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Olivier Messiaen: The Complete Organ Works Volume 5/6

Reviews- Volume Five

“It may be blasphemous for some to suggest that a composer's works are often better played by a non-composing virtuoso musician than by the creator himself, but in all honesty no one understands or plays this music better than this English virtuoso.” The Omnibus Essential Guide to Classical CDs

“This is a definitive recording, bestowing the touch of le maitre. Nuance abounds, the interpretations are fresh, and the intent of the style becomes evident, as well it should be in the presence of mastery. Weir brings the spirit of Messiaen to a comprehensible level for the listener. She teaches us not only how it should be played, but also how it should be heard. The notes in the accompanying literature are worth the price of the album alone, and you get the two discs as well.” The American Organist, March 2006

“No matter how many organ recordings I listen to, those of Gillian Weir simply mesmerise me, no less so than in her reissued series of recordings of Messiaen. It is though she is in contant communication with that extraordinary composer. She performs this series on the fabulous Frobenius Organ of Arhus Cathedral, Denmark. Not one to be afraid of moving away from the Cavaillé-Colls the composer originally intended them for, Weir is content to convince audiences that this music is worthy of any organ of similar stature. The point is proven. Like Bach, Messiaen has a unique power to convey the Christian message but equally one senses the humanism in both. I get this sense whenever I hear this music, although I must admit my colour sense of not affected by it. I cannot pretend to have been blessed or cursed with synaesthesia but try as I might I have to admit that I am never going to 'see' with my ears; imagine, yes. Weir achieves that in her performances here, my imagination surfing a musical range of quite extraordinary depths. Here is, perhaps, some of the most important music of the twentieth century and it was all written for organ. What more of a statement can a composer give? What more of a statement can one of the world's most imaginative artists give? If you cannot hear this music, don't give up because one day it may transform your aural perception; certainly these performances will bring you to that threshold.” The Organ, February 2005

“incomparable interpretations”, “unmissable” Organists' Review, February 2005

“Gillian Weir's magnificently recorded coverage of Messiaen's organ music dates from 1994. It was recorded on the superb organ of Aarhus Cathedral, Denmark, in association with BBC Radio 3, and was originally issued on Collins — to be withdrawn only too swiftly when that label disappeared. On its original issue it received an extraordinary number of accolades, both for Gillian Weir's astonishing virtuosity and control, and indeed for the demonstration quality of the recording. Now it returns on Priory, and its excellence is confirmed. The authority and conviction of her playing shinees out through the entire project: its concentration and power are immediately apparent in the opening Apparition de l'église éternelle, while Le Banquet céleste and the remarkably diverse Le Corps glorieux show the strength of her characterization.”
The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs & DVDs Yearbook 2004/5 Review comments are for all five new volumes, which are noted as “Key recording - suitable as a basis for a collection; *** An outstanding performance and recording in every way” (ratings are *, **, or ***)

“Gillian Weir's cycle remains the best of all, and she, playing the marvellous Frobenius instrument at Århus, brings that special spaciousness and intensity to the Livre that distinguishes her cycle as a whole... It is, quite simply, one of the finest organ recordings ever made.” Arnold Whittall, October 2004 Awards issue of Gramophone

Track Listings

Priory Records(external link) PRCD 925/6

DiscTrackMusic
Vol. 5 1 Livre du Sacrement I. Adoro te
2 II. La Source de Vie
3 III. Le Dieu caché
4 IV. Acte de Foi
5 V. Puer natus est nobis
6 VI. La manne et le Pain de Vie
7 VII. Les ressuscités et la lumière de vie
8 VIII. Institution de l' Eucharistie
9 IX. Les Ténèbres
10 X. La Résurrection du Christ
11 XI. L'apparition du Christ ressuscité à Marie-Madeleine
12 XII. La Transsubstantiation
Vol. 6 1 XIII. Les deux murailles d'eau
2 XIV. Prière avant la Communion
3 XV. La joie de la Grâce
4 XVI. Prière aprè la Communion
5 XVII. La Présence multiplée
6 XVIII. Offrande et Alléluia final
7 Prélude
8 Monodie
9 Verset pour la Fête de la Dédicace
10 Offrande au Saint Sacrement
11 Diptyque - Essai sur la vie terrestre et l'éternité bienheureuse