Saturday, 23 July 2011

My Kind of Music (8)

It's a while since I added anything to this series of posts. However, I've been listening to this composer a lot recently and was reminded that one of his pieces, The Quartet for the End of Time, was a piece I got into as a teenager. At the time I was bowled over by its originality and still am.

Olivier Messiaen wrote the piece while he was being held by the Germans in a prison camp during WWII. It was scored for the instruments available: piano, violin, clarinet and cello. It was first performed in 1941 in Stalag VIIIA, to an audience of about 400 prisoners and guards. Etienne Pasquier, the cellist, described the event in an interview with Hannelore Lauerwald:

[The performance took place] in the hut that we used as the theatre. All the seats were taken, about four hundred in all, and people listened raptly, their thoughts turning inward, even those who may have been listening to chamber music for the first time. The concert took place on Wednesday, 15 January 1941, at six in the evening. It was bitterly cold outside the hut, and there was snow on the ground and on the rooftops.

This is the sixth movement, Danse de la fureur, pour les sept trompettes:

1 comment:

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes, he is about at my level of 'modern' music - I love this piece.