A monumental work for solo piano that is not just for listening to in the Christmas season: Messiaen's "Vingt Regards"
I have been listening a lot in recent days - albeit in small sections as the work is about two hours in length - to a magisterial work for the piano by Messiaen. This unquestionably important landmark of 20th-century piano music is called Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jesus (Twenty Contemplations of the Infant Jesus). Understandably because of its extreme difficulty and its sheer length, it has received few recordings since its first performance given by the composer's wife, Yvonne Loriod. She made her own recording in 1956 under her husband's supervision. Two more recent recordings standout, by Pierre-Laurent Aimard (a former pupil of Loriod) and Steven Osborne; both of these are more than 20 years old. Osborne, by the way, is a fabulous performer of French piano music in general; watch this recent video (I can't stop watching!) of his recital of the Debussy Etudes in Wigmore Hall in London. There is a recent recording, though, of great beauty by Bertrand Chamayou, and he also frames the work with short pieces by composers writing in tribute to Messiaen, a very interesting idea. Here is an article from Interlude which describes the work a little. I also have enjoyed these pieces by Takemitsu, Kurt, and especially the first one by Anthony Cheung (I really want to learn this one!) Listen wherever you stream music....apple, spotify, etc. I am curious as to what you will think about Vingt Regards.