July 11, 2023
Messiaen's Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jesus has always provoked a mixed response. For some it remains an epic of spiritual contemplation; for others it is shamelessly self-indulgent. For Messiaen the repetition
of leitmotifs, whether simple or elevated. is an inducement to awe and fear of the ultimate, and Kristoffer Hyldig meets every demand with all the necessary spirit of devotion. He captures the cloudy mystery of the opening 'Regard du Pere', the ironically pagan-sounding 'Regard de Esprit de joie', the orgiastic clangour of 'Noel' (a memory of 'Lavapies· from Albeniz's Iberia; for Messian Albeniz was 'panni les ewiles') and most impressively of all the timeless beauty of 'Le baiser de l'Enfant-Jesus', where sheer poetry transcends religious fervour. Even alongside Steven Osborne's superb recording and Bertrand Chamayou's
recent account, as well as, of course, Yvonne Loriod's naturally authentic account, Kristoffer Hyldig takes his place among the Regards' finest interpreters.
BRYCE MORRISON August September issue 2023