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December 4, 2008

Matthew Odell to perform at Messiaen celebration

Locally, the commemoration of Olivier Messiaen's centennial has been marked most substantially so far by organist Jonathan Moyer, whose survey of the complete organ works finished up Nov. 23 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. This weekend, thanks to the ever-busy An die Musik, the celebration continues with Matthew Odell, who will give a complete performance of Messiaen's massive piano work Vingt regards sur l'Enfant Jesus (Twenty Views of the Child Jesus).

This 1945 score, which lasts about two hours, is a stunning example of the composer's creative imagination, with a brilliant richness and breadth of harmonic and melodic activity, not to mention pianistic color. And, of course, like so many of Messiaen's works, the music reflects his intense personal faith.

Odell will perform Vingt regards at 3 p.m. Sunday at An die Musik, 409 N. Charles St. Tickets are $8 to $15. There will be a post-concert wine reception. For a sample of this extraordinary music, see the video clip below of pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard:

Posted by Tim Smith at 3:20 PM | | Comments (0)

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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