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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Of God, 10 Mar 2012
This review is from: Messiaen: Vingt regards sur l' enfant Jesus (Audio CD)
In the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Mr Tumnus says to Lucy: "Don't worry. We'll see Aslan again." Lucy: "When?" Mr. Tumnus: "In time. One day he'll be here and the next he won't. But you must not press him. After all, he's not a tame lion."

This is wisdom. As Australia's leading neo-platonist (truth to tell, there ain't a lot of competition), I am always edgy when someone says, "God wants me to reduce my cholesterol," or "God is angry with Showboat Billy Clinton" or "God hates the United Nations." What do such flimsy statements actually mean? What can one possibly predicate of the One? Heidegger warned us it was dangerous even to say, "He is" as it detracts from a realm of Pure Being. Yes: to anthropomorphize God is to consign Him to oblivion. And yet on the other side of the equation, we have the great mystery of the Incarnation: "et Verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis" - and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.

To my mind, Messiaen's Twenty Visions of the Infant Jesus is an astounding attempt to resolve these tensions. All of the composer's trademarks - bells and birds, constellations and Christ-Childs - are interwoven into this visionary statement. It says something about the deep intelligibility of this music that a Metternich such as yours truly can appreciate this master tapestry in all of its wildness. Above all, this is a God who is inexpressible, infinite and yet intimately involved with Creation. If I may highlight three of the twenty movements: one enters into a state of complete `Otherness' with the introductory `Regard du Père' (the Gaze of the Father). The Twelfth Vignette - La parole toute-puissantte (the All Powerful Word) is an illustration of `Aslan' at his most ferocious and unruly whereas the finale, Regard de l'Eglise d'amour (the gaze of the Church in love) is as celestially triumphant as the finale of the Bruckner Fifth.

This 1994 recording is in the demonstration class. Austbo plays with immense verve, sensitivity and éclat. Such be his mastery, it sounds like he has a full orchestra at his control rather than a Steinway.

Gun stuff, and the best introit into Messiaen.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Mar 2014 10:16:39 GMT
That's my kind of review - elliptic and embracing. Bravo sir!

Posted on 9 Mar 2014 20:13:51 GMT
Thanks mate and best wishes - B
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