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Des Canyons Aux Etoiles


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Nov. 26 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Universal Music Group
  • ASIN: B00006AKUZ
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #81,308 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Le disert
2. Les Orioles
3. Ce qui est icrit sur les Etoiles
4. Le Cossyphe d'Heuglin
5. Cedar Breaks et le Don de Crainte
6. Appel insterstellaire
7. Bryce Canyon et les Rochers rouge-orange
Disc: 2
1. Les Ressuscitis et le Chant de l'Etoile Aldibaran
2. Le Moqueur polyglotte
3. La Grive des bois
4. Omao, leiothrix, elepaio, shama
5. Zion Park et la Citi cileste

Product Description

Product Description

Amazon.ca

Le pianiste français a achevé l'intégrale de la musique pour piano de Messiaen, une première mondiale d'une qualité exemplaire. Il rejoint ici l'Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France sous la direction de son chef, Myung-Whun Chung, ainsi que le corniste Jean-Jaccques Justafré. Des Canyons aux étoiles est une partition monumentale, rarement donnée. Elle fut commandée à Messiaen afin de célébrer le bicentenaire des États-Unis. Achevée en 1974, l'œuvre part de l'idée que la musique s'élève des canyons jusqu'à Dieu, multipliant les couleurs les plus brillantes ainsi que les chants d'oiseaux qui n'auront cessé de traverser toute la musique du compositeur. La vision de Chung et des solistes illumine les douze tableaux de cette pièce avec une mise en place fascinante. C'est un véritable bain sonore, une radiographie de nuances dont Chung met en valeur le maximum de détails, refusant d'accélérer le mouvement dans une surenchère d'effets. --Étienne Bertoli

Customer Reviews

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By M. B. Downey on Jan. 21 2004
Format: Audio CD
despite his considerable reputation and influence, messiaen's music still remains distinctive and represents a tangent to the unrelenting seriousness of much modern classical music. messiaen almost uniformly centres his pieces around his catholic faith. if this spiritual approach suggests connections with the music of various similarly inclined minimalists (part, taverner, etc. ad infinitum) than any listener would be in for a surprise. messiaen is very much a modernist - his music is a curious juxtaposition of his beloved bird song, serialism, the ecstatic tradition in eastern music and more besides.
les canyons aux etoiles encapsulates all his interests. it is a piece full of life yet quite austere compared to the almost burlesque nature of messiaen's other massive orchestral piece, "la turangalila symphonie". at an hour and a half's music it makes for a demanding listening experience but it is seldom as thankless as much other modern music one quarter its length. the piano writing (it has been labelled a long piano concerto) is always invigorating and maybe even a step forward from his great solo masterpiece, "les vingt regards". i wouldn't say messiaen moves me as deeply as certain other 20th century composers (e.g ligeti, shostakovich) but it certainly fills me with wonder and one can only be thankful (and surprised) that such an appealing approach to music was not castigated and banished on the basis of its undiluted mysticism and almost romanticised religiosity. a great recording.
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By H. Granot on June 24 2003
Format: Audio CD
Messiaen's Des canyons aux etoiles... is wonderful piece of music but is also a challenging one. You must be patience and attentive to every whisper, although I find myself swiftly hypnotized. Written for solo piano, horn, xylorimba, glockenspiel and large chamber ensemble the work conveys a feeling of spirituality and timeless. The work has twelve movements arranged into three sections comprised of five movements, two movements and five. Each part concluding with a visit to a specific site in Utah.
Myung-Whun Chung is maybe today greatest interpretations of Messiaen. The Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra has all the virtuosity and the talent to brings to life Messiaen's sound world. Roger Muraro (Piano) and Jean-Jacques Justafre (Horn) also makes an impressive listening in their parts. This is one of the essential releases of Messiaen this year and maybe ever.
Deutsche Grammophon beautifully printed booklet includes a number of Quotations under every movement title. The first movement titled "the Desert" bring a quote by the philosopher Ernest Hello which I found all the meanings of Messiaen's music. It says "He who is to be found in vast: one must discard everything in order to take the first steps towards him... Go deep into the Desert of Deserts..."
Buy this CD and get lost in the desert...
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By brotagonist TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 11 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I once had Esa-Pekka Salonen's interpretation of Des Canyons Aux Etoiles, but it seemed rather shrill and percussive. After reading of this recording, I took a gamble. Chung's interpretation sounds more subdued and clear. You can't go wrong with this monumental performance.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
From the Canyons to the Stars -- Messiaen's spiritual vision June 1 2005
By Autonomeus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Olivier Messiaen must certainly have been the most idiosyncratic of late 20th century composers. Two preoccupations dominated his music -- his Catholicism, and his love of birds. These came together in the figure of St. Francis, to whom he dedicated an opera, one of his last major works.

"Des Canyons aux Etoiles..." was commissioned for the U.S. Bicentennial. In searching for a topic, Messiaen discovered and fell in love with the canyonland of southern Utah. He visited the area in 1972 -- Cedar Breaks, Bryce Canyon, and Zion Park -- and began writing. This was his tribute -- the stars of the night sky in the desert, and the stripes formed by the layers of rock, reaching deep back into time, the stark beauty of the landscape, filled with birdsong, reflecting the glory of God.

"Des Canyons" is a most idiosyncratic work from a most idiosyncratic composer -- it is unclassifiable in terms of form, though piano concerto comes closer than most. There are 12 movements, and 4 featured instruments -- piano (Roger Muraro), horn (Jean-Jacques Justafre), xylorimba (Francis Petit), and glockenspiel (Renaud Muzzolini). The orchestra (Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, conducted by Myung-Whun Chung) is reduced to a large chamber ensemble, with woodwind, brass and percussion sections of orchestral size, but just 13 strings.

