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Arts and Entertainment

Classical Pick of the Week: Hello, Messiaen

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2008 marks the 100 year anniversary of the birth of French composer Olivier Messiaen, best known for his masterpiece Quatuor por la fin du temps ("Quartet for the end of time"). Piano Spheres is commemorating his birth with a concert at Zipper Hall this Tuesday featuring pianists Mark Robson and Joanne Pearce Martin.

The program begins with Maurice Ravel's "Gaspard de la Nuit" (which includes the fiendishly difficult Scarbo) followed by short pieces by Satie and Takemitsu. The highlight of this concert is Messiaen's duo-piano cycle "Visions de l'Amen," a true test of musicianship and virtuosity for the two pianists. This piece shows rhythmic and emotional complexity, bolstered by his unshakable allegiance to Roman Catholicism, evident in many of his great works.

The LA Phil has already performed Messiaen's "Des canyons aux étoiles" and is featuring "Oiseaux exotiques" in an upcoming concert, but this is the perfect time to get a taste of his music at a fraction of the cost. "Gaspard de la Nuit" is rarely performed due to its difficulty, and is one more reason to head on out this Tuesday night.

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Piano Spheres
Tuesday, March 11th, 2008, 8 PM
Zipper Hall at the Colburn School

Photo by Sam Kim/LAist