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Monday, June 10, 2013

Olivier Messiaen, Meditations sur le Mystere de la Sainte Trinite, Daniel Beilschmidt, Organ

Only a musical mind of the breadth and depth of Olivier Messiaen could produce the body of works for solo organ he did. They are profound, put a towering spire onto the French Organ School as no one else could, translated what must have been some bracing yet ecstatic visions of the Catholic mystical sort into music of such architecture that it could have served in some way as the plan for some incredible modern cathedral.

And perhaps the most towering of all, the most mystical, the most ecstatic, spooky if you will, is his Meditations sur le Mystere de la Sainte Trinitie (Genuin 13276). It has been newly recorded by Daniel Beilschmidt at the organ of the Eglise de la Sainte-Trinite, Paris, where Messiaen conceived of it. This is probably the definitive version, or at very least one of them. The nine meditations are given expansive, dynamic, stupendously vital interpretations. Maestro Beilschmidt has captured the extraordinary visionary qualities of the work and the recording engineers have captured the marvelous organ space-itudes faithfully and excitingly.

It is surely one of Messiaen's masterpieces for organ, a triumphantly moving, dissonant-consonant, archaic-futuristic-avant-gothic ediface to dwell within and contemplate Messiaen's remarkable sense of organ color and his deep faith-in-sound.

This is one to treasure. Messiaen can only be imitated, never matched. Because his way with tones was all his. Beilschmidt brings that truth home to us with a kind of aching clarity.

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