Had Claude Debussy been born half a century later he would have found an immediate kinship with Olivier Messiaen, whose works span styles from impressionism to serialism and whose influences include Gregorian chant, early polyphony, and birdsong. This collection skims the surface of Messiaen’s eccentric genius, highlighting his most accessible moments but circumventing a few of his more influential works. The Turangalîla Symphony’s “Joy of the Blood of the Stars” highlights Messiaen’s signature rhythmic idiosyncracy: the alteration of traditional patterns by the addition of a short note to create a “stunted” effect. The composer’s most profound work, Quartet for the End of Time, is represented here by its fifth movement, “Louange à l’Eternité”; the slow, prayerlike cello/piano duet, whose lyrical introspection emphasizes the depth of the composer’s spiritual devotion, was written (like the rest of the Quartet) while Messiaen was held in a Silesian work camp during World War II. The last work in this collection, L’Ascension, is featured in its entirety; an early composition, written in 1934, it consists of four “Symphonic Meditations for Orchestra.” Each movement is inspired by a single religious theme, evidence of Messiaen’s devout Catholicism. So strong was his faith that he believed, like Bach, that all the music he wrote was for the glorification of God. The stunning brass fanfare in L’Ascension’s first movement, as well as the vehemence of the strings in its third movement, conveys a fortitude to be reckoned with. As an introduction to the works of a complex and sometimes baffling composer, this collection is quite effective, but Messiaen’s solo piano works, such as Vingt regards sur l’enfant Jesus, should not have been ignored.—Amy Domingues