Magazine article Gramophone

Delbos * Messiaen:. 'Pour Mi'

Magazine article Gramophone

Delbos * Messiaen:. 'Pour Mi'

Article excerpt

Delbos * Messiaen

'Pour Mi'

Delbos L'ame en bourgeon

Messiaen Poemes pour Mi. Trois Melodies

Liv Elise Nordskog sop Signe Bakke pf

LAWO Classics [F] [SACD] LWC1051 (52' * DDD/DSD * T)

Messiaen's song-cycle Poemes pour Mi and his first wife Claire Delbos's L'ame en bourgeon were premiered in the same Paris concert in 1937. Reuniting these works on disc for the first time is the fascinating premise for this recording by the Norwegian soprano Liv Elise Nordskog and pianist Signe Bakke.

The connections between the cycles go further: Delbos sets a collection of poems by Cecile Sauvage--Messiaen's mother--written while she was pregnant with her son. Delbos's setting was composed while she herself was pregnant with her own child, at the same time as Messiaen was writing the song-cycle inspired by his wife and given her own pet-name of 'Mi'.

Biographically this makes for beautiful programming but musically it's also a fascinating pairing. The textural drama of Messiaen's cycle--by turns wilfully ugly ('Epouvante') and delicately inscrutable ('Ta voix') give way to the melodic unfolding of Delbos's songs--sustained and lyrical, even in their moments of extremity. …

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