Our Holy Week Festival ends with Olivier Messiaen’s profoundly spiritual Quartet for the End of Time. Written while he was a prisoner of war in German captivity, the piece was premiered outdoors by Messiaen and his fellow prisoners using the instruments they could lay their hands on, in freezing temperatures, to a rapt audience of hundreds of inmates. "Never was I listened to with such rapt attention and comprehension" the composer later wrote. The music seems to touch the far edges of human experience. It combines the exotic dance rhythms and birdsong which permeate so much of Messiaen's music, with astonishing depictions of radiant eternity, inspired by the Book of Revelation.
Duration: approximately 50 minutes
"It offers a stark juxtaposition between the destructive and creative potentials of humanity, a struggle we all embody to some degree"Stephen Osbore