CD reviews – Messiaen Des canyons aux étoiles

In March 2015 the LPO released a rare recording of Messiaen's extraordinary Des canyons aux étoiles. Recorded live in concert in 2013, and conducted by Messiaen expert Christoph Eschenbach, this performance has received brilliant reviews in the press.

‘Evoking Utah landscapes and birdsong, the music is at once minutely specialized and a veritable song of the earth. The ornithological shrilling of “Omao, leiothrix, elepaio, shama” is so lifelike, I had to check that it wasn’t a tape. The horn’s five-minute solo, Interstellar Call, is another kind of prodigy.’
The Sunday Times, 22 February 2015

‘An extraordinary achievement ... the playing of the LPO is exemplary, with special plaudits for the horn playing of John Ryan’
‘The intensity, the complex cross-rhythms, and the sheer excitement of the performance are well captured.’
BBC Radio 3 CD Review, 28 February 2015

'This live performance has a fine solo pianist in Tzimon Barto, virtuoso horn playing from John Ryan, and Christoph Eschenbach conducting a London Philharmonic Orchestra on fine form. The recording ... captures a glittering myriad of detail.' (4 stars)
Financial Times, 7 March 2015

‘The way in which the component parts of Des canyons aux étoiles are so graphically defined and combined together as a mysterious, imposing paean to Nature that makes this interpretation so riveting. It is a performance that serves as a reminder that Messiaen described this elemental score as “a work of praise and contemplation”.’
Gramophone, May 2015

‘Messiaen enthusiasts and lovers of twentieth-century music don’t need to hesitate over acquiring this expertly played and recorded release on LPO.’
MusicWeb International Review, 23 March 2015

‘Tzimon Barto finds poetry and percussion in the solo piano role. Principal horn John Ryan stuns in the “Appel interstellaire”, one of the greatest orchestral horn solos. There's soft string playing to die for in the exquisite eighth movement … An excellent, reasonably priced introduction to a masterpiece.'
The Arts Desk, May 2015

‘The playing of both the named soloists and the rest of the ensemble is astonishingly accomplished. This is a brave choice of repertoire for the LPO to issue on their own label and I hope that their enterprise is rewarded.’
MusicWeb International, May 2015

'The London Philharmonic Orchestra negotiates the many challenges of this masterpiece with aplomb.'
BBC Music Magazine, July 2015

‘The full forces of the modern symphony orchestra are supplemented with four soloists: Tzimon Barto (piano), John Ryan (horn), Andrew Barclay (xylorimba) and Erika Öhman (glockenspiel), all of whom rise to the occasion. Highly recommended.’
The Whole Note, Summer 2015

The CD is priced £10.99 and is available from the LPO website, Amazon or as a download from iTunes.