Messiaen: Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus

Messiaen: Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus

Bertrand Chamayou has lived with Messiaen’s meditation on aspects of the Christ Child, Vingt Regards, for more than 30 years. Its piquant mixture of bell-like sonorities, birdsong, and Eastern rhythms holds no terrors for him. He’s a pianist in possession of an engrossing palette and can switch effortlessly from limpid iridescence to granite-hewn grandeur—the pent-up ebullience of “Regard de l’Esprit de joie” is positively explosive. This is Messiaen with muscle. And as if the 20 movements of Vingt Regards weren’t enough, Chamayou bookends the cycle with five homages to the French composer ranging from Anthony Cheung’s affectionate distillation of Messiaen’s compositional thumbprints (Live Ear Emission! “Homage to Olivier Messiaen”) to Jonathan Harvey’s remarkable tribute for live piano and electronics, Tombeau de Messiaen for Piano and Digital Audio Tape.

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