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Oiseaux exotiques (Exotic birds) is a piece for piano and small orchestra by Olivier Messiaen. It was written between 5 October 1955 and 3 January 1956 and was commissioned by Pierre Boulez. It is dedicated to Yvonne Loriod, the composer's wife.
Soloist(s): 1 piano, 2 flutes, 1 piccolo flute, 1 oboe, 4 clarinets, 1 clarinet in Eb, 1 bass clarinet, 1 bassoon, 2 French horns, 1 trumpet, 1 glockenspiel, 1 xylophone, 6 percussion.
The birds that inspired Messiaen in this piece are: the gracula of India, the golden-fronted verdin, the Baltimore Trouble, the greater prairie chicken, the prairie northern mockingbird, the cat bird, the Indian shama, the white-crested laughingthrush, the migratory blackbird, entrusted to the two clarinets, the swainson, the thrush hermit, the red-whiskered bulbul and the wood thrush.
Decî-Tâlas of ancient India, Cârngadeva system: Nihcankalîla, Gajalîla, Laksmîca, Caccarî, Candrakâla, Dhenkî, Gajajhampa - and karnâtic theory: Matsya-Sankirna, Triputa-Miśra, Matsya-Tiśra, Atatâla-Cundh.
Composed feet by the metre: Typistlo-Epitrite; verses by the metre: lambelegiac, logaedic verses: Asclepiad, Saphique, Glyconic, Aristophanian, Phalaean, Peregrinean.
The piece lasts about 16 minutes.