Olivier Messiaen, Marilyn Nonken, Sarah Rothenberg - Visions de l'Amen

Published Thursday 1st July 2010
Olivier Messiaen, Marilyn Nonken, Sarah Rothenberg - Visions de l'Amen
Olivier Messiaen, Marilyn Nonken, Sarah Rothenberg - Visions de l'Amen

STYLE: Classical
RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
LABEL: Bridge 9234

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

In the spring of 1943, in German-occupied Paris, a select audience of invited guests gathered at the Galerie Charpentier for the first performance of Olivier Messiaen's new work for two pianos, 'Visions de l'Amen'. Although originally one of several pieces on the programme, a printed announcement of a change of date explained that "the significance, the character and the duration of this work have led the Concerts de la Pléiade to present it in a concert which will be entirely devoted to it." Performed by Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod, 'Visions' represented the first musical collaboration between the two, and the beginning of a personal and creative partnership that would endure for half a century. This new recording brings together two leading performers of Messiaen's music - pianists Sarah Rothenberg and Marilyn Nonken. Both play well but the composer's unique musical perspective makes any meaningful review so personal and so subjective as to be almost worthless. For a useful discussion of this piece I refer you to John Irvine's review of Katia And Marielle Labeque's recording on Erato Disques from June 1994 that can be found elsewhere on the Cross Rhythms website. Two caveats on this Bridge recording: 48 minutes is not generous and the list price is high.

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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