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Album review: Gloria Cheng, The Edge of Light: Messiaen/Saariaho (Harmonia Mundi)


Written when he was just 20, Olivier Messiaen's Préludes are a series of piano pieces whose enigmatic, introspective, sometimes quixotic manner reflected the influence of Debussy and Satie, as well as the towering impact of Chopin.

The latter's way with nocturnal melancholy is reflected in pieces such as “Chant d'extase dans un Paysage Triste” and “Cloches d'angoisse et Larmes d'adieu”. Kaija Saariaho's more recent “Prelude” and “Ballade” share the mysterious air and uncertain direction of the Messiaen works in this performance by Gloria Cheng, who's joined by the Calder Quartet for “Je Sens un Deuxième Coeur”. It's the most dramatically realised work here.

Download: La Colombe; Chant d'extase dans un Paysage Triste; Je Sens un Deuxième Coeur