The generally agreed upon translation for this title, "Illuminations From the Beyond...," and is a little tame compared to the equally appropriate and somewhat more apt "Lightning-Flashes From the Beyond..." -- the full brass unisons with whipcracks and deep rolls from bass drum and gong in the section "Seven Angels With Seven Trumpets" elicits the most chilling majestic feelings from a pre-modern sense of the eternal mystery, "The Way to the Invisible" likewise opens gates of the subconscious with beautifully bizarre harmonic sweeps in the strings, full chordal annunciations in the brass, and "total chromatic" backdrops for the song of the Pied Butcherbird to wander through. As in several other Messiaen
works, the birds are seen as intermediaries between the heavenly and the earthly -- there is a gorgeous menagerie of 25 bird songs played freely and simultaneously in the section "Several Birds From the Trees of Life," and birds appear throughout the piece. Lovely, unique melodic strains appear in several sections: "God Will Wipe Every Tear From Their Eyes...," the very moving (yet not sensual in the usual manner) "Dwelling in Love," and the final "Christ, Light of Paradise." This piece is a testament to faith in the natural revelation of the Great Mystery expressed in clear, beautiful musical imagery, neither over-emotional nor over-austere. Recorded in live performance, Antoni Wit
conducting the National Polish Radio Orchestra of Katowice.