Christina & Michelle Naughton – Messiaen, Bach, Adams: Visions (2016) [Qobuz FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Messiaen, Bach, Adams – Visions – Christina & Michelle Naughton (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:01:34 minutes | 850 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Booklet, Front Cover | © Warner Classics
Recorded: 9–12 June 2015, Fraser Performance Studio, WGBH, Boston

Visions is the first Warner Classics release from piano duo Christina and Michelle Naughton. Each of them is a prizewinning alumna of two of the USA’s elite conservatories, the Curtis Institute and the Juilliard School. Praised by the San Francisco Examiner for their “stellar musicianship, technical mastery, and awe-inspiring artistry,” they show great imagination in their programming: Visions unites works by Olivier Messiaen, John Adams and J.S. Bach, which the sisters feel are all expressions of joy.

The twin-sister duo of Christina and Michelle Naughton have made a deep splash since graduating from the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and coming on the scene in 2008. They’ve recorded conventional duo-piano repertory and succeeded through sheer charisma, but they break through to a new level with this innovatively programmed album that takes its title from its opening work, Messiaen’s ecstatic Visions de l’amen (Visions of Amen), composed in 1943. This is one of Messiaen’s epic works of the World War II years, perhaps less often heard than the likes of Vingt regards sur l’enfant-Jésus due to its unusual genre, and the Naughton sisters absolutely blow it away with a rare combination of technical brilliance and deep musical communion. Sample the finale, “Amen de la Consommation” (track 7), for an amazing bit of spiritual intensity from artists so young. The entr’acte, an arrangement of “Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeir” from Bach’s Cantata No. 106, is a lovely, static nod to the sisters’ traditional training, and then it’s on to John Adams’ rollicking and thoroughly enjoyable Hallelujah Junction, which somehow fits perfectly with the sisters’ pop-star images. Beautifully recorded at a studio at Boston’s WGBH radio, this is one of the most satisfying duo piano recordings in recent memory. –AllMusic Review by James Manheim


Olivier Messiaen 1908–1992

Visions de l’Amen for two pianos
1 I. Amen de la Création 5.23
2 II. Amen des étoiles, de la planète à l’anneau 5.05
3 III. Amen de l’agonie de Jésus 7.20
4 IV. Amen du Désir 9.48
5 V. Amen des Anges, des Saints, du chant des oiseaux 7.28
6 VI. Amen du Jugement 2.52
7 VII. Amen de la Consommation 6.20
Johann Sebastian Bach 1685–1750
Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit, BWV 106 “Actus Tragicus”
8 I. Sonatina 3.01
John Adams b.1947
Hallelujah Junction
9 I. 6.41
10 II. 2.15
11 III. 5.22

Christina & Michelle Naughton, pianos