Saturday, 10 September 2016

Further again from real Messiaen!

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As regular readers will know, my mother and brother love to satirise Olivier Messiaen’s amazing piano works like Catalog d‘Oiseaux, Visions de l‘Amen and Vingt Regards sur l‘Enfant Jésus. The amazing skill playing real Messiaen takes is entirely disregarded, and their inability to understand the extremely complex rhythms and melodies of the music means they resort to crude criticism of calling it equivalent to “a cat playing the piano”, although it is true that several others listeners have said exactly the same thing about Messiaen.

Recently, however, my brother has gone even further with his Messiaen satirisation, saying that a dog playing the piano is the best new Messiaen recording!
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In fact, although dogs are more intelligent than cats, there is no way they could play something so difficult even for a highly trained pianist as Catalog d‘Oiseaux with any sort of training. Nor could that dog know what “Messiaen” actually means! More than that, if a cat’s playing the piano sounds – when listened to carefully – in no way like a real performance of any Messiaen piano piece, and is much more clearly different from such even than a cat playing the piano. (Of course, I must emphatically emphasise that a cat playing the piano has no sonic resemblance whatsoever to actual Messiaen piano works).

When my brother said it was a new Messiaen work, I laughed loud. The best wish for all who cannot understand Messiaen is not to satirise but to try, even if they (as my mother and brother do) detest the objectives of the cultural milieu of which Messiaen’s work is part (partly because I talk about a much more gory and unsavory part thereof).

1 comment:

pp said...

Hi Julien - I posted last week but my comment didn't appear - anyway I was just saying that I agree with Jonjo and mummy!