Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


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Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992)
Et Exspecto Resurrectionem Mortuorum (1964) [30.38]
Couleurs de la Cité Céleste (1963) [17.06]
L'Ascension (1932) [26.12]
Yvonne Loriod (piano)
Percussions de Strasbourg
Orchestre du Domaine Musical/Pierre Boulez
Orchestre Philharmonique National de L'ORTF/Marius Constant
rec. 1965, Paris, ADD
ERATO DISQUES 2564 60225-2 [73.56]

This is unusual: a bargain price Messiaen collection. It appears as part of Erato’s Fiftieth Anniversary celebrations now under the wing of Warners.


Et Exspecto is stark, unromantic, dissonant and percussion dominated with defiantly gestural contributions from woodwind and brass. Often with obsidian brass fading into percussion resonance and out of it.


Couleurs de la Cité Céleste is one of those works in which the piano plays a prominent role amid the thickets of percussion, smashing tam-tam blows and sphinx-like brass gestures. Couleurs though written fifteen years later links conveniently with parts of the extravagant Turangalila-Symphonie.

After two works from the 1960s comes the L'Ascension four movement work from 1930. This is conducted by Marius Constant rather than Boulez and is for orchestra rather than brass-augmented percussion ensemble. As with all the works on this well packed disc the subject matter is devoutly devotional in a savagely magnificent rather than excessively spiritual way. Listening to those squallingly aspirational brass fanfares in the first movement (Majesté du Christ) one can see where Andrzej Panufnik may have found inspiration for his Sinfonia Sacra. With the celebratory Alléluia sur la trompette, alléluia sur la cymbale one can hear the influence of Debussy's La Mer later to be sloughed off. In the Prière du Christ montant vers son Père the calm and exaltation of Carl Ruggles’ string writing can be heard as well as elements of Barber (Adagio) and Pettersson (Symphony No. 7).

Of course with these recordings you have to be ready for a bed of hiss which here was more prominent than on the Roussel discs in this Erato celebratory series. Strange how this fades down quite distinctly in the Il ressusciteront movement of Et Exspecto. The highly coloured orchestration is caught with astonishing immediacy and in the first heyday of these recordings on vinyl must have tested many a turntable and cartridge.

These are authentic 1960s recordings sounding splendid (allowing for a measure of analogue 'surface') both in impassioned repose (Prière du Christ) and in savage praise (Et Exspecto). An inexpensive way into Messiaen's world ... see Full Review

Rob Barnett

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