【House Programme】For the End of Time – 80 Years of the Messiaen Quartet

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Welcome to the Grand Hall Thank you for coming to this HKU MUSE event. To ensure that everyone enjoys the music, please switch off your mobile phones and any other sound and light emitting devices before the performance. Unauthorised photography and audio/video recordings in the Hall are prohibited. Enjoy the concert and come again.

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A Milestone Celebration for 80th Anniversary of the Quartet’s Premiere & 40th Anniversary of HKU Department of Music

For the End of Time: 80 Years of the Messiaen Quartet CONVERSATIONS A Conversation on Time and Eternity 30 SEP | THU | 8PM | ZOOM Prof. Henry Shiu & Prof. Chan Hing-yan

2021/22 Rayson Huang Lecture: Doing Time 6 OCT | WED | 8PM | ZOOM Prof. Jeremy Begbie & Prof. Rebecca Rischin Moderated by Prof. Daniel Chua

Music in Words with the Musicians 8 OCT | FRI | 6:30PM | LG1.22 Kitty Cheung, Linus Fung, Nancy Loo, Eric Yip Moderated by Prof. Chan Hing-yan

PERFORMANCE For the End of Time: 80 Years of the Messiaen Quartet 8 OCT | FRI | 8PM | GRAND HALL including the world premiere of a new work by Dr. Joshua Chan


For the End of Time: 80 Years of the Messiaen Quartet Kitty Cheung, violin | Linus Fung, clarinet | Eric Yip, cello | Nancy Loo, piano JOSHUA CHAN Fiery Rustles of Rain (World Premiere)

Written for the 40th Anniversary of the Department of Music, HKU


Quartet for the End of Time (Quatuor pour la fin du Temps) for violin, clarinet in B b , cello, and piano

I. Crystal Liturgy Liturgie de cristal

(entire quartet)

II. Vocalise, for the Angel Who Announces the End of Time Vocalise pour l’Ange qui annonce la fin du Temps

(entire quartet)

III. Abyss of the Birds Abîme des oiseaux

(clarinet alone)

IV. Interlude Intermède

(violin, clarinet, and cello)

V. Praise to the Eternity of Jesus Louange à l’Éternité de Jésus

(cello and piano)

VI. Dance of Fury, for the Seven Trumpets Danse de la fureur, pour les sept trompettes

(entire quartet)

VII. Tangle of Rainbows, for the Angel Who Announces the End of Time Fouillis d’arcs-en-ciel, pour l’Ange qui annonce la fin du Temps

(entire quartet)

VIII. Praise to the Immortality of Jesus Louange à l’Immortalité de Jésus

(violin and piano)

The concert is recorded by RTHK Radio 4 (FM Stereo 97.6-98.9 MHz and radio4.rthk.hk) and will be broadcast on 23rd October (Sat) at 8pm with a repeat on 28th October (Thu) at 2pm.



BIOGRAPHIES Kitty Cheung | violin Dr. Kitty Cheung is a co-founder and member of the Romer String Quartet and Contrast Trio (violin-saxophone-piano), Associate Musician of the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, and Adjunct Lecturer at the Hong Kong Baptist University. She was the Associate Concertmaster of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta in 2011-17, and has performed in the London Symphony Orchestra in the past. She also performed as a soloist with Hong Kong Sinfonietta and Hong Kong City Chamber Orchestra. She received her doctoral and undergraduate degrees from the Eastman School of Music, and two master's degrees from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Linus Fung | clarinet Fung Yat Shan (Linus) is an active and versatile Hong Kongbased clarinettist who currently works as a core member of the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble. He has performed in Shanghai New Music Week, Seoul International Computer Music Festival, Macau Huan Yuan Exhibition, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Hong Kong New Vision Arts Festival, and various Arts events since season 2016-17. Linus has frequent collaborations with the Wuji Ensemble and Ponte Orchestra of Hong Kong. He has played in various projects with the Hong Kong Composers’ Guild, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Opera Hong Kong, and Cantabile, among many freelance occasions. As a soloist, Linus has given numerous solo recitals in Hong Kong, Macau, Shantou and Manchester, including a recent full-length recital in Hong Kong City Hall’s 'Our Music Talents' Recital Series presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Last year, Linus was invited to give a lecturerecital titled 'Stravinsky’s Clarinet' presented by HKU MUSE at the University of Hong Kong with Prof. Chan Hing-yan.



