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Prom 27: Messiaen

August 6, 2008

Did I actually say I couldn’t wait for the next one? Yes. Yes I did.

The gig started off well. It was interesting to hear Messiaen’s L’Ascension again. The version I’d heard before was an organ arrangement played by Olivier Latry close to the beginning of the season.

This evening’s arrangement was specifically for orchestra. It took me by surprise initially, not because of Messiaen’s “sound”, but more how much of it I recognised. At that concert I was coming to it fresh. Tonight it felt as though it was comfortably familiar.

More than that, I reckon I actually quite enjoy Messiaen’s music. It’s far more romantic than I remember it being when I was at college. Back then it felt sharp and squeaky and unpleasant. Now it feels like I’m discovering a composer for the first time and wishing I’d done it before. It may be a little early to say I’m a Messiaen convert, but I did find myself looking through the programme notes making a note of all the other concerts his music features in.

Sadly, I didn’t stick around for the second half tonight. There are sheets to be washed and a bathroom to sluice down ahead of a very special visit from a pal who’s on stage tomorrow night. I’ll catch what I missed of Prom 27 on iPlayer and report back later.

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