Cinq. Rechants. The composition that concludes Messiaen’s so-called Tristan trilogy is an a cappella The score was published by Éditions Salabert in Olivier Messiaen, Terry Edwards, London Sinfonietta, London Sinfonietta Chorus, Messiaen: Trois Petites Liturgies / Cinq Rechants / O Sacrum Convivium! . The sonics are distant and many details of Messiaen’s scoring and timbral colors . Cinq Rechants for 12 mixed voices. Paris: Rouart, Lerolle & Cie, (R.L. ). Bound in decorative hardback paper boards with the book plate of a.
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Cinq Rechants (Five Rechants)
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Messiaen was one of those composers who, like Xcore, did not let go. As often as possible Messiaen attended rehearsals and performances and oftentimes, when his composition allowed for it e. It must have been daunting and intimidating rechantss conductors to feel on their shoulders the breath of the “keepers of the flame” of true and official interpretation.
It wasn’t necessarily for the bad, though: Still, this composer control can be something of a curate’s egg. As desirable as it is to have a precise realization of the composer’s intentions, a great composition is also more than what the composer intended. And often it takes daring interpreters to betray the composer’s intentions but reveal the potential of the composition that even the composer didn’t suspect.
I could go one for pages on this subject. In reality, I have lukewarm feelings about this version conducted by Terry Edwards. By the end of the second movement, I thought this disc was going to end in the small “to go” pile. The first striking thing in the first movement is that the recording lacks presence Couraud’s is outstanding and many of the timbral colors of Messiaen get lost. The vibraphone in particular doesn’t stand out enough, to the point of being almost inaudible, and the celesta too is often covered by the piano excellently played by Rolf Hind.
Given the importance for Messiaen of those very timbral colors, that consideration alone would put this version in the second league. Interpretively, in that same movement, Edwards is also very mundane. His flowing tempo simply doesn’t convey the time-suspended and ecstatic quality elicited by Couraud.
My first reaction to the voices of the London Sinfonietta Chorus was one of disappointment, but that’s because I had expected the kind of angelic purity you get with the greatest English children’s cathedral choirs wouldn’t it be great to have one of those record the Liturgies?
One fine point is that their French accent is near perfect. If I didn’t know, I would have thought them French. Only in the complex meters of the second movement can you hear a trace of Brit. Here, Edwards is clean but just a tad too laid-back, failing to convey the sense of exultant joy that you get with Couraud. Also, at the end of messiaem movement, because the vowel “ou” as in mmessiaen do” is difficult to sing in the high registers, they scre it into “O”, which gives “por nos” repeated ecstatically instead of “pour nous”: But I’m probably rcehants only one to hear that.
But then, it all coalesced in the finale. In the slower middle section Edwards still doesn’t elicit the same ecstatic and time-suspended quality as Couraud, but it is something you hear only comparatively. The voices have a fine homogeneity. Also, the recording may not let the instruments jump at you, but all the balances are perfectly done no overwhelming piano here, and the Ondes Martenot is exactly as it should, always audible but never garishly prominentif you prick up your ears score helping you can hear everything, as Messiaen wrote it, celesta, vibraphone, maracas – and those moments where Messiaen instructs that the second violins and first violas should be heard over the first violins.
Again Edwards’ Cinq Rechants are marred by distant sonics which don’t let you enjoy Messiaen’s virtuosic games on onomatopea, and by a lack of rhythmic bite in the faster passages.
He tends to prettify the music. Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps; Cinq Rechantsalthough the ensemble may be less homogeneous and his mezzos a tad too operatic in their vibrato but his sopranos are suitably vibrato-less, and more convincing than Edwards’not only are you in the middle of the singers, you also understand why the piece was paired, on the original LP, with Xenakis’ terrifying Nuits. Although there are Messiaen’s customary ecstatic and melodically sinuous passages, Cinq Rechants is one of the most avant-garde pieces he wrote.
Now, I’m ready to accept Edwards’ approach as one of those welcome “alternative views” which I mentioned above, but then you also want to hear what the composer wrote, and here too many details of Messiaen’s scoring rechanys lost in the distant recording. But here the London Sinfonietta Voices have nothing to shame about, and the composition is mesmerizing. Unfortunately it is not entirely convincing interpretively and sonically. In capsule, while it is good in principle to have versions NOT made with the Loriod sisters and under the supervision of the composer, in order to give an alternative view which one hopes might be revelatory, this one doesn’t meet these expectations, unfortunately.
The sonics are distant and many details of Messiaen’s scoring and timbral colors get lost both in Liturgies and in Rechants. Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps; Cinq Rechantsand in Liturgies his conducting is very mundate and lacks the ecstatic and time-suspended quality that again the composer-supervised, Loriod-played recording of Couraud rechant great sonics has in loads Messiaen: Only in the third movement of Liturgies does it all coalesce.
This is not a version that flaunts its riches. O Sacrum Convivium, this short and mesmerizing A Capella chorus, is also fine. Unfortunately, despite some fine points, it is not entirely convincing interpretively and sonically.
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