A palpable reality
Gillian Weir plays Messiaen -
and ROBERT ANDERSON
'... exciting fidelity ...'
Gillian Weir's Messiaen intégrale came out in 1994, and
this first evidence of a reissue by Priory is both a coup for the
company and a reminder of Dame Gillian's magisterial achievement, that had
the unstinted approval of the composer above all. The three works date from
Messiaen's twenties, and indeed Le banquet céleste was written
before his appointment to La Trinité in 1931. He remained organist
of the church for more than sixty years. Built by Théodore Ballu,
who became Inspector General of Parisian architecture, the church was his
major undertaking apart from the restoration of the Hotel de Ville destroyed
by the mob during the Commune. He had previously completed the unfinished
church of Ste. Clotilde, associated equally strongly with César Franck.
La Trinité was a Second Empire church designed for a fashionable
congregation, with theatrical decoration and a porch campanile as main exterior
feature. From the beginning it had a Cavaillé-Coll organ, which survives
as modestly modified by Messiaen. Gillian Weir's recordings were made on
the Cathedral organ of Århus in Denmark, an instrument that seemed
to fulfil Messiaen's essential demand for power combined with clarity. The
Århus reeds were imported from France.
Copyright © 29 January 2003
Robert Anderson, London, UK