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Eclairs Sur L Au-Dela...

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Nov. 2 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon - Universal Special Imports
  • ASIN: B000001GMD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #106,150 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Illuminations Of The Beyond: I. Apparition du Christ glorieux
2. Illuminations Of The Beyond: II. La Constellation du Sagittaire
3. Illuminations Of The Beyond: III. L'Oiseau-lyre et la Ville-fiancée
4. Illuminations Of The Beyond: IV. Les Élus marques du sceau
5. Illuminations Of The Beyond: V. Demeurer dans l'Amour...
6. Illuminations Of The Beyond: VI. Les Sept Anges aux sept trompettes
7. Illuminations Of The Beyond: VII. Et Dieu essuiera toute larme de leurs yeux...
8. Illuminations Of The Beyond: VIII. Les Etoiles et la Gloire
9. Illuminations Of The Beyond: IX. Plusieurs Oiseaux des arbres de Vie
10. Illuminations Of The Beyond: X. Le Chemin de l'Invisible
11. Illuminations Of The Beyond: XI. Le Christ, lumière du Paradis

Product Description

Product Description


It's been said that Messiaen's later work is nothing more than a rehashing of his early ground-breaking work such as the Turangalîla Symphony. But one listen to this--his final composition written between 1987 and 1991--will change a lot of people's minds. Deeply introspective and highly spiritual, Eclairs eloquently sums up everything Messiaen strove to attain in his long career; statements don't come more mature than this one. There's bits and pieces from all his major statements: 48 different bird calls, clanging percussion, dissonant polychromatic horn sections, all played by a large, rich orchestra. The piece has one foot on earth and the other in heaven--it's at once a description of the sounds of the forest (literally transcribed) and the sounds of heaven (one section is called "The Seven Angels With Seven Trumpets"). All the sounds mingle at once in a way that articulates a complete sonic and philosophical cosmology. The final sections, entitled "The Way To The Invisible" and "Christ, Light Of Paradise", give a new meaning to spirituality in modern music. If you're interested in the either spiritual work of Arvo Pärt or Henryk Górecki or the experimental work of Boulez and Stockhausen, you'll find the roots of all their endeavours here on this disc. --Kenneth Goldsmith

Customer Reviews

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Format: Audio CD
ok - well this is good - This piece was the first Messiaen I heard. I heard it on radio about three times - first hearing, I thought it was very odd and really quite rubbish - the next couple of hearings I was still cynical, but I had never heard anything quite like it before, and it kind of drew me - I started to find the the 5th and 6th movements mesmerizing, as well as the final movement. I eventually ended up buying it on CD - and it is an impressive piece.
I have now listened to some other Messiaen pieces, including Turangalila, the Quartet for the end of Time, Et Exspecto, Des Canyons aux etoiles and Livre du Saint Sacrement which are v good, and I don't know whether or not I would say this is the best, but it has more of a serenely majestic feel to it. The fifth movement is the most ecstatic music I have ever heard, the first movement is a fantastic piece - totally static - it seems to make the piece move outside of time at the very outset. Much of the work consists of a sort of spiritual ecstasy mixed with genuine awe, with scattered birdsong - which acts like a sort of 'small' quality showing that God, whilst majestic and awesome, and awesomely loving, is also beautiful and approachable.
This is music that many people 'won't get' which is a pity, as I think it presents something almost wholly unique in our western society let alone music - we have a busy society which always has to be places, and never feels it can be timeless. This is music that reaches into another world - as indicated in its title - which is far away from our western lives of appointments, meetings and merely forming interest cultures.
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Format: Audio CD
This recording, and therefore the piece itself, whizzed right over my head when I took it out of the library six months ago. It didn't help that the librarian sneered "It's hard to take this Messy-en seriously." Since I love, with qualifications, earlier Messiaen works like Quatuor Pour le Fin du Temps, the Turangalila-Symphonie, and especially Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant Jesus -- the religious piano cycle that perfectly captures the sense of "holy dread," in Rautavaara's phrase, prevailing in the manger the night Christ was born, as if everyone present knew how many crucifixions, holy wars, and mind-numbing theological quibbles and Sunday school lessons were to follow -- I just chalked up Messiaen's "failure" with the Donut Symphony to senile self-parody.
Then, a couple nights ago, I heard it played by the Berlin Philharmonic under Simon Rattle, not who you would think of as a born Messiaen conductor. It was revelatory. Shamelessly or not, he played up the symphony's structural resemblance to Mahler, especially the 3rd and its notorious attempt to encompass the world -- in his hands the centerpiece of Illuminations, "Demeurer Dans L'Amour," which sounds like a beam of sunlight refracted under water in a serene yet creepy ocean, made me think of the subtitle "What the Sea Anemones Taught Me As They Brushed Against My Legs While I Was Swimming and Really Weirded Me Out." Except that Messiaen's grab-bag is even more ambitious, attempting, like the movie 2001, transcendence as well -- the French word "demeurer," which means to melt into something, expresses the vibe more accurately, but has unfortunate 80's soft-rock connotations ( Modern English, specifically ) in our Anglo world.
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Format: Audio CD
Eclairs sur l'au-dela (Flashes from the distant beyond) was Messiaen's last orchestral piece. It uses exotic techniques such as bird song, Hindu raga rhythm, Gregorian chant, and modes of limited transposition in a large, multi-movement orchestral piece. The orchestra features an expanded percussion section. Those who know and love Messiaen's musc will greatly enjoy L'eclairs sur l'eau-dela. It convincingly integrates the diverse techniques into a final spiritual statement. Those who do not know Messiaen's music will find this piece to be a great introduction to a twentieth-century giant who assimilated Debussy and Schoenberg while writing in his unique compostional voice. The French performance lacks some of the weight and power that the New York Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta brought to this work at its premiere at Avery Fisher Hall. The interpretation is bright and crisp when needed and sensous in the more meditative moments.
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Format: Audio CD
I thought this CD would be worth a listen to after experiencing the Turangalila Symphony. However, compared to the great Messiaen works, such as the Turangalila or the Quartet for the End of Time, this work is quite mediocre, and not worth the price of the CD.
In form the music alternates between serene moments and Messiaen's famous birdcall music. However, the more serene moments do not have the timeless quality that you can find in Mahler, Tavener, Part, etc. Unless you must listen to all of Messiaen's works, skip this one.
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