Olivier Messiaen ‘Cinq Rechants’


Cinq Rechants, for 12 singers (3 sopranos, 3 altos, 3 tenors, 3 basses), composed 1948.
Recorded 1967 by ‘Le Madrigal’ Ensemble, conducted by Jean-Paul Kreder

01 Hayo kapritama la li la li la li la ssaréno (04:20)
02 Ma première fois terre terre l’éventail déployé (02:53)
03 Ma robe d’amour mon amour ma prison d’amour (04:09)
04 Niokhamâ palalane sou-kî mon bouquet tout défait rayonne (02:08)
05 Mayoma kalimolimo tes yeux voyagent dans le passé (03:47)
Total time: 17:11


This was a free, not for sale mini-CD, given away by Philips in french record stores, 2002. The ‘Cinq Rechants’ (meaning 5 refrains) were composed 1948, as part of a Tristan and Isolde trilogy (the trilogy included Turangalîla-symphonie and the Harawi song cycle), when Messiaen’s first wife Claire Delbos (pictured above), was institutionalized for mental breakdown, until her death in 1959. The texts for the Cinq Rechants were created by Messiaen using quotations from Tristan’s french translations and pseudo-transcriptions from sanscrit, probably form books Messiaen had been reading. The result is a cut-up of sort, sometimes reminiscent of Magma’s kobbayan language. The music is inspired by non-european rhythms (peruvian harawi, medieval troubadours songs, indian deçi-tâlas) and infused with Messiaen’s modal technique of non-retrogradable composition. Though written for choir, the songs are full of rhythmic complexities, twists and turns. A totally unique song cycle in Messiaen’s oeuvre. More info here.

Download [new link as of 02/2011]

6 Responses to “Olivier Messiaen ‘Cinq Rechants’”

  1. 1 jardim March 27, 2008 at 3:40 am

    Sounds nice. Thanks.

  2. 2 shinji March 27, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Great. Thanks a lot.

  3. 3 Acousmata February 22, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Was happy to find this, but alas, the link is dead! Any chance of an update?

  4. 4 continuo February 22, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    The link is 3 years old, so was understandably deleted by Mediafire. I’ll re-upload it later this week. Thanks for your interest.

  5. 5 torquerind June 30, 2011 at 6:40 am

    This is lovely, and different; thank you so much for re-upping. I’ve sung o sacrum convivium, a gorgeous choral piece with deep full chords. Do you know this piece?

    Thank you again for the cinq rechants.

  6. 6 continuo June 30, 2011 at 6:55 am

    I’m not familiar with the choral piece you mention, but 5 Rechants is indeed wonderful. Thanks for your comment.

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