Quatour pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time) by Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
ROMAN FUKSHANSKY, clarinet
JONAH KIM, cello
CHRISTINE MCLEAVEY PAYNE, piano
MONI SIMEONOV, violin
Completed in 1941 the Quartet for the End of Time was written during Messiaens imprisonment at the German prisoner-of-war camp Stalag VIII-A. With 3 fellow professional musicians finding themselves captive at the same camp, Messiaen orchestrated it for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano. It was premiered at the camp on January 15th, 1941 with Messiaen himself at the piano, and attended by approximately 400 prisoners and guards. The four prisoners took the stage, unveiling one of the greatest masterpieces of 20th century classical music. Never have I been listened to with such attention and comprehension writes Messiaen about the performance. Corinna Da Fonseca-Wollheim, a classical music correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, writes that Quartet for the End of Time is a work of transcending beauty with moments of archangel-like severity a compositional tour-de-force that encompasses medieval modes and Indian rhythmic cycles, birdsong transcriptions and bold orchestrations.
Dedicated to and commissioned by the Hungarian violinist Jelly dAranyi, Tzigane had its premiere in London on April 26, 1924. The title Tzigane refers to a common European term for gypsy.