KAIJA SAARIAHO (b.1952): Prelude and Ballade for Piano (First Recordings), Je sens un deuxième cœure for Piano, Viola and Cello, OLIVIER MESSIAEN (1908-1992): 8 Préludes for Piano, Pièce for Piano and String Quartet.
Catalogue Number: 04O075
Label: Harmonia Mundi
Reference: HMU 907578
Description: Saariaho is not by any means primarily a piano composer, typically choosing the flexible colours and timbres of voice, winds and strings for her luminous, incandescent compositions. Having said which, these two fairly recent, six-minute pieces are as idiomatically pianistic (and virtuosically demanding) as one might wish. Surging, elemental gestures and shimmering effects in the higher registers instantly identify the composer; their translation into pianistic terms relates the pieces to the saturated, stained-glass colors of Messiaen. Scored for a darker-hued version of the standard piano trio, Je sens un deuxième cœur is related to Saariaho's opera Adriana Mater. Its five movements are strongly contrasted, with a potent narrative dramaturgy, an arc progressing from mysterious beginnings via violence and somber meditation to radiant hope. Calder Quartet, Gloria Cheng (piano).