Photo: Brandon Patoc

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Review: Messiaen, ‘Poèmes pour Mi’

19th September, 2017

One of the things I appreciate about the Seattle Symphony’s self-produced discography is how heavily it inclines toward rare and underserved repertoire — not just John Luther Adams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning orchestral tone poem “Become Ocean,” which won the orchestra a Grammy, but also a range of other music by composers as diverse as Dutilleux, Ives and Alexander Raskatov. The latest release, led with vigor and suavity by Music Director Ludovic Morlot, is devoted to the music of Messiaen, and it’s a doozy. It features the early song cycle “Poèmes pour Mi,” a love offering for the composer’s first wife in which (for neither the first nor the last time) he commingled the themes of sexual and religious ecstasy. Soprano Jane Archibald, well remembered here from her time as an Adler Fellow, delivers a performance of precision and searing intensity. “Trois petites liturgies de la Présence Divine,” sung by the Northwest Boychoir, makes a radiant companion piece.

 

6 September 2017
Joshua Kosman / San Francisco Chronicle