For the End of Time: The Story of the Messiaen Quartet
Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) was one of the great composers of the 20th century. The premiere of the French composer's Quartet for the End of Time on January 15, 1941 at -4 degrees Fahrenheit in Stalag VIIIA, a Nazi prison camp, has been called one of the great stories of 20th-century music. A devout Catholic with an interest in mysticism and the supernatural, Messiaen was also a poet and an accomplished amateur ornithologist. He mixed sounds as a painter mixes colours, associating specific shades with certain modes and chords. Quartet for the End of Time. Based on testimonies by the musicians and their families, witnesses to the premiere, former prisoners, and documents from Stalag VIIIA, the book examines the events that led to the Quartet's composition, the experiences of the musicians in the camp, the contradictory accounts, the composer's interpretive preferences, and the musicians' problems in execution and how they affected the premiere and subsequent performances. Rebecca Rischin explores the musicians' life in the prison camp, their relationships with each other and with the German camp officials, and their intriguing fortunes before and after the momentous premiere. correspondence with survivors of the Quartet's premiere and members of the Messiaen circle, including the cellist Etienne Pasquier and the violinist Jean Le Boulaire, relatives of the clarinetist Henri Akoka, and Messiaen's widow, Yvonne Loriod. The book is illustrated with photographs of the musicians, press releases from the premiere, autographs, letters, and pen-and-ink drawings of the camp's layout. Included are wartime photos of the camp and its prisoners along with present-day views of the camp site, which Rischin visited in 1995. Rebecca Rischin is Associate Professor of Music at Ohio University in Athens. Her research for this book was aided by a Harriet Hale Woolley Scholarship for study in Paris, awarded in 1993 to only two other American artists and musicians. Rischin is an award-winning clarinetist who performs regularly throughout the United States and Europe.
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The Quartet Begins
The Quartet in Prison
Preparing the Premiere
The Quartet Free
After the Quartet 87
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15 January 19 June 22 December 22 March 25 November Abyss Apocalypse arrival in Stalag artistic barrack birds birdsong Briill Brossard brother captivity cellist cello claimed clarinet clarinetist composer composer's composition comrades concert copy courtesy Courtesy Hannalore Lauerwald Deplus Dokumentation Kriegsgefangene Ende der Zeiten escape eternity Etienne Pasquier father fin du Temps French German officer Gorlitz Gorouben Henri Akoka Ibid instruments interview Jean Lanier Jean Le Boulaire Jeannette Akoka Jesus Jewish Jews Lauerwald letter to author liberated listen Lucien Akoka ment Messi Messiaen Companion Messiaen's music Messiaen's Quartet Messiaen's Quatuor Musical Language musicians never Olivier Messiaen orchestra Paris Conservatory performance Philippe Akoka piano piece Pierre played prison camp Quartet quoted in Golea quoted in Samuel recording recount rehearsal Rencontres rhythmic rhythms solo Sprout Stalag VIII tempo theater tion Trio Pasquier Trumpets Vacellier Vichy France violin violinist wanted wrote Yvonne Dran Yvonne Loriod