Olivier Messiaen - Complete Edition (32 CD box set, FLAC)
Olivier Messiaen - Complete Edition (32 CD box set, FLAC)

Composer: Olivier Messiaen
Audio CD
SPARS Code: ADD
Number of Discs: 32 CD box set
Format: FLAC (tracks+cue)
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Size: 7.17 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

CD 01
1-8 Preludes
9 La Fauvette des jardins

CD 02
1-6 Petites esquisses d’oiseaux
7-10 Quatre Etudes de rythme
11 Canteyodjaya
12 Rondeau
13 Fantaisie burlesque
14 Prelude pour piano
15 Piece pour le tombeau de Paul Dukas

CD 03-04
1-10 Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jesus (I-X)
1-10 Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jesus (XI-XX)

CD 05-07
1-6 Catalogue d’Oiseaux (Books 1-3)
1-3 Catalogue d’Oiseaux (Books 4-5)
1-4 Catalogue d’Oiseaux (Books 6-7)

CD 08
1 Apparition de l’Eglise Eternelle
2-10 La Nativite du Seigneur

CD 09
1 Le banquet celeste
2 Offrande au Saint Sacrement
3 Diptyque
4-10 Les corps glorieux

CD 10
1-9 Meditations sur le mystere de la Sainte Trinite

CD 11
1 Prelude pour orgue
2 Verset pour la fete de la dedicace
3 Monodie
4-7 L’Ascension (pour orgue)
8-12 Messe de la Pentecote

CD 12
1-7 Livre d’orgue
8-13 Livre du Saint Sacrement (I-VI)

CD 13
1-12 Livre du Saint Sacrement (VII-XVII)

CD 14-15
1-7 La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jesus-Chris (Premiere Septenaire)
1-7 La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jesus-Chris (Deuxieme Septenaire)

CD 16-19
1-19 Saint Francois d’Assise (Act I)
1-19 Saint Francois d’Assise (Act II, Scenes 4-5)
1-9 Saint Francois d’Assise (Act II, Scene 6)
1-14 Saint Francois d’Assise (Act III)

CD 20
1-10 Turangalila-Symphonie

CD 21-22
1-7 Des Canyons aux etoiles (Parts 1-2)
1-5 Des Canyons aux etoiles (Part 3)

CD 23
1-7 Chronochromie
8 La Ville d’eu haut
9-13 Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum

CD 24
1-4 Concert a quatre
5 Les Offrandes oubliees
6 Un Sourire
7 Le Tombeau resplendissant

CD 25
1-11 Eclairs sur l’Au-Dela

CD 26
1-9 Poemes pour Mi (orch.)
10 Reveil des Oiseaux
11-17 Sept Haikai

CD 27
1-8 Fete des belles eaux
9-12 Feuillets Inedits
13 Chant dans le style de Mozart
14 Le merle noir
15-19 Cinq rechants
20 Chant des Deportes

CD 28
1 O sacrum convivium!
2-9 Quatour pour la fin du Temps
10 Piece pour piano et quatuor a cordes
11 Oiseaux exotiques

CD 29
1-12 Harawi
13-15 Trois Melodies
16 La Mort du Nombre

CD 30
1-3 Trois Petites Liturgies de la Presence Divine
4 Couleurs de la Cite Celeste
5 Hymne au Saint Sacrement
6 Fantaisie

CD 31
1-6 Theme et Variations
7-10 L’Ascension (orch.)
11-19 Poemes pour Mi
20 Un Vitrail et des Oiseaux
21 Vocalise-etude

