At Le Poisson Rouge, Messiaen’s ‘Catalogue d’Oiseaux’: The World Refracted
By Zachary Woolfe Aug. 25, 2017
There is nothing merely pretty about Messiaen’s “Catalogue d’Oiseaux,” a sprawling solo-piano cycle with a straightforward title (“Catalog of Birds”). Inert twittering this is not: In seven books, 13 movements and some two and a half hours of music, this composer reflects our natural world, in all its strangeness and violence, and invents his own. Ranging through blocky chords, chalky bits of understatement, floods of jabbering and shimmering resonances, the songs of dozens of birds are made into the musical equivalent of an abstract painting.
On Monday, Aug. 28, Taka Kigawa — who in recent years has guided audiences at Le Poisson Rouge on intimate excursions through luminous modern masterpieces of Debussy, Ligeti, Boulez and others — returns there to traverse Messiaen’s entire “Catalogue,” a rare treat.
(158 Bleecker Street, Manhattan, 212-505-3474, lepoissonrouge.com.)