Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Olivier Messiaen - Turangalîla-symphonie: A. Previn, M. Beroff, J. Loriod, LSO. DVD10 double-sided

    Artist: Andre Previn, Michel Beroff, Jeanne Loriod, London Symphony Orchestra
    Album:  Olivier Messiaen: Turangalîla-symphonie
    Released: 2001
    Label: EMI Classics
    Catalog N°: 7243 4 92398 9 0
    Genre: Classical
    File Format: DVD10 double-sided. DVD-Decrypter ISO, DVD-Video 3.12GB, DVD-Audio 2.55GB 

    On this DVD:
    1. Turangalîla-symphonie, for piano, ondes martenot & orchestra, I/29
       Composed by Olivier Messiaen
       Performed by London Symphony Orchestra
       with Michel Beroff (piano), Jeanne Loriod (ondes martenot)
       Conducted by Andre Previn 
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    I am not going to review the work per se but the DVD-A recording and this version, as I must assume you have some prior knowledge of this masterpiece to be reading this. Suffice it to say that as recordings of this work go (it was recently exhaustively reviewed in the Oct. Gramophone), this one by Previn and the LSO can easily hold its own. The strengths are in the way the entire structure of the work is held together, the detail in all of the myriad layers, and the balance of the recording. This was one of the first recordings to "break" this work to a wider audience, and the original recording dates from 1978 at Abbey Road studios. It has been remastered for DVD-Audio and is absolutely stunning to listen to. If you didn't know its vintage, you would swear it was a digital recording. Often times, recordings from Abbey Road can sound like, well, what they are - a big, dull room versus a concert hall or church venue. The best recordings from there, on the other hand, are known for the tight, well-controlled bass, the ability to always hear all of the inner detail even in works of dense instrumentation, and the pleasant ambience of the room, resembling a smallish church acoustic. This EMI recording is in the latter category. As I've never heard the original CD version of this recording, I can't say how this compares, but if you have gear that will play DVD-A and are looking for a demonstration-class recording of a masterpiece of modern music, look no further. Thomas G. Waldo

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