„Quatuor pour la fin du temps” (1940)
Izabella Szałaj-Zimak > skrzypce / Michał Pepol > wiolonczela / Andrzej Ciepliński > klarnet / Piotr Sałajczyk > fortepian
/// Muzeum Rzeźby im. X. Dunikowskiego „Królikarnia” - Oddział Muzeum Narodowego
All concerts will be live streamed on the internet (click here to check on FB)
Visions of the end of the world may vary. The Messiaen one was created in confinement and uncertainty of tomorrow - in the German Stalag VIII A in Görlitz (today's Zgorzelec), where the composer got with other French soldiers. Among them were musicians for whom he wrote a short trio, which he later expanded to the size of the today's quartet for clarinet, violin, cello and piano, which is considered a masterpiece of 20th century chamber music. The composer recalled that due to malnutrition he experienced religious visions in the camp and saw "the rainbow of the Angel of the Apocalypse and a peculiar swirl of colours". In the preface to the piece, he explained its entire symbolic plan, emphasizing that the end of the world means the beginning of eternity; the song captures the very moment when the only hope can be found in a prayer.
The way to get through "the end of time" is through prayer and contemplation.
Messiaen was an extremely religious man and the Catholic theology is the key to his art. In his works, he superbly combined it with a passion for the culture of India and a love of nature, especially birds, whose songs were a source of inspiration for his tunes. We can frequently recognize these "bird" figures in the Quartet, especially in the third movement, intended for solo clarinet and entitled The Abyss of Birds. A contemplative mood appears in the cello and piano duo of the fifth movement. Synesthesia - associating sounds with specific colours is also characteristic of Messiaen's music; parallelly to combining taste with smell in most people. It is not only the effect of starvation in the Zgorzelec camp, but a rare, individual trait that was reflected in the French artist's compositional technique and aesthetics. It is most fully voiced in the seventh movement of the Quartet, in which the Angel announcing the end of the world appears surrounded by all the colors of the rainbow. "Swords of fire, masses of blue-orange lava, violent stars, this is the play of colours, these rainbows!" Contemplation, if not religious ecstasy, appears in the finale, in which the melody of the violin continues to climb upwards, to its climax.
1. Liturgy of crystal
2. Vocalise, for the Angel who announces the end of Time
3. Abyss of the birds
5. Paean to the Eternity of Jesus
6. Dance of frenzy, for the seven trumpets
7. Confusion of rainbows, for the Angel who announces the end of Time
8. Paean to the Immortality of Jesus