Messiaen: Catalogue d'Oiseaux

Messiaen: Catalogue d'Oiseaux cover
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Messiaen: Catalogue d'Oiseaux
Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano)

[ Pentatone SACD / 3 Hybrid SACD ]

Release Date: Friday 9 March 2018

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Renowned French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard kicks off his exclusive engagement to PENTATONE with a recording of Olivier Messiaen's Catalogue d'Oiseaux (1956-1958). The pianist had intimate ties to the composer himself and his wife, Yvonne Loriod, for whom Messiaen wrote the Catalogue. Praised by The Guardian as "one of the best Messiaen interpreters around," this is Aimard's first recording of Messiaen's most extensive, demanding and colourful piano composition. The luxurious release set contains an accompanying bonus film, on which Aimard shares his vast knowledge of and love for Messiaen's work from behind the piano. Due to its radical naturalism, the Catalogue d'Oiseaux is exceptional within the repertoire for solo piano. It is the grand hymn to nature from a man who never ceased to marvel at the stupefying beauty of landscapes or the magic of bird song. With his Catalogue, Messiaen tried - in his own words - "to render exactly the typical birdsong of a region, surrounded by its neighbours from the same habitat, as well as the form of song at different hours of the day and night," suggesting an almost scientific approach to his subjects. The idea of 'reproduction' may have been central to Messiaen's conception of the Catalogue d'Oiseaux, but in the finished work we hear a great composer at work, a master of innovative structures who finds an astonishing range of piano sonorities. In a world that is increasingly being destructed by man, Aimard views this cycle as "a musical refuge that resonates with an audience ever more concerned, expanded and affected."

Gramophone Award Nomination 2018 - Instrumental

"Aimard's interpretations are anything but tame. His dynamic range is formidable, his voicing of chords scrupulously faithful, his clarity unimpeachable. It's hard to imagine the textures having greater impact or precision, or the continuity and discontinuity being projected with greater concentration…Not a single sound emerges with indifference." Gramophone Editor's Choice April 2018

"Few are better acquainted [with the Catalogue] than Pierre-Laurent Aimard, and this set is clearly a long-pondered act of love…Needless to say, Aimard possesses the necessary dazzling virtuosity, but also the exceptionally broad palette of colour and timbral precision. In his hands, the opening of the gorgeous nocturne 'L'Alouette lulu' is a masterclass in balance." BBC Music Five Stars


Catalogue d'oiseaux (Catalogue of Birds)* 01:46:52
1 Catalogue d'oiseaux, I/42: No. 1, Le chocard des a 00:09:27
2 Catalogue d'oiseaux, I/42: No. 2, Le loriot 00:08:06
3 Catalogue d'oiseaux, I/42: No. 3, Le merle bleu 00:12:59
4 Catalogue d'oiseaux, I/42: No. 4, Le traquet stapa 00:14:05
5 Catalogue d'oiseaux, I/42: No. 5, La chouette hulo 00:07:54
6 Catalogue d'oiseaux, I/42: No. 6, L'alouette lulu 00:06:47

Catalogue d'oiseaux (Catalogue of Birds)* 01:46:52
1 Catalogue d'oiseaux, I/42: No. 7, La rousserolle e 00:31:37

Catalogue d'oiseaux (Catalogue of Birds)* 01:46:52
1 Catalogue d'oiseaux, I/42: No. 8, L'alouette calan 00:05:12
2 Catalogue d'oiseaux, I/42: No. 9, La bouscarle 00:10:25
3 Catalogue d'oiseaux, I/42: No. 10, Le merle de roc 00:17:24
4 Catalogue d'oiseaux, I/42: No. 11, La buse variabl 00:09:41
5 Catalogue d'oiseaux, I/42: No. 12, Le traquet rieu 00:07:50
6 Catalogue d'oiseaux, I/42: No. 13, Le courlis cend 00:09:15

Messian: Catalogue d'Oiseaux • Pierre-Laurent Aimard • Aldeburgh Festival • Snape Maltings