Charpentier: 72 Etudes Karnatiques

Album review
Charpentier: 72 Etudes Karnatiques


72 Etudes Karnatiques

Label: Genuin
Media: CD
Genre: Classical

Jacques Charpentier is a French composer (born in Paris in 1933) who adopted a musical-philosophical aesthetic derived from his mentor Olivier Messiaen: mystical, visionary, ecstatic, “Eastern,” cosmic. His 72 Etudes Karnatiques is an expression of deep devotion and conviction; he worked on this huge, three-hour cycle of rhapsodic piano studies based on ancient Hindu scalar modes for nearly thirty years (1957 to 1984). Its affinities with Messiaen arereadilyapparent:listenerswillfind a similarly dissonant-but-refulgent chromatic luxuriance and a comparably exalted synthesis of harmonic, rhythmic, and textural invention, glittering virtuosity, and kaleidoscopic exoticism. The etudes vary greatly in tempo, density, and figuration, contrasting prismatic roulades with long-lined melisma, but are consistent—indeed, relentless—in their fixation on otherworldly aspirations. Earthly concerns and human affections have no place here: Like Islam, this music requires submission. If you can grant it that, you may find its vistas of a timeless Infinite revelatory. Even if not you may succumb—at least for awhile—to its fantasy, color, pianistic resourcefulness, and sheer tonal splendor. Especially in Michael Schäfer’s magisterial renderings and Genuin’s gorgeous, you-are-there sonics. 

More Info

  • composer, Charpentier
  • primary artist, Michael Schaefer
  • CD

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