Music of Olivier Messiaen

Bird calls and Hindu rhythms, chaos and tunefulness, Hollywood harmonies and “modes of limited transposition”—the music of Olivier Messiaen embraces such disparate elements in the service of expressing his leaping, ecstatic, Catholic faith. To celebrate his centennial (December 10 is the exact date), St. James and St. Mark’s Cathedrals will present the French composer’s complete organ music in six recitals this fall. His music’s extremity isn’t to everyone’s taste (Stravinsky cattily referred to one of his choral works as “a crucifix of sugar”), but its unabashed evocativeness, intense devotion, and sheer trippiness have earned him a fan base rare among post-WWII composers. Clint Kraus and Joseph Adam open the series Sept. 19, with J. Melvin Butler and Thomas Joyce on hand for the remaining recitals through December 7. St. James Cathedral, 804 Ninth Ave., www.stjames-cathedral.org. Suggested donation $15. 8 p.m. GAVIN BORCHERT

Fri., Sept. 19, 8 p.m.; Mon., Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Oct. 24, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 7, 8 p.m.; Fri., Nov. 21, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m., 2008

 
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