CD 32
1-7 Visions de l’Amen
8-13 Chants de Terre et de Ciel

Performers
CDs 1-7 Piano Music: Eight Preludes (1928-9) [33:01]; La fauvette des jardins (1972) [32:26]; Petites Esquisses d’oiseaux (1985) [13:38]; Quatre etudes de rhythme (1949) [16:55]; Canteyodjaya (1948) [13:07]; Rondeau (1943) [2:28]; Fantaisie burlesque (1932) [7:28]; Prelude (1964) [2:51]; Piece pour le tombeau de Paul Dukas (1935) [3:33]; Vingt regards sur l’enfant Jesus (1944) [118:55]; Catalogue d’oiseau (1956-8) [149:53]
all Roger Muraro (piano). rec. 1998-2001;
CDs 8-13 Organ Music: Apparition de l’eglise (1932) [9:45]; La nativite du Seigneur (1935) [62:58]; Le banquet celeste (1928) [7:03]; Offrande au Saint (1930-5) [5:06]; Diptyque (1930) [11:22]; Les corps glorieux (1939) [55:03]; Meditations sur le mystere de la Sainte Trinite (1969) [72:20]; Prelude [9:00]; Verset pour la fete de la dedicace (1960) [8:03]; Monodie (1963) [2:53]; L’Ascension – 4 Meditations (1934) [27:13]; Messe de la Pentecote (1950) [28:34]; Livre d’orgue (1951) [44:52]; Livre du Saint Sacrement (1984) [101:40]
all Olivier Latry (organ). rec. 2000;
CDs 14-15: La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jesus-Christ (1965-9) [99:47]
Emmanuel Curt (vibraphone); Thomas Prevost (flute); Roger Muraro (piano); Eric Levionnois (cello); Robert Fontaine (clarinet); Francis Petit (marimba); Renaud Muzzolini (xylorimba); Radio France Chorus and Philharmonic Orchestra/Myung-Whun Chung. rec. 2001;
CDs 16-19 Opera: Saint Francois d’Assise (1983) [234:45]
Dawn Upshaw (soprano) – The Angel; Jose van Dam (baritone) – St. Francis; Chris Merritt (tenor) – The Leper; Urban Malmberg (baritone) – Brother Leo; John Aler (tenor) – Brother Masseo; Guy Renard (tenor) – Brother Elias; Tom Krause (bass) – Brother Bernard; Akos Banlaky (baritone) – Brother Sylvester; Dirk D’Ase-(baritone) Brother Rufus; Jeanne Loriod; Valerie Hartmann-Claverie & Dominique Kim (ondes martenot); Arnold Schoenberg Choir; Halle Orchestra/ Kent Nagano. rec. 1998;
CDs 20-32 Other Music: Turangalila-Symphonie (1946-8) [78:32]
Jeanne Loriod (ondes martenot); Yvonne Loriod (piano); Bastille Opera Orchestra/Myung-Whun Chung. rec. 1990;
Des canyons aux etoiles (1970-4) [92:07]
Roger Muraro (piano); Francis Petit (xylorimba); Jean-Jacques Justafre (horn); Renaud Muzzolini (glockenspiel); Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra/Myung-Whun Chung. rec. 2001;
Chronochromie (1960) [23:47]; La ville d’en haut (1987) [9:17]; Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum (1964) [24:31]
Cleveland Orchestra/Pierre Boulez. rec. 1993;
Concert a quatre (1991) [26:11]
Yvonne Loriod (piano); Catherine Cantin (flute); Heinz Holliger (oboe); Mstislav Rostropovich (cello); Bastille Opera Orchestra/Myung-Whun Chung. rec. 1994;
Les offrandes oubliees (1930) [12:38]; Un sourire (1991) [10:37]; Le tombeau resplendissant (1931) [15:25]; Eclairs sur l’au-dela… (1987-91) [64:56]
Bastille Opera Orchestra/Myung-Whun Chung. rec. 1993-4;
Poemes pour Mi (1936) [28:44]
Francoise Pollet (soprano); Cleveland Orchestra/Pierre Boulez. rec. 1994;
Reveil des oiseaux (1953) [20:11]
Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano);
Cleveland Orchestra/Pierre Boulez. rec. 1994;
Sept Haikai (1962) [22:50]
Joela Jones (piano); Cleveland Orchestra Pierre Boulez. rec. 1994;
La fete des belles eaux (1937) [31:35]
Jeanne Loriod Sextet (ondes martenot). rec. 1980;
Quatre Inedits [11:12]
Jeanne Loriod (ondes martenot); Yvonne Loriod (piano). rec. 1999;
Chant dans le style de Mozart [3:28]
Guy Deplus (Clarinet); Yvonne Loriod (piano). rec. 1999;
Le merle noir (1951) [5:54]
Christian Larde (flute); Yvonne Loriod (piano). rec. 1999;
Cinq Rechants (1949) [17:11]
Le Madrigal Ensemble/Jean-Paul Kreder. rec. 1966;
Chantes de deportes (1945) [3:36]
BBC Symphony Chorus and Orchestra/Sir Andrew Davis. rec. 1995;
O sacrum convivium! (1937) [3:51]
Cambridge St. John’s College Choir/George Guest. rec. 1969;
Quatuor pour la fin du temps (1940) [49:07]
Daniel Barenboim (piano); Luben Yordanoff (violin); Albert Tetard (cello); Claude Desurmont (clarinet). rec. 1978
Piece for Piano and String Quartet [3:28]
Yvonne Loriod (piano); Rosemonde String Quartet. rec. 1999;
Oiseaux exotiques 1956) [13:37]
Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano); Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Riccardo Chailly. rec. 1995;
Harawi (1945) [60:29]
Yumi Nara (soprano); Jay Gottlieb (piano). rec. 1989;
Trois Melodies (1930) [6:28]
Sylvia McNair (soprano); Roger Vignoles (piano). rec. 1996;
La mort du nombre (1930) [12:00]
Herve Lamy (tenor); Francoise Pollet (soprano); Agnes Sulem-Bialobroda (violin); Yvonne Loriod (piano). rec. 1999;
Trois petites liturgies de la Presence [33:41] (1944)
Valerie Hartmann-Claverie (ondes martenot); Helene Collerette (violin); Roger Muraro (piano); Maitrise de Radio France; Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra Myung-Whun Chung. rec. 2008;
Couleurs de la cite celeste (1963) [17:29]
Catherine Cournot (piano); Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra/Myung-Whun Chung. rec. 2008;
Hymne au Saint-Sacrement (1932) [16:46]
Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra/Myung-Whun Chung. rec. 2008;
Fantasie for Violin and Piano [8:02]
Daniel Hope (violin); Marie Vermeulen (piano). rec. 2008;
Theme et Variations for Violin and Piano (1932) [7:31]
Martha Argerich (piano); Gidon Kremer (violin). rec. 1985;
L’Ascension for Orchestra (1933) [32:17]
Bastille Opera Orchestra/Myung-Whun Chung. rec. 1990;
Poemes pour Mi (1936) [26:30]
Noelle Barker (soprano); Robert Sherlaw Johnson (piano). rec. 1971;
Un vitrail et des oiseaux (1986) [9:35]
Yvonne Loriod (piano); Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra/Karl Anton Rickenbacher. rec. 2008;
Vocalise-etude (1935) [4:50]
Nathalie Manfrino (soprano); Marie Vermeulen (piano). rec. 2008;
Visions de l’amen (1943) [46:08]
Yvonne Loriod (piano); Olivier Messiaen (piano). rec. 1962
Chants de Terre et de Ciel (1938) [25:05]
Noelle Barker (soprano); Robert Sherlaw Johnson (piano). rec. 1971.

