Wednesday 30 May 2018
BBC Music Magazine Reviews Catalogue d'Oiseaux
"Aimard possesses the necessary dazzling virtuosity, but also the exceptionally broad palette of colour and timbral precision. In his hands, the opening of the gorgeous nocturne Alouette lulu' is a masterclass in balance, 'Le merle bleu' has an enthralling clearsighted beauty while there is visceral power to the explosions of joy in 'Le Traquet rieur'. "
Catalogue d'oiseaux should not work. From the deceptively bald title, via the disjunct between capturing the sounds of birds and evoking sights, smells and feelings, to its vast length and fearsome technical demands, Messiaen's grand ornithological cycle of 13 nature portraits for solo piano is an absurd proposition. And yet, he makes it work through sheer force of compositional personality. This is no dry listing, but a varied series of compelling musical dramas that become ever more fascinating on each re-acquaintance. Few are better acquainted than Pierre-Laurent Aimard, and this set is clearly a long-pondered act of love. Individual pieces appeared on earlier releases, but here the focus is exclusively, devotedly to the cycle as a whole, with no compulsion to include the later birdsong works.
[Check out the album here:]
Read the full review on BBC Music Magazine - June 2018 edition
Photo by Marco Borggreve