Capturing birdsong - the exotic world of Messiaen

Vladimir Jurowski interviewed about Messiaen's obsession with birdsong (December 2014)


At the start of this podcast, the London Philharmonic Orchestra's Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski discusses early works by Rachmaninoff, Scriabin and Szymanowski, performed as part of the LPO's Rachmaninoff: Inside Out series.

The French composer Olivier Messiaen developed an obsession for birdsong that would span his career.  From the 1950s onward, Messiaen incorporated birdsong into most of his compositions, later travelling to seek out and transcribe the song of exotic birds in the wild.  The first of his major works to focus on birdsong, Oiseaux exotiques for solo piano and an ensemble of woodwind, brass and percussion is a musical exploration of birds which Messiaen heard on recordings and in private aviaries in and around Paris.  Vladimir Jurowski explores this work, and how Messiaen tamed the freedom of pitch and rhythm in birdsong to allow it to be notated for classical orchestral performance.

The recently released album of Shostkovich Symphonies Nos. 6 and 14 on the LPO Label was chosen as Recording of the Month in BBC Music Magazine's November 2014 edition.  Listen to an excerpt of the recording on this podcast.

Featured recording:
Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 6 and 14 conducted by Vladimir Jurowski (BBC Music Magazine recording of the month, November 2014)
LPO-0080 £9.99