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Thread: Olivier Messiaen

  1. #271
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    Do you sell T-shirts?
    My "Get Mystic" course is only $39.95...give it a try!
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

    "I don't mind dying, as long as I can still breathe." ---Me

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by philoctetes View Post
    We now have the complete image: shaved head, robe, candles, bhagavagita, sleeping in airports, bloody knuckles from door knocking... the deprogramming didn't stick...
    No, this is "Catholic Mystic," which is top button buttoned, Clark Kent haircut, stiff posture, meticulous grooming, highly polished Oxford shoes, baggy drape trousers...
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

    "I don't mind dying, as long as I can still breathe." ---Me

  3. #273
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    My "Get Mystic" course is only $39.95...give it a try!
    I only paid 20 for the Messiaen opera!
    Short-term thinkers are rewarded with reelection, while those who dare to take seriously our responsibility to future generations commonly find themselves out of office.

    - Marcia Bjornerud, Geologist

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    My "Get Mystic" course is only $39.95...give it a try!
    I bought MR’s course and give it two stars out of five – at most. The box said I’d be enlightened within a week, but it took me almost a month. And the enlightenment wasn’t as good as it might be. Yes, there was the Buddha, but needing a shave, lounging against the wall and smoking a cigarette.

    I said, “No offense, but all this seems a bit shabby.” The Buddha replied, “Naturally. If you want a better enlightenment, you need a better course. Now here’s the one I recommend, the only course personally endorsed by me and guaranteeing first class results. And with our easy payment plan…”
    Last edited by KenOC; Aug-05-2019 at 19:53.


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  6. #275
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    The Buddha replied, “Naturally. If you want a better enlightenment, you need a better course. Now here’s the one I recommend, the only course personally endorsed by me and guaranteeing first class results. And with our easy payment plan…”
    You're not likely to find a Buddha deal from anyone else!
    Short-term thinkers are rewarded with reelection, while those who dare to take seriously our responsibility to future generations commonly find themselves out of office.

    - Marcia Bjornerud, Geologist

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  8. #276
    Senior Member philoctetes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    No, this is "Catholic Mystic," which is top button buttoned, Clark Kent haircut, stiff posture, meticulous grooming, highly polished Oxford shoes, baggy drape trousers...

    Um, same guy, 40 years later...

  9. #277
    Senior Member Blancrocher's Avatar
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    I've returned to Messiaen's piano music after years of neglect. I'm mostly just listening to sections of Ugorsky's Catalogue of Birds over and over--I don't know why it didn't click with me before, but I suppose that now the time was just right.

    I intend to get Austbo's comparatively inexpensive recording next for comparison purposes.

  10. #278
    Senior Member Blancrocher's Avatar
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    Btw, although I don't believe that watching Youtube clips involving various kinds of birds is the right way to develop an appreciation for Messiaen's music, that is what I am doing.

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    It strikes me that birds, one of God's creations, represent the spirit; they fly up, halfway between Heaven and Earth.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

    "I don't mind dying, as long as I can still breathe." ---Me

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  13. #280
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    The "Abyss of birds" from the Quatuor pour le fin du temps is an extremely powerful piece.

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    Senior Member CnC Bartok's Avatar
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    Ignoring the toing and froing about religion and spirituality here (poor Olivier), I have a huge amount of admiration for Messiaen and his music, with a particular focus on the big orchestral pieces, the piano stuff, the organ works.

    That said, there is one indisputable masterpiece of his I really do not get. It's the Quartet for the End of Time. I only have one recording, the Barenboim one on DGG, and it just doesn't grab me. I suspect it might be the problem, I hope so.

    So please someone recommend me a really involving performance. NLAdriaan's suggestion a couple of pages back is happily noted.

    TIA!

  15. #282
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CnC Bartok View Post
    Ignoring the toing and froing about religion and spirituality here (poor Olivier), I have a huge amount of admiration for Messiaen and his music, with a particular focus on the big orchestral pieces, the piano stuff, the organ works.

    That said, there is one indisputable masterpiece of his I really do not get. It's the Quartet for the End of Time. I only have one recording, the Barenboim one on DGG, and it just doesn't grab me. I suspect it might be the problem, I hope so.

    So please someone recommend me a really involving performance. NLAdriaan's suggestion a couple of pages back is happily noted.

