Messiaen: Catalogue d’Oiseaux

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This album contains the Catalogue d’Oiseaux by Messiaen, presented by Piano Classics, a label of Brilliant Classics.

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French composer Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) was fascinated by birds and birdsong. On special expeditions he collected and notated the songs of birds in their natural habitat. Between 1956 and 1958 he incorporated his material in his cycle Catalogue d’Oiseaux, 13 pieces for piano solo. Each piece is written in honor of a French province. It bears the title of the bird-type of the region, and depicts the complete surroundings of the bird in question, the general atmosphere, the colours, the sounds, the temperature and the perfumes. Each piece is thus an evocation of the bird in its habitat.

Messiaen’s piano writing is highly original, not only in the imitation of the bird song but also in creating the atmospheres and the interaction between the two. In this sense the music transcends the picturesque and becomes a true work of art. Initially the extreme pianistic demands could only be met by Messiaen’s wife, pianist Yvonne Loriod, first performer and also dedicatee of the work.

Italian pianist Ciro Longobardi is a specialist in 20th century music, winner of the Gaudeamus Competition, and frequent guest at Contemporary Music Festivals.

Composer: Olivier Messiaen
Artist: Ciro Longobardi (piano)

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Catalogue d’oiseaux:
0:00:00 I. Le chocard des alpes
0:07:53 II. Le loriot
0:16:00 III. Le merle bleu
0:28:52 IV. Le traquet stapazin
0:42:52 V. La chouette hulotte
0:50:17 VI. L’alouette Lulu
0:57:04 VII. La rousserolle effarvatte
1:25:54 VIII. L’alouette calandrelle
1:31:09 IX. La bouscarle
1:41:30 X. Le merle de roche
1:59:45 XI. La buse variable
2:09:31 XII. Le traquet rieur
2:18:02 XIII. Le courlis cendré

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