Pierre Boulez's Third Piano Sonata is a work of immense visual appeal and curiosity. One movement has staves printed in red and green, straddling huge sheets of cream paper in permutable networks. The other is ring-bound, so that its four sections can be played in different orders.
Last Tuesday night at the Greenwich House Music School, Taka Kigawa played the whole thing from memory, eliciting astonishment but also a certain amount of regret that these beautiful objects were not laid out to view. Still, Mr. Kigawa's feat deserves the highest praise, especially since it was combined with such alacrity and sensitivity to the musical material. Harmonic entrapments characteristic of Mr. Boulez, where the music flutters or shivers in a restricted area of the keyboard, were brought to life and made to sound like the bird music of the composer's teacher Messiaen, but bird music of no known species. Mr. Kigawa was also expert in achieving the pedal resonances, in producing variety of color and in creating sudden shafts of expressive power, especially at cadences.
He included as well Mr. Boulez's much more recent and simpler ''Incises,'' brilliantly done. And the context was appropriately provided by Debussy and Ravel: the first book of the former's Preludes and the latter's ''Valse,'' not so often heard in its piano solo version.
In this earlier music Mr. Kigawa impressed as a careful and serious-minded musician, quietly poetic and considerate. It was the music of Mr. Boulez that spurred him to greater intensity and spontaneity.