Friday, February 23, 2007

Messiaen's feathered fans

If you're into modern classical music, you've likely heard some of the works French composer Olivier Messiaen composed using melodies from birdcalls. But did you ever wonder how birds feel about Messiaen's pieces?

I interviewed longtime Cleveland Chamber Symphony clarinetist John Stavash for a newspaper story today, and I asked him about playing on Messiaen's Oiseaux "Exotiques (Exotic Birds)," which as I've written here just won a Grammy. According to the liner notes for the album, birdcalls from 47 different types of birds are featured in the piece.

Stavash told me that when he practiced the piece at home, his two pet birds, a cockatiel and a peach front conure, apparently were listening.

"As I was practicing, the birds were getting very excited," Stavash said. "Finally I got them out of the cage and plopped them on each knee and they listened to me while I practiced."

"They were enjoying it. I could tell the way they were acting."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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