Wild Up Plays Messiaen’s Oiseaux Exotiques
On Saturday January 14th, 2012 we played a show called Ornithology at The Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena. It all came from the idea: what if we explored a topic? Thoroughly maybe, and from at least a half dozen angles in one night. Really, the way that we make shows today, was sparked, and born with Ornithology. We began with Charlie Parker, commissioning 5 new works based on Parker tunes, improvisation, and bebop licks. We thought of Haydn’s Hen and what a hen might sound like from the hen’s perspective, using as you can imagine, four bass clarinets.
Lifted off the ground with Messiaen’s Oiseaux Exotiques, his catalogue of American bird calls, played by our incredible pianist Richard Valitutto. Then plummeted back to earth with Ferneyhough’s blazing clarinet concerto L’chute d’Icare a nine minute tour de force about Icarus falling out of the sky, with Brian Walsh as soloist. While we’re generally against puns, we rounded the program with a few Andrew Bird covers — had to give our whistling chops a workout that week. It’s a show we talk about often as the genesis for a lot of the creative work the band has made over the last decade, one we’re really proud of.