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Preludes and Sonata of Messiaen and Shostakovich


Preludes and Sonata of Messiaen and Shostakovich / Michael Kieran Harvey, piano

  • Published by Move Records [MD3308] — 1 CD
  • Purchase Price: $22.73 (Usually ships in 1-6 days) — Add to Cart
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Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) and Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) were two of the greatest composers of the twentieth century. Both were remarkable in that they discovered their own unique and distinctive creative voice when they were in their teens and each was inspired by one of the two great 'religions' of the twentieth century, Catholicism and Communism respectively. Messiaen was a devout Catholic and his spirituality is a fundamental element of almost his entire creative output.

Shostakovich, three times a recipient of the Order of Lenin, was regarded as a champion of Communism When I heard the wonderful pianist Ayako Uehara perform the breathtakingly difficult Shostakovich Sonata during the 2000 Sydney International Piano Competition, I realised why I hadn't heard it live before, and also that I had to perform it. (It also stung me that as so often happens in competitions Ms Uehara's obvious imagination, creativity and daring went unrewarded, and as official ABC Classic FM commentator I said as much at the time). The important point to remember about this type of work is that the music only makes sense when one is playing in extremis, and makes a nonsense of the careful roboticism trotted out for so much classical music performance. Shostakovitch's message is urgent and raw, overflowing with intelligence and outrage. He himself played the work, which speaks volumes of his own pianistic prowess and recklessness, and it is very hard to imagine him pulling any punches in performance. Indeed, criticism of his playing concerns his "excitability", hardly something one can hold against him given the passionate material being dispatched. The enthusiasm of discovery, of finding a 12-tone system (all notes of the row are used in the first bar, just as in the Boulez 2nd sonata [1948]) to free his imagination stands as contrast with the obvious tonal gloom and irony of his later works. Hints of this ironic gloom and code - a result of charges of "formalism" directed at him and others by the detestable Union of Composers - are just discernibly emerging I think in the preludes.

- Michael Kieran Harvey


Track Listing

24 Preludes - Shostakovich

1 Moderato
2 Allegretto
3 Andante
4 Moderato
5 Allegro vivace
6 Allegretto
7 Andante
8 Allegretto
9 Presto
10 Moderato non troppo
11 Allegretto
12 Allegro non troppo
13 Moderato
14 Adagio
15 Allegretto
16 Andantino
17 Largo
18 Allegretto
19 Andantino
20 Allegretto furioso
21 Allegretto poco moderato
22 Adagio
23 Moderato
24 Allegretto

Preludes - Oliver Messiaen

25 La colombe
26 Chant d'extase dans un paysage triste
27 Le nombre leger
28 Instants defunts
29 Les sons impalpables du reve
30 Cloches d'angoisse et larmes d'adieu
31 Plainte calme
32 Un reflet dans le vent

Piano Sonata - Dmitri Shostakovich

33 Piano Sonata No. 1 in C, Op 12 (1926) - Dmitri Shostakovich

This CD is part of the Michael Kieran Harvey Collection


Press Quotes

“One of the most rewarding piano discs of the year”

— Tony Way, The Age Green Guide

“Insightful, powerful performances”

— Katarina Kroslakova, The Saturday Age - Limelight Magazine

“As we've com to expect, Michael Kieran Harvey's performances of all these works are astounding ... Highly recommended”

— Michael Hannan, MCA Music Forum Feb 2007

“Here is yet another remarkable testament to Harvey's skill and musical insight”

— Clive O'Connell, The Saturday Age

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