2008 was the centenary of Messiaen’s birth, and this 2 DVD set of a selection of his organ music is a superb introduction for those new to his music and an essential purchase for all organ aficionados. Messiaen wrote in many genres, chamber, Orchestral, piano solo, and enriched greatly the organ repertoire of the 20th century. Although Debussy and Ravel influenced his earliest works, (orientalism and famously the songs of birds were life long influences and a source of fascination to him) Messiaen became a significant influence upon avant-garde composers such as Boulez and Stockhausen. You can sample Tanke’s approach to Messiaen, which is influenced by his study of Buddhist faith and philosophy, on YouTube (keywords: Tanke and Messiaen). The technology afforded by DVD allows the listener to view from several angles, including underneath the bench to see Messiaen’s ferociously mobile pedal parts at first feet, as it were.
- Tanke plays the Marcussen organ in St Laurens Church, Rotterdam
- Tanke has recorded the complete organ works of Messiaen for Brilliant Classics on CD, recently reissued in time for Messiaen’s centenary
- "This new set by Willem Tanke is most certainly Messiaenic heaven to me, and has placed the music far closer to my heart than any of the previous sets. This recent release is as close to perfect as I think I will find" (The Organ).
- Tanke is a specialist in the organ works of Reger, JS Bach and Messiaen. He is also famous as an improviser and champion of contemporary Dutch music. He is a professor of theory and improvisation at Rotterdam Conservatoire.