Eric Yip | cello Eric Yip has been a member of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta since 2011. Before returning to Hong Kong, he was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the principal cellist of the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra. Yip is also the founding member of the Romer String Quartet. He has been giving chamber recitals in Europe, Asia and the United States (Carnegie Hall) and was featured in the Hong Kong Arts Festival and the Beare’s Premiere Music Festival. He has been invited to give masterclasses in Malaysia and Hong Kong Youth Music Camp and is currently the faculty member of the Junior School of Music of The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Yip was a recipient of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Music and Dance Fund which supported his studies in Chicago before graduating from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. His principal teachers were Ray Wang, John Sharp, Richard Hirschl, and Chai Hong Fong.

Nancy Loo | piano Recipient of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award 1978, Nancy Loo is one of Hong Kong’s most versatile artists. She currently teaches piano at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and The Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is often invited to host music talks and masterclasses, and to serve as a juror for piano competitions. Loo attended the Juilliard School on scholarship, where she studied with Adele Marcus. After graduating with a master’s degree, she studied with Vlado Perlemuter in Paris and Guido Agosti in Italy. She was the First Prize winner at the Fourth Rina Sala Gallo International Competition in Monza, and has won awards in many other international competitions, including the Marguerite Long International Competition in Paris. As a pianist, Loo has given solo recitals and performed with orchestras in England, Europe, North America, and Asia. Locally, she has collaborated with the Hong Kong Arts Festival, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.



MUSIC’S 40TH ANNIVERSARY Forty in Eighty Years

Dr. Joshua Chan

Time flies. I was admitted to the Department as an MPhil student in 1988, and since then I have never left this place. Over the last 33 years, I’ve witnessed the arrival and departure of many people, and I have heard some interesting stories. Professor Rayson Huang, the Vice-Chancellor who founded the Department, used to visit us from time to time, telling us how he loves music, and how he was awarded the HKU bachelor degree one year short of his studies – the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong in December 1941 had interrupted the work of the University drastically. This was the same year as the premiere of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, and who would have guessed that 40 years later, the same Professor Huang would be back at HKU to found the Music Department in 1981. I was told that Prof. Huang’s original initiative of establishing a new department was somehow modified by the Faculty of Arts, and the given budget was eventually split into two, forming two smaller departments (Music and Fine Arts) instead. The trade-off between expanding the arts programmes quickly and securing a critical mass for a stronger department must have triggered some difficult debate at that time. Our Founding Department Head was Anne Boyd, a then 36-year-old Australian composer with a rather admirable, persistent character. Three other musicologists from the UK and the US were recruited at that time, including Nicholas Cook, one of the most prolific and cited musicologists today. Although the young Department had difficulty developing its undergraduate curriculum in its early stages with such a small team, they had already admitted the first MPhil candidate in Music by 1986, the first of this kind in the territories. In the early 1980’s, only the very top 4 percentages of Hong Kong secondary school graduates could get into local universities. Not many were aware the new music major at HKU; studying Music as a discipline in the liberal arts was hard to comprehend. I was then a teenager who was interested in conservatory type of music training only; studying at HKU was a goal too far to reach. But it was eventually HKU that changed my mindset, especially in the way I see myself holistically now as a composer-musician-teacher. Special credit should go to the HKU postgraduate environment, even prior to the days of the Graduate School. The freedom to conduct research on any topic with novel approaches was greatly promoted. For example, one topic I spent much time thinking about during my postgraduate days was the fundamental question: what does a PhD in music composition mean? This was a new concept. Obviously I must have worked out the answer since by 1994 Kelina Kwan and I became the first 2 holders of such a PhD awarded by a Hong Kong tertiary institution. The favourable research culture at HKU has also attracted new waves of smart people joining and visiting the Department since mid-1990s. Meeting and seeing how these colleagues work has enabled me to understand the academic nature of humanities better. It was also fascinating to see the gradual broadening of our focus from historical musicology to ethnomusicology, and today we even contemplate posthuman musicology.



