Messiaen, Orchestre De La Bastille - Turangalila Symphonie

Wednesday 1st December 1993
Messiaen, Orchestre De La Bastille - Turangalila Symphonie

STYLE: Classical
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 20578-
LABEL: Deutsche Grammophone 4317812
FORMAT: CD Album
ITEMS: 1

Reviewed by John Irvine

"Turanga" is a Sanskrit word meaning movement, rhythm, time. "Lila" similarly means love or play. "Turangalila" then is a love song and a hymn to joy: as Messiaen put it "joy as it may be conceived by someone who has glimpsed it only in the midst of sadness", a love which is "fatal, irresistible, transcending everything". Sound familiar? Although the "Turangalila Symphonie" is an illustration of the Arthurian Tristan and Isolande stories about human passion being so overpowering it can lead to death, Messiaen saw human love as complementary to his Catholic faith: "A great love is a reflection of the one true love, the divine love." However imperfect the love of Tristan and Isolande, we can learn something of God's love from it. If you have problems with this theological approach, try reading the Song Of Solomon! The music itself is powerful, heady, emotional stuff - able to confuse the senses and cloud reason. Rather like the passions of love. I've compared this recording to others. This one, recorded in the presence of the composer shortly before his death, is truely the definitive account. "Turangalila Symphonie" is a masterpiece and Messiaen's most accessible work. Together the piece and the performance provide 78 minutes of beautiful, haunting and overpowering music. Highly recommended.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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