Olivier Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphonie (1946-8) is a ten-movement large scale orchestral work inspired by the Tristan and Isolde myth and the themes of romantic love and death, with important parts for piano, ondes Martenot and pitched and unpitched percussion. Messiaen derived the title from the Sanskrit words turanga ('time', 'movement' or 'rhythm') and lîla ('pastime', 'sport' or 'play').
The work was commissioned by Serge Koussevitzky for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, giving the composer complete freedom to decide the duration, instrumentation and style. Due to Koussevitzky's illness, the premiere was given by the young Leonard Bernstein in Boston on 2 December 1949. Yvonne Loriod (who later married Messiaen) played the piano part, and Ginette Martenot the ondes Martenot.
CD Spotlight. Tristan, Isolde and God Almighty - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Olivier Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony. 'On this rendering, British conductor Alexander Soddy handles very well the Nationaltheater Orchester of Mannheim, where he is general director of music, and the two soloists, Tamara Stefanovich at the piano and Thomas Bloch at the Ondes Martinot.'
CD Spotlight. Imaginative and Profound - Olivier Messiaen's 'Turangalîla-Symphonie', heard by Keith Bramich. '... a vibrant, sparkling performance ...'
CD Spotlight. Aching Beauty - Messiaen's 'Turangalîla-Symphonie', heard by Stephen Francis Vasta. '... vibrant, almost hesitant strings ...'