Christina Valdes recital tonight

The bird song obsessed Olivier Messiaen.

You can’t love, or even like contemporary music in Seattle and not know Christina Valdes. Valdes is a local pianist with a national reputation. She’s played with the local contemporary music group, the Seattle Chamber Players as well as the pioneering Bang on a Can. Her recital at the Good Shepherd Center tonight features Ives, Messiaen, and Scelsi among others. Messiaen’s Little Sketches of Birds (Petites esquisses d’oiseaux) from 1985 is on the program.

Messiaen’s interest in bird songs appears in many of his works. His seven volume Catalogue d’oiseaux is the composer’s most exhaustive exploration of bird songs. It catalogs countless examples of Western Europe’s different bird species. Where the longer Catalogue goes on for two and a half hours, the shorter Little Sketches zips by in a relatively brief 15 minutes (give or take). This montage of avian influence captures the chirps and tunes of the most common Western European birds — Robin, Black Bird, Song Thrush, and Sky Lark.

If your night is free, for a sliding scale donation of $5-15 this is a recital worth hearing. It starts at 8 pm at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford.

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