Olivier Messiaen, Livre du Saint Sacrement


The Book of the Holy Sacrement is Olivier Messiaaen’s last work for organ.
Written in 1984, when the composer had just finished his opera “Saint Francis of Assisi”, it is a work of synthesis, the summing up of over sixty years of intimacy with the organ.
It contains eighteen movements of varying length (from two to fifteen minutes) and its overall duration is around two hours.

All the essential components of Messiaen’s art are united in the score: Gregorian monody, birdsong, modes, communicable language. These are magnified with acuteness and realism, with fervour and a fascinating force, a true reflection of the scope organ of Saint Ouen. The instrument, remarkably captured here, is haloed in an acoustic of mystery, which is indispensable to the perception by the senses of such a work.

“The ideal partnership: Susan Landale and Messiaen – as we have known for a long time - are in musical and spiritual communion; Susan Landale and the Cavaillé Coll of Rouen are also in incomparably perfect complicity. The result is simply the most sumptuous and captivating version there is of the” Livre du Saint Sacrement”.  Under the fingers of Susan Landale, this difficult and complex work reveals an accessibility which accentuates, in a bewitching and spectacular fashion, its innumerable beauties.
One hardly dares to say it, but this eighth recording of the complete “Livre” on CD is almost synonymous with the discovery of the work…..  Admirable !
(Michel Roubinet: Diapason)

“Susan Landale gives a virtuoso performance of the great, incantation-like pieces; and lends poetry to the simpler, meditative pages, immersed in rich harmonic radiance”.
(Patrice Szernowicz: Le Monde de la Musique).




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