... It is without question one of the finest versions of the Vingt Regards to have appeared' (International Record Review)
'Every movement gives a new cause for wonder at the luminosity, the sensitivity of touch or the febrile energy revealed in Osborne's playing. He is accurate but daring, precise but impassioned, strong but gentle, as excellent in detail as in overall shape. Maybe you'd just better go and buy it' (Pianist)
'an original and personal reading... This newcomer then, is a compelling addition to the catalogue, beautifully set down... Recommended' (International Piano)
Gramophone Classical Music Guide
There are a number of recordings of Vingt Regards available, most of them very good indeed. Even the finest, though, provoke very slight reservations: an occasional suspicion of hurry in Pierre-Laurent Aimard's outstanding account, a few misjudgments in Roger Muraro's, and so on. There are no such reservations about the reading by Steven Osborne, who's revealed as a pianist of exceptional gifts.
Messiaen's widow, Yvonne Loriod, invited Osborne to study the work with her after she heard him playing other music by her late husband.
One can hear throughout not only her influence but, even more, the qualities in his playing that led her to make the offer. His command of sonority is prodigious: if you've never been able to take Messiaen's talk about the 'colour' of particular chords seriously, then Osborne's playing may change your mind. He also has a remarkable dynamic range. These two qualities combine to provide both clarity and a tremendous climax in the virtuoso quasifugal textures of No 6 ('By Him was everything made') and, at the other end of the spectrum, to make perfect sense of Messiaen's description of the opening bars of No 17 ('The Gaze of Silence'): 'the music seems to emerge from silence as colours emerge from the night.' Nor is he insensible to the fact that some of the Regards are frankly showy. No 10 ('Gaze of the Spirit of Joy') is dazzling; No 16 ('Gaze of the Prophets, the Shepherds and the Magi') is barbarously colourful. Perhaps most significant of all, he finds in No 15 ('The kiss of the child Jesus') not only the sweet quietness of its opening but the spectacular Lisztian display of its later pages. The recording is ideally responsive to the wide range of sound he draws from the instrument.
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Works DetailsMessiaen, Olivier : Regards (20) sur l'Enfant-Jésus, for piano, I/27
- Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
- Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (10/22/2001-10/24/2001)
- Running Time: 122 min. 26 sec.
- Period Time: Modern
- Written: 1944