Review By David Hurwitz,ClassicsToday.com,January 2009
"Magnificent! Antoni Wit's new recording of Messiaen's phantasmagoric Turangalila Symphony may lack the extreme orchestral virtuosity of versions by Previn, Chailly, or Salonen, but it beats them all in sheer musicality and fidelity to the composer's minutely specified instructions. Consider three quick examples. First, virtually all performances make a huge pause before the introduction of the 'flower' theme, but Wit notices that Messiaen has indicated only a brief comma, or 'breath pause'. Second, all three alternative versions listed above play the finale at close to the tempo of the fifth movement 'Joy of the Blood of the Stars', though Messiaen's designation for this movement is 'Moderately, almost lively, with great joy.'
Following the score along with this performance is an incredible delight. Wit ensures that Messiaen's rhythms sound with exceptional clarity: the interplay of woodblock, maracas, cymbals, tambourine, drums, and chimes never has made more musical sense. He balances the textural complexities of the three 'love song' movements, especially 'Development of Love', with a supernatural sense of where the primary melodic threads lie. The fulsome, swooning, lyrical themes have just the right ecstatic intensity, the Ondes Martenot adding its characteristically sexy voice without undue spotlighting, thereby avoiding blatant vulgarity. And yet, as the Fifth movement clearly shows, Wit can whip up as big a frenzy as