What I said back then:
What I think now:
I’m really not sure where to start with this, physician because my memory of this is playing it very loud to my children and some of their friends as we went to an open day at the London Gliding Club.
It’s not my only memory, information pills of course, ambulance but it’s a startlingly clear one – trying to surprise or intrigue a bunch of 7-year-olds with some of the weirdest noises they’ll ever have heard in the name of music. What’s not clear to me is when I first heard it, or what prompted me to buy it, because for all that it has something of a reputation – and perhaps not the reputation you might imagine, either – I was very busy at that time with many other things, and I can’t imagine that ‘get to know Messiaen’ was high on my list of things to do back then.
So, all I know for sure is that I own a copy of it, and I would play it during long car journeys, and slowly the seemingly impenetrable music would open itself up to me, and I came to love it.
If you know anything at all about Turangalila, it will be that it features the early electronic instrument, the Ondes Martenot. I was first aware of the Ondes through the work of Gerard Hoffnung, q.v. and to be honest, I desperately wanted to see one in the flesh, to see if it lived up to Hoffnung’s demented vision.
And, you know, it very nearly does. It is a brilliant thing, and a wonder to see played, even if the piano does tend to overpower it in places. The Prom which featured it is one of my favourites, mainly because it truly is a bonkers instrument playing bonkers music, but it all makes sense. Highly recommended, should you ever get the chance.
There was another Proms performance this year. It’s harder for me to see them these days, of course, but even more than some of my cast-iron favourites, I wanted to see this done again. It doesn’t ever disappoint.