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Messiaen: Turangalila Symphony; L'Ascension


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Audio CD, October 17, 2000
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Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Turangalila-symphonie, I/29: I. IntroductionThomas Bloch 6:40$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Turangalila-symphonie, I/29: II. Chant d' amour 1Antoni Wit 8:30Album Only
listen  3. Turangalila-symphonie, I/29: III Turangalila 1Thomas Bloch 5:21$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Turangalila-symphonie, I/29: IV. Chant d' amour 2Antoni Wit11:32Album Only
listen  5. Turangalila-symphonie, I/29: V. Joie du sang des etoilesThomas Bloch 6:18$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Turangalila-symphonie, I/29: VI. Jardin du sommeilAntoni Wit12:29Album Only
listen  7. Turangalila-symphonie, I/29: VII. Turangalila 2Thomas Bloch 4:00$0.89  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Turangalila-Symphonie, I/29: VIII. Developpement De L'AmourAntoni Wit12:02Album Only
listen  2. Turangalila-symphonie, I/29: IX. Turangalila 3Thomas Bloch 5:22$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Turangalila-symphonie, I/29: X. FinalAntoni Wit 8:31Album Only
listen  4. L'Ascension : I. Majeste du Christ demandant sa gloire a son PereAntoni Wit 5:37$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  5. L'Ascension : II. Alleluias sereins d'une ame qui desire le cielAntoni Wit 6:08$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  6. L'Ascension : III. Alleluia sur la trompette, Alleluia sur la cymbaleAntoni Wit 5:47$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  7. L'Ascension : IV. Priere du Christ montant vers son PereAntoni Wit 8:58Album Only

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Frequently Bought Together

Messiaen: Turangalila Symphony; L'Ascension + Chamber Music + Dysnomia
Price for all three: $45.60

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Product Details

  • Performer: Francois Weigel, Thomas Bloch
  • Orchestra: Polish Radio Orchestra & Chorus Katowice
  • Conductor: Antoni Wit
  • Composer: Olivier Messiaen
  • Audio CD (October 17, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Naxos
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • ASIN: B00004WJVS
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,520 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

If you don't already own a copy of Messiaen's epic, weird, and beautiful Turangalîla Symphony, here's your chance. And if you already own a copy, pick up this CD, anyway--you'll love it. Conductor Antoni Wit and the Polish National Radio Symphony deliver an awe-inspiring reading of the complex work, showcasing all the drama, tonal colors, and spiky rhythms the Turangalîla demands. Messiaen's 10-movement work is a grab bag of musical themes from throughout the composer's career; you'll find elements of birdsong, Eastern mysticism, a gorgeous "love theme," and serialism in this epic composition. With this much going on, it's no wonder that few ensembles (however famous) get it right. But Wit and company do get it right, letting the masterpiece's multiple themes (statue, love, flower, chord) all unfold dramatically, with great playing all around. Naxos's sonics are remarkable as well, capturing the magnitude of the 100-piece orchestra and providing a rich balance during the tricky passages for ondes martenot (a sort of glorified theremin). As a bonus on this budget priced, two-CD set, we get L'ascension, an earlier work from Messiaen but one that's just as interesting. Here, intense rhythms are replaced by lush symphonic passages, but the playing is just as splendid. Highly recommended. --Jason Verlinde

Customer Reviews

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See all 13 customer reviews
This makes for Messiaen as it should be...free, full of life, without losing vision and insight.
"frussianophile"
The music has advanced harmonies, but they are all based in the tonal world, and Messiaen uses dissonance freely to accent the innate tonal world he writes in.
Brett A. Kniess
I wholeheartedly encourage you to buy this release immediately and experience the piece and the stellar performance for yourself.
Chris Massa

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Brett A. Kniess on January 27, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Olivier Messiaen, the great French modern composer, is here represented by two of his most famous compositions: the early four meditations on L'Ascension and, a composition written after he was released from a German prison camp, the Turangalila-Symphonie, a work of monumental proportions.

