To make his music correspond to his cosmology, Olivier Messiaen drew on Roman Catholic mysticism, bird songs, serial techniques, and Indian rhythms, and the combination of these diverse elements resulted in some of the most ecstatic music composed in the twentieth century. Yet Messiaen's esoteric works may seem abstruse and slightly mad unless sympathetic performers make them intelligible through meticulous execution and give them vitality through propulsive rhythms and sonorous timbres. The pianists on this disc are indeed sympathetic, and Messiaen's visions are convincingly conveyed by Paul Kim and his son Matthew Kim. An established authority on Messiaen's keyboard music, Paul Kim has recorded the complete works for piano for Centaur, and Vol. 3 of this set features the immense duet Visions de l'Amen, and two shorter solo works, Études (4) de rhythme and Cantéyodjayâ. Matthew joins his father on Visions de l'Amen, and the two are precise and passionately involved. Their interlocking parts produce the rich, ringing harmonies and staggered rhythms that are hallmarks of Messiaen's unique sound. In the fantastically difficult Études (4) de rhythme and the hypnotic Cantéyodjayâ, the elder Kim displays his acumen and his astonishing technique, and pushes the piano to its limits. Centaur's excellent sound captures the full brilliance of the Kims' impressive performances.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Visions de l'Amen for 2 pianos, I/25|
|Études de rhythme (4), for piano solo, I/32-35|