I used to meet music students of other local institutions in sector-wide events, and had the opportunities to compare the general characteristics of these students with those of our students. While students of other institutions tend to focus more on their major studies, HKU students seem to have a wider array of interests, taking courses of very different types. Allowing students of different academic years and faculties to take courses together is another HKU trademark. With a very different student body from the days when I first started teaching, I am excited today to have international and mainland students taking my technique courses alongside local students majoring in Medicine, Business, Engineering, Sciences, Law, Arts, etc. Our Music undergraduate programme today does not only serve the music specialists, but a much wider audience who may prefer a more open-minded attitude and a flexible career path in the future. The last 40 years could be regarded as a period of rapid transformation for the Music Department. Although we have not grown much in terms of staff size, our minds have travelled a long distance and our impact here and abroad has been substantial. And we enjoy sharing our knowledge with the local and international communities; this Messiaen project is already one of such sharing events. May the inspiring adventures of HKU’s Music Department continue in the years to come…

HKU Department of Music The Department of Music at the University of Hong Kong celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Founded in 1981, it is a leading centre of research excellence in the region, with world-renowned scholars from across the globe who play a significant role in shaping the study of music today. The Department does not just think about music, it aims to make music happen. Our students engage and perform with many sought-after artists from across the world. Our University Artists – from Trey Lee to the Juilliard Quartet – inspire the HKU community with the best music making. The Department provides opportunities for our composers to hear their works performed, often by major artists and combines scholarly discussions with musical events, connecting the Department with creative networks across Hong Kong and beyond. Our MUSE Concert Series, in collaboration with HKU’s Cultural Management Office, is an arena for intellectually informed performances of an international standard, attracting full capacity audiences. The Department is a happening place, providing a culturally enriching environment for immersive learning and an integrated educational experience in music second to none in the region.



PROGRAMME NOTES Fiery Rustles of Rain (2021) Written for the 40th Anniversary of the Department of Music, HKU Joshua Chan (b. 1962) Fiery Rustles of Rain is inspired by the summer trip of Beijing in 2021. Even though I am familiar with the climate of storms and rain in the South, I was surprised by the diversified, sometimes violent characters of the rain in the North, as it may come and go with a storm unexpectedly. But the beautiful rain sceneries of many kinds also arouse unlimited imagination and admiration. One of the most thankful scenarios is being accompanied by the loved one while taking shelter from rain – what a moment to cherish. I try to depict two kinds of feeling with different tempos and languages in this musical composition. The Allegretto passages come with fast, frequent alternation of texture and thematic materials, showing a sense of urgency and complication. The Moderato uses lyrical melodies with unpretentious accompaniment, carrying a certain amount of nostalgia and romance. This piece lasts for 7.5 minutes. The first short passage suggests a downpour, and it anticipates the materials of the final Allegretto. It is followed by 4 minutes of a smooth Moderato. Then it leads to the final 3 minutes of Allegretto which exposes, develops and mixes the earlier materials intensively, implying the rain is getting stronger and stronger. (Programme notes by the composer)

About the Composer Joshua Chan, PhD (HKU), has written more than 200 compositions and arrangements for various media including orchestral, electronic, chamber, vocal, theatre, ballet, and pop recording. Many of his works have been performed in Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, UK, US, etc. International events in which Chan’s work were featured include UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers, ISCM World Music Days, International Computer Music Conference, Asian Composers’ League Conference and Festival, Beijing Modern Music Festival, and Osaka International Chamber Music Festa, etc. Joshua Chan has also served the community as a council member of the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra (2003-2009), the chairman of the Hong Kong Composers’ Guild (2004-2014), the chairman of the Asian Composers League (2007-2012), a board member of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Society (2014-2018), an expert advisor of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (2015-2019), a board member of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Music and Dance Fund (2016-2019), and other memberships in various committees of Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Education Bureau, Home Affairs Bureau, Hong Kong Council for Academic Accreditation and Vocational Qualifications, Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority, etc. Chan was commended by the HKSAR Government in the Secretary for Home Affairs’ Commendation Scheme 2007 for the Persons with Outstanding Contributions to the Development of Arts and Culture. PROGRAMME NOTES


Quartet for the End of Time (1940-41) Olivier Messiaen (1908–1992)

Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time (Quatuor pour la fin du Temps) is a signature work within the musical, political, and cultural history of the twentieth century. The premiere of this quartet for violin, clarinet, cello and piano in Stalag 8 A, a Nazi prison camp during the Second World War in January 1941 is considered one of the great stories of twentieth century music. Although Messiaen dutifully answered his questioners and provided personal information in interviews and in prefaces and notes to his works, he remains an enigma. A devout Catholic, Messiaen combined a passion for his religion and an interest in mysticism with a love of nature and the supernatural. An ornithologist and rhythmician as well as a composer, he mixed sounds as a painter mixes colours, associating specific shades with certain modes and chords. Drawing on Gregorian plainchant, church modes, and ancient Greek and Hindu rhythms and interweaving Christian symbolism with "sound-colour" and transcriptions of birdsong, Messiaen created an eclectic musical language that was uniquely his, an intricate puzzle of seemingly disparate parts that miraculously make musical sense. Born on 10 December 1908 in Avignon, France to Pierre Messiaen, a teacher of English and translator of Shakespeare, and Cécile Sauvage, a poet, Olivier Messiaen was drawn to mystery, marvel, and poetry at an early age. A childhood fascination with the plays of Shakespeare, "a super-fairy-tale," influenced his embrace of Catholicism, in which he found "the marvelous multiplied a hundredfold, a thousandfold..." 1 His mother, who made her pregnancy the subject of a collection of twenty poems, L’âme en bourgeon (The Budding Soul), had premonitions about his artistic predispositions while he was still in the womb, said Messiaen. "That’s why she said, without knowing I would become a composer, "Je souffre d’un lointain musical [...]" (I suffer from an unknown, distant music)." 2 It was Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, a gift from his harmony teacher Jehan de Gibon, that Messiaen claimed had the greatest influence on him. At the Paris Conservatory, studying with Marcel Dupré, Maurice Emmanuel, Paul Dukas and others, Messiaen took prizes in six different disciplines: first in counterpoint and fugue (1926), piano accompaniment (1927), organ and improvisation (1928), history of music (1928), and composition (1929); and second in harmony (1924). In 1931, at the age of 22, Messiaen became the youngest titular organist in France when he was named principal organist at the Church of the Trinité in Paris. Five years later, he was appointed to the faculties of the Ecole Normale de Musique and the Scola Cantorum. The same year, together with composers Yves Baudrier, André Jolivet, and Daniel Lesur, Messiaen founded La Jeune France, a group united by the common objective of "sincerity, generosity, and artistic good faith." 3 The group did not last long, for World War II brought an end to its activities. On 25 August 1939, Messiaen was called to military service. Then, in the summer of 1940, he was captured by the Germans and sent to the camp for prisoners of war where he composed and premiered his



famous Quartet for the End of Time for the instruments and instrumentalists that he had on hand in the camp: Jean Le Boulaire, violinist, Henri Akoka, clarinettist, and Etienne Pasquier, cellist, with himself at the piano. Messiaen’s account of this famous premiere has become a legend. In his own words: Conceived and composed during my captivity, the Quartet for the End of Time was premiered in Stalag VIII A, on 15 January 1941. It took place in Görlitz, in Silesia, in a dreadful cold. Stalag was buried in snow. We were 30,000 prisoners (French for the most part, with a few Poles and Belgians). The four musicians played on broken instruments: Etienne Pasquier’s cello had only 3 strings; the keys of my upright piano remained lowered when depressed. It’s on this piano, with my three fellow musicians, dressed in the oddest way – I myself wearing a bottlegreen suit of a Czech soldier – completely tattered, and wooden clogs large enough for the blood to circulate despite the snow underfoot [...] that I played my Quartet for the End of Time, before an audience of 5000 people. The most diverse classes of society were mingled: farmers, factory workers, intellectuals, professional servicemen, doctors, [and] priests.4 It is an extraordinary story, and yet as Rebecca Rischin recounts in her book, For the End of Time: The Story of the Messiaen Quartet (Cornell University Press, 2003; 2006), is not entirely true. Because the premiere occurred in an enclosed military barrack, the theatre where performances regularly took place, no more than a few hundred spectators could have been present. And, while Messiaen’s piano was sorely inadequate, Etienne Pasquier repeatedly confirmed in interviews with Rischin that his cello had all four of its strings. In one interview, Pasquier stated that it amused Messiaen to exaggerate the details of the premiere. Subsequently, he speculated that Messiaen’s persistent repetition of this story stemmed from his desire to illustrate the hardships that the musicians faced in performing the Quartet. In perpetuating these myths, Messiaen imbued his story with an even greater aura of the miraculous. Though Pasquier played on a cello with all four strings intact, and though there were several hundred, not several thousand, people in the audience, it can be certain that a messianic moment prevailed. While many World War II-inspired works have understandably been absorbed with the problem of the Deus Absconditis (the absence of God), Messiaen’s Quartet is not. The message the Quartet radiates is not one of despair, but, on the contrary, one of resounding reaffirmation. Admittedly, Messiaen did not face extinction, like the Jews. One might even say that "God was with him." Still, in an environment which provoked depression and suicide among many of his fellow inmates, the source of Messiaen’s inspiration is compelling. The Quartet was inspired by the first six verses from the tenth chapter of Revelation. The title page of the piece refers to the verse in which the Angel of the Apocalypse raises his hand to heaven and declares that there shall be no more time: "en hommage à l’Ange de l’Apocalypse, qui lève la main vers le ciel en disant: 'Il n’y aura plus de Temps'" (in homage to the Angel of the Apocalypse, who raised his hand to heaven, saying, 'There will be no more Time').5 Attesting to the eternal freedom of the spirit over the temporal captivity of the body, the piece illustrates how captivity paradoxically set free a work that became a testament to PROGRAMME NOTES


