Debussy and Messiaen live on in the filigree and chords of Murail’s poetic piano compositions. In fact, Comme un oeil suspendu et poli par le songe… (“Like an eye, suspended and polished by a dream…”) was written to gain entrance to Messiaen’s class and Cloches d’adieu, et une sourire… (“Bells of farewell and a smile…”) was written in homage the year he died.
On the first disc, Territoires de l’Oubli (“Lands of the Unknown”) towers above the other shorter pieces with its waves of chords and aggressive tendencies. Played with pedal down throughout, the piece reflects Murail’s work with electronics. Apparently it’s not uncommon for piano strings to rupture during its performance. Most pieces, such as La Mandragore , a tribute to Ravel, contrast highly placed melodies, widely spaced chords and rumbling bass lines.
The second disc holds the nine-movement Les Travaux et les Jeux (“Works and Days”) commissioned by Nonken. Subtly related to Territoires de l’Oubli , Les Travaux et les Jeux takes an unfussy approach to its interconnected motives. The newer work provides reflective contrast to everything earlier. True to form, Metier captures these atmospheric works and Nonken’s artistry superbly.