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Written for the pianist Yvonne Loriod, with whom Peter Donohoe studied in Paris, Cantéyodjayâ (1948) was first performed at the Concerts du Domaine Musical in 1954. With this highly energetic piece Messiaen embarked on a period of stylistic experimentation that followed completion of his gargantuan Turangalîla-Symphonie. An unusually non-descriptive work for Messiaen, without religious references or birdsong, Cantéyodjayâ is about musical process and is constructed as a mosaic-like collage in which a jaunty rhythmic refrain is juxtaposed with a multiplicity of contrasting ideas, many of which are re-workings from Turangalîla. While representing something new in Messiaen’s output, this collage-principle owes much to Musorgsky’s Pictures as well as to Debussy’s ballet Jeux where contrasted and related ideas follow each other as a chain of different coloured beads. Although aspects of sonata and rondo form are embedded in the work, the piece unfolds by repetition and alternation more than true development. Like the many pseudo-Sanskrit words sprinkled throughout the score, the title is Messiaen’s own Franco-Sanskrit invention—a cipher for the Indian rhythms that abound in the music. Of the several slower sections in the work, two are entitled ‘Alba’ in reference both to the dawn love-song of the Troubadours and the love themes in Messiaen’s so-called ‘Tristan’ works of the 1940s; here the percussive clusters in the bass are borrowed from the ‘Princess de Bali’ movement from Jolivet’s Mana—a work Messiaen deeply admired. The energy and propulsion of Cantéyodjayâ is enhanced by moments of reflective stillness and include a compositionally virtuosic six-part canon that generates a whirlwind cadenza leading to the reappearance of the refrain at the work’s conclusion.

from notes by Caroline Rae © 2019


Musorgsky: Pictures from an exhibition; Ravel: Miroirs; Messiaen: Cantéyodjayâ
Studio Master: SIGCD566Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 21 on SIGCD566 [12'22] Download only

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD566 track 21

Recording date
16 April 2018
Recording venue
Cedars Hall, Wells Cathedral School, Somerset, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Nicholas Parker
Recording engineer
Mike Hatch & James Waterhouse
Hyperion usage
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