L'Ascension is a 25-minute work also well known as an organ solo. Each of the four meditations has specific scripture attached to it, representing Christ's ascension. The first, written for brass ensemble, is a slow undulating progression of chords, which continually resolve themselves gloriously. The second opens with woodwinds alone, a chanting oboe (heavy on tritones), with added outbursts of nature on flute and clarinet. The huge lush string tremolos which end the piece, makes it truly French sounding. The third meditation is a scherzo with brash trumpets and full orchestra. Swift string glissandi, a heroic horn melody and calls are features of this outgoing section, all of which ends in a blaze of glory. The final meditation is marked "extremely slow and solemn" and is written for string ensemble only. Prayerful in nature, like the first, it is made up of a succession of undulating, and more importantly, rising progressions of chords. It is obvious Messiaen studied with the great Romantic/Impressionist teacher Paul Dukas, because the various orchestrations are quite vivid and colorful, amply depicting the prayers of the ascension. An interesting work from his youth.

The massive 80-minute Turangalila-Symphonie is a ten-movement work which features solo piano and a solo ondes martenos, an electronic contraption that makes an unearthly, ghost kind of sound. The title is from Sanskrit which means many things, including time, joy, love, life, and death.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Chris Massa on March 22, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I once read a review where Naxos was nicknamed "the little label that could." Sure, it's tacky, but it works. Naxos has this uncanny knack of releasing incredibly good recordings of all sorts of literature, but what's unique is that these aren't just good recordings. In my humble opinion, many Naxos releases are actually better overall productions than their better-known and pricier counterparts.
Take the Naxos release of Olivier Messiaen's "Turangalila Symphony." There's a good chance you've never heard of "Turangalila," and the reason is simple. It's an enormous, staggering work. As if the sheer difficulty of the music isn't enough, it lasts a full ten movements. And let's not also forget the kind of themes that pervade it. In Messiaen's own words, it is a "song of love, hymn to joy, time, movement, rhythm, life and death."
There are not that many recordings of "Turangalila" for the above reasons. It's an insanely difficult work. So perhaps it is somewhat surprising that the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Antoni Wit, decides to attempt to conquer it. The result is far and away the best recording ever made of the darn piece. Sure, you've never heard of the orchestra or the conductor. And sure, it costs nothing compared to recordings with better known performers. I still insist that it's the best that's out there. I've probably already said too much. I wholeheartedly encourage you to buy this release immediately and experience the piece and the stellar performance for yourself. I guarantee you that you won't regret it.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By "frussianophile" on July 24, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Antoni Wit have made a WHOLELOTTA discs for Naxos. These discs of Messiaen's music may well be the jewel in their crown...at least so far.
You always have to fasten your musical seat belts when dealing with the mightly enigmatic music of Messiaen. No exception here. Yet Wit and his band seem to have their stuff together on this recording. This makes for Messiaen as it should be...free, full of life, without losing vision and insight.
The price alone should be enough to persuade those unsure souls who've yet to enter Messiaen's musical world to give it a whirl. If not, let me encourage you--take the leap! This recording will not disappoint.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Shota Hanai on May 26, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I first heard the name Olivier Messiaen when I listened to "Illuminations of the Beyond". I burrowed the CD from a local public library. It was a beautiful atmospheric piece. Very modern and complex, yet so innocent and full of mysticism (except for couple tense moments). I really felt as if I was launched from Earth into the Heavens or a strange new extraterrestiral world...

After telling to one of my music friends about this new mysterious composer and his piece, he recommended me to listen to the well-known Turangalila Symphony. As a person who loves contemporary Classical music and has to will to be exposed to many more, I quickly did. I bought this album at a budget price, the first Naxos album I obtained.

The piece turned out to be a work I would embrace forever. Once again I felt as if I was launched into some strange world. This massive 80-minute so-called Symphony (not a "symphony" in traditional means) truly seduced me; its modern sound (including the Ondes Martenot - I first heard that name in the music from movie "The Black Cauldron" by Elmer Bernstein) and exotic features, its mysticism in ideas, and especially its theme on love/erotica inspired from Tristan and Isolde. No other music seemed to describe more than this work of my hunger for both physical and emotional love, not even the more obvious music ranging from Rachmaninoff to modern pop love songs (and some are even lame or just plain "dirty").

My favorite movements includes "Song of Love I", the scherzo-like "Joy in the Blood of the Stars", and the beautiful "Garden of Sleep".

Ever since, Messiaen has become on the composers I embrace. He is one of my favorite 20th century composers because of his distinct, subliminal style.
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