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Messiaen: Cateyodjaya; Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition; Ravel: Miroirs

By Peter Donohoe

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By Peter Donohoe. By Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992), and Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (1839-1881). Classical, Piano. Classical. Listening CD. Signum Records #SIGCD566. Published by Signum Records (NX.SIGCD566).

Item Number: NX.SIGCD566

This is a new collection exploring depictions of 'pictures' in music performed by Peter Donohoe - acclaimed as one of the foremost pianists of our time for his musicianship, stylistic versatility and commanding technique. One of the pinnacles of nineteenth-century pianism, Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition broke new frontiers in its writing for the piano through its use of ringing bell-like sonorities, dramatic juxtaposition of registers and dynamics, its approach to resonance, percussive octaves and rapid hand-alternations, and sheer grandeur of sound. Introducing new ideas about virtuosity that owe much to orchestral thinking in the ways the full range of the piano's tone-colors are explored, this work requires immense stamina through combining great finger dexterity with unbridled power. Mussorgsky's masterpiece is coupled here with works by Ravel and Messiaen - composers who were indebted to the innovations of their Russian predecessor. Miroirs comprises a set of five pieces evoking contrasting moods and pianistic characters. Far from being Impressionist - a movement with which Ravel had little real affiliation -the 'Mirrors' of the title suggests more Symbolist associations in that the individual pieces explore ambiguities between supposed reality and 'reflected' simulation. Ravel was particularly fascinated by a line from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: 'the eye sees not itself, but by reflection, by some other things.' An unusually non-descriptive work for Messiaen, without religious references or bird- song, Canteyodjaya is about musical process and is constructed as a mosaic-like collage in which a jaunty rhythmic refrain is contrasted with a multiplicity of contrasting ideas, many of which are re-workings from his gargantuan Turangalila-Symphonie.

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Listening CDs are traditional music recordings. Listening CDs make a great educational supplement - hear exceptional professionals play the music you're learning! Or, just enjoy listening to the music you love.

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