creativity, to the unshakeable faith of a devout Catholic, and to the aspects of belief exemplified in the lives of Messiaen’s fellow musicians who formed the Quartet. The Quartet is unique in several other respects as well, most obviously, in its instrumentation for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano. The Quartet for the End of Time, Paul Hindemith’s Quartet (1938), and Töru Takemitsu’s Quatrain II (1976) are among a handful of pieces written for this instrumental combination. Within Messiaen’s writings, the Quartet has been considered "the single most significant work" that he composed, in that it was "the technical source from which all of his subsequent output was directly to spring." 6 Certainly, the Quartet marked two significant turning points in the development of Messiaen’s style. It was one of the first compositions into which Messiaen incorporated identifiable bird song, an element that would appear and reappear in many of his subsequent compositions. It was also one of the first of Messiaen’s compositions to include a treatise on rhythm, and as such, prefigured his first major theoretical work, Technique de mon langage musicale (1944) (The Technique of my Musical Language). Although the Quartet is widely regarded as one of the great chamber works of the twentieth century, it is Messiaen’s only significant such work. Of Messiaen’s seventy published compositions, only five are chamber works, three of which preceded the Quartet. "It was not much of a preparation for a work occupying four players for nearly an hour, especially one from a composer whose only important instrumental works for several years had been organ cycles," 7 notes Messiaen scholar Paul Griffiths. Even more ironic for a composition of such stature is that it emerged almost accidentally. The piece might never even have been conceived in its specific instrumentation had Messiaen not chanced upon the three musicians who became his fellow performers. Moreover, the Quartet would never have been realised had it not been for the music-loving officers in Messiaen’s prison camp, who, as Rischin will recounts in her book, went out of their way to accommodate the needs of this celebrated composer. It is important to remember that Stalag 8 A was a prison camp, not a concentration camp. That is, its purpose was not extermination, but rather just incarceration. A premiere like this could have never taken place in one of the concentration camps of the Holocaust. Messiaen denied that the Apocalyptic allusions in his Quartet, notably the title itself, bore any relation to his captivity. The Apocalypse was merely a point of departure for his composition, written for the instruments and instrumentalists that he had on hand. However, while there is no double-entendre with reference to the length of captivity, said Messiaen, there is a play on words in terms of equal duration in classical music. That is, the dual meaning of the title rests with the composer’s desire to eliminate conventional notions of musical time (rhythm and meter) and of past and future. The number of movements (eight) is symbolic as well, wrote Messiaen. "Seven is the perfect number, the Creation in six days sanctified by the divine Sabbath; the seventh day of this repose extends into eternity and becomes the eighth day of eternal light, of unalterable peace." 8

