Monthly Archives: June 2013

Messiaen: Turangalîla Symphony

‘The Messiaen Monster’, ridiculed by critics at its premiere—in the best tradition of works of genius—is now ‘established as one of the most astonishing classics of the twentieth century’, as Nigel Simeone writes in the booklet of this brilliant new release. The joyful generosity of the orchestral writing and kaleidoscopic nature of the musical invention make Turangalîla one of Messiaen’s most characteristic and appealing works, considered by many to be his masterpiece. As well as the distinctive sound of the ondes martenot, the other striking feature is the virtuoso piano part—it is in some ways a concerto, although the sheer scale of the orchestral contribution belies that specific title. Rarely has it been more explosively performed than here, with an acknowledged living master of Messiaen’s piano music, Steven Osborne, at the keyboard.

Hyperion Records

Reviews | Tracks


1 Introduction [6’03]
2 Chant d’amour 1 [8’06]
3 Turangalîla 1 [5’49]
4 Chant d’amour 2 [10’24]
5 Joie du sang des étoiles [6’42]
6 Jardin du sommeil d’amour [12’41]
7 Turangalîla 2 [3’40]
8 Développement de l’amour [11’33]
9 Turangalîla 3 [4’32]
10 Final [7’30]

Juanjo Mena closes the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s season with a flourish

Following his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2011, Juanjo Mena returned this year to lead the season’s closing concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on the 30th of May. Mena conducted works by Mozart and Brahms, which were enthusiastically received by the audience and the press.

A rave review in the Los Angeles Times, for example, noted:

“Juanjo Mena made his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut at the Hollywood Bowl in 2011. Clearly he was good enough to get a return engagement, so Mena, now 47, went indoors Thursday night and led some very impressive Mozart and Brahms in Walt Disney Concert Hall to close the 2012-13 season. (…) For Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, Mena – again working without a score – produced a markedly different texture, velvety yet clear, with the right voices brought forth at the right times, the emotion in the music pouring out without exaggeration. No matter how many times one has heard the symphony’s opening melody, Mena’s shaping made it sound fresh and moving again – and that’s a real achievement”.

The full review is available at the Los Angeles Times.

Original photo: Ricardo DeAratanha, Los Angeles Times.

“Juanjo Mena conquers America”, in El Correo

El Correo has just published an interview with conductor Juanjo Mena. In it Mena talks about his recent conducting appearances in the United States and the renewal of his contract with the BBC Philharmonic for another three years.Juanjo Mena en Los Angeles

César Coca‘s article opens with:

Five years after leaving the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra, Juanjo Mena has conquered America. The native of Álava will close the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s season as guest conductor with a concert at the Walt Disney Hall, designed by Frank O. Gehry. It is the last of a four-concert series and the Los Angeles Times critic who attended Thursday’s concert heaped praise on the performance, going so far as to say that the ensemble reminded him of the era when Carlo Maria Giulini led the LA Philharmonic. Over the past few months, Mena has taken the podium to conduct the orchestras of Chicago, Boston, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, and during the next few months he will appear with several other major orchestras in the United States. During all this, he continues to lead the BBC Philharmonic as chief conductor, a position that has been renewed for another three years.

The full interview is available in this PDF (no available online).