In this imaginatively constructed programme, the Swedish pianist Fredrik Ullen juxtaposes music by Liszt and Messiaen, showing that there are closer parallels between them than might be expected. A significant role in both composers work was played by religious convictions, and three of the Liszt pieces included here are related to saints of the Catholic Church. Both men also ventured into unexplored musical territory, with Messiaen exploring bird song (which he described as an expression of religious joy) and Hindu rhythms, for instance in Canteyodjaya. Liszt in his later years would develop an austere musical style full of dissonance, whole-tone scales, diminished and augmented chords. One of the prime examples of this is Unstern! Sinistre, disastro.
'In a word, this is just the sort of insightful, intelligent and provocative offering we have come to expect from Fredrik Ullén, one of the more remarkable musicians before the public today… Warmly recommended.' --Patrick Rucker, International Record Review
'A striking juxtaposition... making an enterprising programme... [and] the results of Ullén's combinations are fascinating... [He] flits with ease between the worlds of the two composers. He brings poetry to both, plenty of flourishes and, for the tottering behemoth towards the end of "Canteyodjaya", as suitable swagger... This is a beautifully provocative recital.' --Christopher Dingle, BBC Music Magazine - Dec.'12