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Messiaen: Visions de l'Amen, etc / Osborne, Roscoe

Album Summary

>Messiaen, Olivier : Visions de l'amen
>Messiaen, Olivier : Piece pour le tombeau de Paul Dukas, for piano, I/16
>Messiaen, Olivier : Rondeau, for piano, I/24
>Messiaen, Olivier : Fantaisie burlesque, for piano, I/11
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

'This performance gets the balance between the blistering, ecstatic intensity and the static moments of contemplation exactly right, presenting all the rhythmic and harmonic layers with perfect clarity, while Osborne's accounts of the three earlier solo pieces are a real bonus' (The Guardian)

'Roscoe's piano handles most of the thematic material and the piano's lower reaches; Osborne supplies the iridescent details. Clarity and rhythmic precision cannot be faulted' (The Times)

'These pianists have a marvellous accord in Messiaen's amazing, clangorous, rapturous, visionary jamboree. Only a pile-up of adjectives, to which should be added coruscating and addictively dithyrambic, could do justice' (The Sunday Times)

'played with an ear-tweaking sensitivity and gripping sense of theatre. Exceptionally fine sound, and exemplary notes from Nigel Simeone, complete an outstanding release' (Classic FM Magazine)

'There is much to savour in Osborne and Roscoe's performance, captured in typically superlative Hyperion sound' (BBC Music Magazine)

'the precision and muscular virtuosity of Osborne's and Roscoe's playing is exactly what breathes life into the explicitly 'visionary' character of the work... The performance is lucid in conception and illuminating in its realization. Never laboured, it's marked throughout by a sense of ease, as well as by a sure sense of structure, of rhythmic detail, and of the diverse function and significance of each of the many layers in its complex 'mix' (International Record Review)

'The playing of these two wonderful pianists is flawlessly gauged and concentrated, with Osborne's high-speed, lucid playing in the finale, as it shifts into overdrive in its final section, out of this world' (The Herald)

'Osborne and Roscoe play with dazzling splendour' (Manchester Evening News)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
It's axiomatic (to use a favourite word of the French) that the Messiaens' own 1962 disc of Visions is irreplaceable. At the same time it raises the common interpretative problem when composers play their own music: should we follow what they say in musical and verbal notes, or what they do? Such problems don't arise with the three early pieces, which hardly show Messiaen at his best, but the metronome mark for the very slow first movement of Visions, which literally sets the groundwork for the cycle, dictates a duration of 6'15". He and his wife, Yvonne Loriod, dispatch it in 4'30". Steven Osborne and Martin Roscoe (like the old Regis recording by Peter Hill and Benjamin Frith) prefer to believe the score, and the result is an impressively relentless sweep from the faintest pppp to a searing fff.

Messiaen's library was full of astonomical picture- books, and his interpretation of the whole work brings out the violence and local disorder involved in the act of creation, even if the ultimate goal (here, a resplendent A major chord) is always in view. This superbly engineered Hyperion disc is true to his Technicolor vision.

Indeed, it's in the rich and immediate piano sound that this version scores most notably over Hill and Frith's, where the playing is no less accurate or intense. Particularly beautiful is a sudden pianissimo early in the fourth movement, and there are some decidedly upfront birds from Osborne in the next. (Messiaen always insisted that townspeople, who knew only the sparrow, had no idea how deafening birds in a forest could be.) In the final movement Osborne and Roscoe throw authenticity aside; their Modéré, joyeux goes uninhibitedly for the second epithet. And wonderfully exciting it is.

bbc.co.uk - Andrew McGregor
They produce an orchestral range of colour, and there seems to be an eternity of space and time for Messaien's music to vibrate, with its whiffs of incense and flutterings of birdsong. Yet this is one of the faster recordings, and the enormous dynamic range (from the most delicate pppp to a Steinway-threatening triple forte) is accommodated superbly by a demonstration-class recording.



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Works Details

>Messiaen, Olivier : Visions de l'amen
  • Performers: Steven Osborne (Piano); Martin Roscoe (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (09/10/2003-09/12/2003)
  • Running Time: 46 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1943

>Messiaen, Olivier : Pièce pour le tombeau de Paul Dukas, for piano, I/16
  • Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (09/10/2003-09/12/2003)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1935

>Messiaen, Olivier : Rondeau, for piano, I/24
  • Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (09/10/2003-09/12/2003)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1943

>Messiaen, Olivier : Fantaisie burlesque, for piano, I/11
  • Performer: Steven Osborne (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (09/10/2003-09/12/2003)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1932