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In the first movement, "Crystal Liturgy" "the birds awaken," wrote Messiaen. "A solo blackbird [the clarinet] or nightingale [the violin] improvises, surrounded by dustwhirls of sound [the piano], and by a halo of harmonics lost high up in the trees [the cello]." 9 This movement is extremely rhythmically complex, as each instrumentalist is playing a different rhythm. The first and third sections of the second movement, "Vocalise, for the Angel Who Announces the End of Time," with its aggressive fortissimos and all instrumentalists playing, "evoke the power of this mighty angel, crowned with a rainbow and clothed in a cloud..." wrote Messiaen. "The middle section evokes the impalpable harmonies of heaven. In the piano: gentle cascades of blue-orange chords, encircling with their distant carillon the plainchant-like song of the violin and cello." 10 The blue-orange chords refer to Messiaen’s sound-colour, his association of certain chords with distinct colours. The violin and cello are muted in this section to create an ethereal atmosphere. The third movement, "Abyss of the Birds" for unaccompanied clarinet, was the first movement to be written, as Akoka was the only musician who had been able to bring his instrument with him, having been called to play in a military orchestra at the citadel of Vauban. This movement is in an ABA form, with the A sections representing the darkness of the abyss and the B section signifying the hopefulness of birdsong: "The abyss is Time, with its dreariness and gloom," wrote Messiaen. "The birds are the opposite of Time; they represent our longing for light, for stars, for rainbows, and for jubilant song!" 11 The movement, with its extremely long phrases, and notes to be held for an eternity to signify the abyss, requires the utmost in breath control for the clarinettist. The fourth movement, "Intermède," an interlude for violin, clarinet, and cello, is the lightest in character, and rhythmically and harmonically the simplest as well. It contains melodic recalls that Messiaen suggested served as a foundation for material in some of the other movements. The fifth movement, "Praise to the Eternity of Jesus" for solo cello with piano accompaniment, was reworked from a section of an earlier piece, Fêtes des belles eaux for ondes Martenots (an electronic keyboard instrument). "Here, Jesus is considered the Word of God," wrote Messiaen. "A long phrase in the cello, inexorably slow, glorifies, with adoration and reverence, the eternity of this mighty yet gentle Word 'of which the ages never tire.'"12 The beautiful melody in the cello recalls the Book of Revelation’s moments of sublime peace. The sixth movement, "Dance of Fury, for the Seven Trumpets" provides an example of how Messiaen used rhythm to "banish the temporal." 13 The movement is unmetered and contains Messiaen’s trademark nonretrogradable rhythms, rhythms which remain the same whether read from right to left or from left to right. "The four instruments in unison create the effect of gongs and trumpets," 14 wrote Messiaen. This movement conveys the terror and cataclysm of Revelation. The movement requires that all four instruments play in unison, making intonation and rhythmic ensemble extremely difficult.


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The seventh movement, "Tangle of Rainbows, for the Angel Who Announces the End of Time" recalls the second, noted the composer. "The Angel full of might appears, and in particular the rainbow that crowns him." 15 The eighth movement, for violin and piano, "Praise to the Immortality of Jesus," is the counterpart to the fifth movement. It too was reworked from an earlier piece, the organ work Diptyque. "Long solo for violin," wrote Messiaen. "Why this second eulogy? It addresses more specifically the second aspect of Jesus: Jesus the Man, the Word made flesh, immortally resurrected, to impart us his life. This movement is pure love. The progressive ascent toward the extremely high register represents the ascension of man toward his Lord, of the son of God toward his Father, of deified Man toward Paradise." 16 The sublime beauty of the final movement is emblematic of Messiaen’s unwavering faith in the face of the most trying of circumstances. The Quartet is unique, for it embraces not only a quartet of music, but a quartet of singular musicians, each one of whom was unusual in his own way, each one of whom was involved not only in the art of making music but in the art of relating to one another and in the art of surviving imprisonment in a cruel and turbulent time. In its polarities of clamor and silence, of terror and calm, the Quartet for the End of Time refutes the clichés of captivity, and in its audacious affirmations, demands that the silence surrounding its creation be shattered. Endnotes 1Claude

Samuel, Olivier Messiaen: Music and Color: Conversations with Claude Samuel, trans. E. Thomas Glasow (Portland, OR: Amadeus Press, 1986), 26.




Dictionary of Music, 1972 ed., s.v. "Jeune France, La," 444.


Goléa, Rencontres avec Olivier Messiaen (Paris: René Juilliard, 1960), 63.


Messiaen, Quatuor pour la fin du Temps, score (Paris: Durand, 1942), title page; this and subsequent references in author’s translation. 6Malcolm Hayes, "Instrumental, Orchestral and Choral Works to 1948," in The Messiaen Companion, ed. Peter Hill (Portland: Amadeus Press, 1995), 180. 7Paul

Griffiths, Olivier Messiaen and the Music of Time (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1985), 91.

8 Messiaen,

Quatuor pour la fin du Temps, i.

9 Ibid. 10 Ibid. 11Ibid. 12Ibid,






15Ibid. 16Ibid.

(Programme notes by Prof. Rebecca Rischin, School of Music, Ohio University)

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