La Fauvette Passerinette: a Messiaen premiere, with birds, landscapes & homages

Peter Hill (piano)

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In 2012, leading pianist and Messiaen scholar Peter Hill made a remarkable discovery among the composer’s papers: several pages of tightly written manuscript from 1961, constituting a near-complete and hitherto unknown work for piano. Hill was able to fill in some missing dynamics and articulations by consulting Messiaen’s birdsong notebooks, and gave the work’s first public performance in the autumn of 2013. Here, then, he follows his acclaimed Bach recordings for Delphian with a return to the music in which he first made his reputation, setting this glittering addition to Messiaen’s piano output in the context both of the composer’s own earlier work and of music by the many younger composers on whom Messiaen was a profound influence – from Stockhausen and Takemitsu to George Benjamin, who like Hill himself worked closely with the composer in the years before his death.

‘A hugely rewarding and important disc’
— The Guardian, October 2014

‘Hill has devised a fascinating sequence to contextualise this first recording of an 11-minute virtuoso piece he discovered in Messiaen’s posthumous papers … as performed here, [it] is bitingly fresh and chattery, plausibly ornithological’
— Sunday Times, November 2014

‘Hill places the new work within an exceptionally well-crafted recital in which Messiaen’s music is a recurrent thread in a span of resonances, influences and affinities … Whether in Dutilleux or Peter Sculthorpe, Murail or Takemitsu, Hill’s provides a masterclass in capturing a composer’s idiom with warmth and humanity’
— BBC Music Magazine, December 2014, FIVE STARS

‘What a discovery! La Fauvette Passerinette is a stunning 11-minute piano solo — joyous, syncopated and virtuosic’
— The Times, November 2014

‘Hill’s realisation forms a rewarding substantial centrepiece to this outstanding recital disc … The appeal of the disc is greatly enhanced by the exceptional quality of the recording, with every facet of Hill’s uncompromisingly extensive expressive range vividly captured’
— Gramophone, December 2014

‘He knows how to make a sound like bronze, like those pianists from before the first world war. There it is: you’re hooked … the depth of his sound, the kaleidoscope of attacks, the intelligence of the pedalling are unfailing.’
— Diapason, April 2015

  • Recording venue(s): Reid Concert Hall, University of Edinburgh
  • Recording dates: 23 March & 6 April 2014
  • Physical format: Jewel case
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Number of tracks: 16
  • Total playing time: 1:18:55
  • Album ID: DCD34141

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