Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Erin Heisel
American Record Guide, January 2016

The songs are brilliant, harmonically ambitious, melodically difficult, and captivating. Hyldig is terrific. I like Bruun’s energy and wish her high notes had more shimmer. It’s noticeably lacking from an otherwise great recording.  © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Christopher Dingle
BBC Music Magazine, December 2015

Two song cycles of the 1930s here give an insight into Messiaen the man. Both were inspired by his impassioned love for Claire Delbos, his first wife, and the ‘Mi’ of Poèmes pour Mi. The first cycle from 1936 is an idiosyncratic, sacramental celebration of their marriage, while their year-old son Pascal also features in Chants de terre et de ciel from 1938. Though profoundly lyrical songs, their intensity of emotion and Messiaen’s unabashed blend of the autobiograhical and theological makes for a heady brew not usually associated with the mélodie.

[Messiaen’s] ideal voice was not that of a fragile Melisande, but of the Wagnerian Marcelle Bunlet, who sang Kundry and Isolde at Bayreuth. Hetna Regitze Bruun may not have sung those roles, but her beauty of tone is matched by the richness and power needed for these remarkable works. Bruun floats effortlessly in the melismatic alleluias of ‘Action de graces’ from Poèmes pour Mi or the wordless Vocalise-etude tucked between the two cycles, yet brings searing radiance to the closing ‘Resurrection’ of Chants de terre et de ciel. © 2015 BBC Music Magazine

Christian Carey, October 2015

…this is an impressive disc of Messiaen’s vocal music that reminds us of the prodigious feats he was capable of even early on in his career. © 2015 Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, October 2015

All three works get nicely impassioned, bloomingly singing readings. Hetna Regitze Bruun has a beautiful voice that seems just right for this music; Kristoffer Hyldig gives us intelligently flowing realizations of the piano part.

This is music that bears the highly original stamp of the melodic-harmonic ways of Messiaen in the first phase of his career. They are expressive but not romantic, modally and rhythmically alive, filled with lightness and air in a post-impressionist way, with text-setting and melismatic passages of a highly effective sort, and lushly carpeted piano complexities that all serve to make this music highly original, like no other. © 2015 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Stephen Smoliar, September 2015

…this recording provides excellent preparation for those not yet acquainted with Messiaen’s later works. © 2015 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2015

Poèmes pour Mi marked the beginning of the golden era in the career of Olivier Messiaen, and follows his marriage to Claire Delbos, affectionally nicknamed, Mi. It also coincided with his discovery of an idyllic summer holiday home at Petichet where he was compose all of his song cycles. This first one of nine songs, published in two books, has words reflecting his love for Claire and his new ‘home’. The opening Action de graces (Thanksgiving), is the only one of length, the writing for voice both technically demanding and falling most awkwardly on the soprano range. One would be tempted to say that Messiaen had no regard for those problems as was writing just as he wanted. Chants de Terre et de Ciel (Songs of Earth and Heaven) came two years later in 1938, the content covering a much wider range of emotions, though Mi plays a major role in the six songs. In both scores the piano at times plays an uncommonly reticent role, so that the sudden outburst in the third song, Dance du bébé-Pilule, is all the more surprising. The disc also includes the short, Vocalise-Etude, a wordless showpiece completed in 1935. The critical response to the previous Messiaen release from the Danish soprano, Hetna Regitze Bruun resulted in international awards (Naxos 8.572189), and she is excellently partnered by the Danish pianist, Kristoffer Nyholm Hyldig. The disc recorded in the UK has both artists closely microphoned, and gives high impact. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group