Messiaen Complete Edition, a collection not to be missed

The year of 2008 marks Messiaen centenary (1908-1992), and many major labels have issued or reissued various Messiaen box sets. Among them, 2 sets stand out: Messiaen Edition from Warner Classics/Erato and the current set Messiaen Complete Edition from Deutsche Grammophon. They are both excellent. Significantly, both include very substantial booklets which contain useful background information of the music. The choice comes down to your financial resources and musical preferences, which will be explained below.

DG’s Messiaen Complete Edition is easily the most satisfying choice. Not only because of its comprehensiveness, all of Messiaen’s works in 32 discs, but also because of the very high standard of performance maintained in this big set. Indeed, many of the performances are either performed/conducted by the composer’s pupils: Yvonne Loriod, Myung-Whun Chung, Kent Nagano, Pierre Boulez, or recorded/rehearsed in the composer’s presence. The latter includes, notably, Argerich–Kremer’s Thème et Variations, and Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps. This collection even includes a piano-duet version of Visions de l’Amen in the last disc, played by Messiaen himself and his wife Yvonne Loriod. The only significant weakness of this set, in my opinion, is Roger Muraro’s 7 discs of solo piano music. For that, you will want to get the performances from two Messiaen super-experts: Prof. Peter Hill(*) and Yvonne Loriod. However, let me emphasize that even this “major weakness” is really not that weak after all! Muraro might not be the most idiomatic Messiaen performer, but he has very colorful and supple touch and agile technique. And yes technique! Some pieces demand virtuosic technique: If you can’t play 16th notes at 200 (per quarter note) in cadenzas and florid passages, don’t even try Messiaen except in your own sound-proof practice room!

Yvonne Loriod’s outstanding performance can be found in Warner’s Messiaen Edition alluded above. The strength of this set includes: (1) Yvonne Loriod’s performance of solo piano works, (2) Pierre Boulez’s conducting of a few orchestral works and (3) A recorded radio interview with the composer in the last CD. The major drawback of the set, though, is that it does not include Messiaen’s only opera Saint François d’Assise, which is included in DG’s Complete Edition in a superb performance conducted by Kent Nagano, with an outstanding (dream) cast led by José van Dam’s Saint François.

One significant benefit from the completeness itself is that “the whole is more than a collection of individuals”. After going through the complete oeuvres, the developmental stages become much clearer. When one traces the composer’s work chronologically, their connections show up naturally. Some examples: from Trois Melodies (1930) one senses immediately strong influence of Debussy’s Pelleas; some traces of Fauré can be discerned from his early chamber music;(**) in many early songs, one hears themes of later instrumental works, like Vocalise-Etude (1935) in Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps (1940-1). There are many other examples. However, the joy of discovery is not unlike what I experienced a few years back, while going through Hanssler’s Complete Bach edition.

My recommendation is: if you can afford it, go for DG’s complete edition while it’s still available. It’s not likely we will have another “complete edition” of any composer of such high quality any time soon. On the other hand, if you enjoy Messiaen’s piano music as much as I do, you would really want to supplement this set with either Peter Hill’s or Yvonne Loriod’s recordings. This recommendation is especially urgent as it is a limited edition and most major European vendors, including DG’s own website(!), no longer carry it.(***)

Most highly recommended for anyone who enjoys Messiaen’s music.

14 Comments

  1. OMG – I do own a large collection of Messiaen, amongst them the complete Warner. But this one was always missing, though some of the recordings I do have as solitaires.

    This will make me happy for the next years to come! Thanks a lot whatever.

  2. hi thank you so much. this just awesome.
    however unfortunately some parts of the pages in the box scans pdf are just illegible. is there a way you can improve the scans?

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