Renowned French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard kicks off his exclusive engagement to PENTATONE with a recording of Olivier Messiaen’s Catalogue d’Oiseaux (1956-1958). The pianist had intimate ties to the composer himself and his wife, Yvonne Loriod, for whom Messiaen wrote the Catalogue. Praised by The Guardian as “one of the best Messiaen interpreters around,” this is Aimard’s first recording of Messiaen’s most extensive, demanding and colourful piano composition. The luxurious CD box set contains an accompanying bonus DVD, on which Aimard shares his vast knowledge of and love for Messiaen’s work from behind the piano. Due to its radical naturalism, the Catalogue d’Oiseaux is exceptional within the repertoire for solo piano. It is the grand hymn to nature from a man who never ceased to marvel at the stupefying beauty of landscapes or the magic of bird song. With his Catalogue, Messiaen tried - in his own words - “to render exactly the typical birdsong of a region, surrounded by its neighbours from the same habitat, as well as the form of song at different hours of the day and night,” suggesting an almost scientific approach to his subjects. The idea of ‘reproduction’ may have been central to Messiaen’s conception of the Catalogue d’Oiseaux, but in the finished work we hear a great composer at work, a master of innovative structures who finds an astonishing range of piano sonorities. In a world that is increasingly being destructed by man, Aimard views this cycle as “a musical refuge that resonates with an audience ever more concerned, expanded and affected.”
"Aimard’s interpretations are anything but tame. His dynamic range is formidable, his voicing of chords scrupulously faithful, his clarity unimpeachable. It’s hard to imagine the textures having greater impact or precision, or the continuity and discontinuity being projected with greater concentration…Not a single sound emerges with indifference."
Gramophone Magazine April 2018
"...elk deel is een verhaal dat zich logisch ontvouwt en dat zoveel melodische en harmonische richting meekrijgt dat het een feest voor het oor wordt. Aimard gaat hier voorbij Loriod en levert met deze prestatie de referentieopname van dit moment. Ook de bonus-dvd met een vijftig minuten durende documentaire rond het werk is de moeite meer dan waard."
LUISTER magazine 732