    TIA!
    Reinbert de Leeuw, Vera Beths, Anner Bylsma, and George Pieterson, on Philips. A phenomenal performance. I suspect the recording with Martin Fröst is probably good too.

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  17. #283
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CnC Bartok View Post
    Ignoring the toing and froing about religion and spirituality here (poor Olivier), I have a huge amount of admiration for Messiaen and his music, with a particular focus on the big orchestral pieces, the piano stuff, the organ works. That said, there is one indisputable masterpiece of his I really do not get. It's the Quartet for the End of Time. I only have one recording, the Barenboim one on DGG, and it just doesn't grab me. I suspect it might be the problem, I hope so. So please someone recommend me a really involving performance. NLAdriaan's suggestion a couple of pages back is happily noted. TIA!
    I could understand someone requesting recommendations for a good performance, but if the work is not 'gotten' in its basic form, can a different performance do that.? I mean, how different can the Barenboim version be?

    Plus, the work is involving on several levels, not just a "moving" or "grabbing" emotionally-driven level. For instance, the solo clarinet in "Abime des oiseaux" is, in my view, supposed to evoke a sense of mystery and awe, not raw emotion as in Romanticism. If there is emotion, it is subdued, and is a subtext rather than being an overt expression.

    It seems to me that this Quartet is no different in that respect to the whole of Messiaen's body of work. I don't see Messiaen as a "Romantic" in the conventional sense. He is going after different things: a sense of awe and mystery, but not overt or maudlin emotion.

    Perhaps movement 5, "Louange á l'eternité de Jésus" comes closest to overt emotion, because the cello is so expressive (and the movement is about Jesus); but it seems to me that this emotion should come through in any competent performance of the work.

    Likewise, the final movement 6, praising Jesus, raised from the dead and immortalized, mirroring our own union with God. This is one reason I don't accept that the religious aspects of Messiaen can be ignored; the content is what drives the musicx to be what it is: evoking awe, or more overt emotion.

    Much of the music, involving "angels with legs of fire, announcements of the end of time, the abyss of time," and other "Revelation" type imagery, is not supposed to "move" or "grab your heart" simply on an emotional level; it involves more than that, and it's all wrapped up in religious imagery and beliefs.

    I think that difficulty to grasp the piece on a simple, visceral level might be due to cognitive reasons, and a refusal to accept the religious aspects of it.

    This is not "just music" without ideas and imagery behind it. It is an expression of Messiaen's Catholic beliefs, and this should not be separated from the experience of the work, as I see it. Although I am not Catholic, I have to "suspend my disbelief" in order to engage with the work; and on some level, this involves a willingness to accept and forget my own paradigm to the degree that it prevents my engagement, and to "believe in" the composer and his music.

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  19. #284
    Senior Member CnC Bartok's Avatar
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    Fair enough, but surely you have heard what could be described as "flat" recordings/performances, or even routine ones? I am not saying that Barenboim's is that, but there have been several works that haven't meant that much to me until that one special performance makes it click - Serkin's Diabelli Variations, Wand's Bruckner 5, Kubelik's Meistersingers. Hickox's VW Pastoral, spring to mind. Religious works or not, ignoring those aspects or not, sometimes a slightly different perspective brings that "Road to Damascus" moment.

    Or indeed, I'll be perfectly happy that this is a work that I just won't like, ever. It happens, but I think it's important enough as a piece of music for me to give it a few more tries?
    Last edited by CnC Bartok; Oct-14-2019 at 15:52.

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  21. #285
    Senior Member Blancrocher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CnC Bartok View Post
    Or indeed, I'll be perfectly happy that this is a work that I just won't like, ever. It happens, but I think it's important enough as a piece of music for me to give it a few more tries?
    As I mentioned upthread, it basically took years away from the Catalogue d'oiseaux for me to acquire an interest in the work. By comparison with things like the Vingt Regards and Quartet, it sounded kind of "random" to me. Returning to all the works, I feel differently. The Vingt Regards sounds more formally rigid--more positively, for Messiaen, maybe more liturgical?--and the bird music sounds correspondingly more open and eclectically expressive. I find myself preferring listening to the Catalogue d'oiseaux over the others--though they all sound like they're by the same composer; this is something I never expected.

    Anyway, with regard to the Quartet: you might try the Tashi recording, which is famous; I currently have and like the Fontenay/Brunner version.

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