Messaien Turangalilia Symphony BBC Proms

National Youth Orchestra playing Messaien Trangalilia Symphony BBC Proms 

I recently saw a brilliant performance of Messaien’s Turangalila symphony on a BBC Proms Podcast. The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain was playing this incredibly difficult yet very exciting masterpiece conducted by the brilliant Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko . It has  two major soloists normally played by females,the original being the wife of Messaien on the Ondes Martinot and her sister playing the extremely difficult piano part. The Ondes Martinot is a most unusual electrical instrument designed in the 1920’s. It has a unique ethereal  sound which can be played aggressively or gently producing a unique haunting sound.  I have known this work from the late 1960’s when RCA published a recording with The Toronto Symphony conducted by Seiji Ozawa. I saw a live performance at the Festival Hall under Andre Previn in 1977 . It strikes me that once one gets the hang of it the symphony seems shorter! Anybody who has not yet heard this extraordinary piece should give it a try. It was composed in 1948, some 64 years ago.

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