The 4th and 9th movements are piano solos, playing the songs of the white-browed robin and the mockingbird, respectively. Messiaen was a serious amateur ornithologist who taped birdsong and transcribed it for use in his music -- other birds featured in "Des Canyons" are the Sahara bird, orchard oriole, canyon wren, American robin, Stellar's jay, and wood thrush. Much of the long, episodic work is dominated by piano and percussion. A wind machine is used periodically, adding to the unique texture.

This is, I believe, the third recording of "Des Canyons," following one on Sony with Salonen conducting, and one on Montaigne, with de Leeuw conducting. I haven't heard them, so I can't compare, but this 2001 recording is marvelous. The conductor knew the composer and worked with him on other recordings, so he is tuned into Messiaen's idiosyncratic vision. I find that "Des Canyons aux Etoiles..." weaves its spell most effectively late at night, by starlight...

(verified purchase from a large brick-and-mortar bookstore)
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Just Explore June 24 2003
By H. Granot - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Messiaen's Des canyons aux etoiles... is wonderful piece of music but is also a challenging one. You must be patience and attentive to every whisper, although I find myself swiftly hypnotized. Written for solo piano, horn, xylorimba, glockenspiel and large chamber ensemble the work conveys a feeling of spirituality and timeless. The work has twelve movements arranged into three sections comprised of five movements, two movements and five. Each part concluding with a visit to a specific site in Utah.
Myung-Whun Chung is maybe today greatest interpretations of Messiaen. The Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra has all the virtuosity and the talent to brings to life Messiaen's sound world. Roger Muraro (Piano) and Jean-Jacques Justafre (Horn) also makes an impressive listening in their parts. This is one of the essential releases of Messiaen this year and maybe ever.
Deutsche Grammophon beautifully printed booklet includes a number of Quotations under every movement title. The first movement titled "the Desert" bring a quote by the philosopher Ernest Hello which I found all the meanings of Messiaen's music. It says "He who is to be found in vast: one must discard everything in order to take the first steps towards him... Go deep into the Desert of Deserts..."
Buy this CD and get lost in the desert...
21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant Feb. 11 2005
By Daniel Unger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This recording comes very close to capturing the experience of hearing this work live. I heard it several years ago with Peter Serkin playing piano and haven't been the same since. Messiaen goes into a musical space that is truly sublime and absolutely overwhelming. I can only recommend that people listen to this work several times, and really, really listen. It will pay great rewards.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
PERFORMANCE WHICH EVOKES THE LANDSCAPES THAT INSPIRED THE WORK Aug. 26 2011
By Klingsor Tristan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Having just returned from a trip - a pilgrimage, really - to the National Parks in Utah that provided much of the inspiration for this major work in Messiaen's oeuvre, I can vouch for the fact that they are just as amazing, just as jaw-droppingly beautiful as his music suggests.

This was a major Messiaen orchestral work from the mid-70s, written to a commission to celebrate the bicentenary of American Independence. Hence the fact that Messiaen used the American landscape at its most spectacular as his starting point - a launch-pad, if you like, to take him out to the stars that shine so incredibly brightly there and to his vision of the Celestial City beyond. The piece divides symmetrically into three sections of 5 movements, then 2, then 5 again. Each section ends with a picture of one of those Utah parks - Cedar Breaks, Bryce Canyon and Zion respectively. Between them are movements evoking other landscapes - the desert that is such a feature of the Western States at the opening, for example; movements filled with his beloved birdsong, two of which are for piano solo alone; movements that relate through the communicable language alphabet he developed in his previous work, the `Meditations sur le mystere de la Saint Trinite', to his religious visions; and a staggering solo horn movement at the beginning of Part 2, the `Appel interstellaire' or Interstellar Call, that makes massive technical demands of the soloist as it reaches for the stars.

The music right through the piece is full of incredible colour. Messiaen himself was synesthetic - he saw harmonies as colours - but, even without that particular talent/affliction, this music is unique in conjuring the amazing range of reds and golds of these rocks - especially of Bryce with its bright red forest of hoodoo pillars - as well as of the birds, which are not restricted to those of the Utah area, but include others from as far afield as Hawaii. All this is achieved with an orchestra of, for Messiaen, relatively modest size: a pretty standard wind section, though with augmented brass, an admittedly large percussion section with big solo parts for xylorimba and glockenspiel and including a wind machine and an `earth machine' of the composer's own invention (lead shot rotated in a round drum to evoke the sound of the shifting sands of the desert), a mere 13 solo strings, plus the solo piano and French Horn. Just 44 players in all, practically a chamber group compared to the forces needed for Turangalila or the Eclairs sur l'au-dela, yet they produce awe-inspiring tuttis when required to conjure up the scale and drama of these mind-boggling geological miracles.

Myung-Whun Chung worked closely with the composer in his later years and this DGG recording benefits from his wealth of experience with Messiaen's music. His orchestra is packed full of the talent and technique absolutely essential from each and every player in this demanding score. The horn player, Jean-Jacques Justafre, is simply prodigious in his Interstellar solo. And Roger Muraro, the pianist, is second to none throughout and particularly in his solo movements - and that's saying something when he's up against the competition of Yvonne Loriod, the composer's wife, for whom the part was originally written. Indeed, in both sound and performances, these CDs see off their rivals handsomely. The original Erato recording (with Loriod in the piano part) was ground-breaking and excellent; Esa-Pekka Salonen with the London Sionfonietta was a little disappointing by comparison, despite superior sound. But this DGG recording beats them both on every count.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
! Jan. 6 2012
By no name - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The minute or so when Messiaen makes a french horn to mimic a wolf howling at the moon, alone, is worth the price of the CD. And when you throw in the rest of the music, its worth several times the price of the CD.


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