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La Vallee des Cloches - Ravel, Takemitsu & Messiaen

Compact Disc (Audio)
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La Vallee des Cloches - Ravel, Takemitsu & Messiaen
La Vallee des Cloches - Ravel, Takemitsu & Messiaen


Momo Kodma's first ECM New Series album is a marvel, a mesmerizing journey from the shimmering surfaces of Miroirs, Ravel's piano cycle of 1904-45 to Messiaen's Fauvette des jardins (written in 1970), a late masterpiece of piano music from the visionary composer. Kodama's insights into Messiaen's sound-world are remarkable as she conveys his religious feeling for nature, birdsong transformed into spiritual utterance, through the compelling, insistent piano figures.

Linking these two pieces like a walkway is Toru Takemitsu's Rain Tree Sketch (1982), music from the East informed by Western experiment. "Its opening bars" writes Hans-Klaus Jungheinrich in the liner notes, "evoke not only the rapturous crystalline chord progressions of Messiaen, but also the flashing, glittering sophistication of Ravel."

Kodama has a personal perspective on dialogues of Orient and Occident. Born in Osaka, she spent her early childhood in Germany, moving to France at 13 to enter the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique in Paris. Later there were studies with great pianists including Murray Perahia, András Schiff, and Tatiana Nikolayeva. At 19, Momo Kodama was the Munich International Competition's youngest prize winner.

A major part of Momo Kodama's performance schedule is dedicated to contemporary music, and Messiaen has been a special focus. In 2006, at the urging of Yvonne Loriod-Messiaen, she premiered, with Isabelle Faust, Messiaen's Fantasie for violin and piano, a piece written in 1933 but never previously performed, and in the Messiaen centenary year 2008 she received awards in Japan for a concert series dedicated to the composer. Her recordings of Vingt regards sur l'enfant-Jésus and Catalogue d'Oiseaux for Triton have received high critical acclaim.

Personnel: Momo Kodama (piano)


  1. Name
  2. Maurice Ravel: Miroirs, Noctuelles
  3. Oiseaux tristes
  4. Une barque sur l'océan
  5. Alborada del gracioso
  6. La vallée des cloches
  7. Toru Takemitsu: Rain Tree Sketch
  8. Olivier Messiaen: La fauvette des jardins
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