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Just in time for Sunday, Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps
March 4, 2012 12:26 AM   Subscribe

Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time is beautiful and strange. The approximately fifty minute piece was written and premiered in a Nazi prison camp, having grown out of the composers friendship with musicians he met while imprisoned.

Of course, it is on youtube. (entire piece in one video, with score)

There are many videos of its individual movements; 3, 5 and 8 are particularly popular. Here are a few.

I. Liturgie de cristal (Liturgy of Crystal)
II. Vocalise, pour l'Ange qui annonce la fin du Temps (Vocalise, for the Angel who Announces the End of Time)
III. Abîme des oiseaux (Abyss of Birds)
IV. Intermède (Interlude)
V. Louange à l'Éternité de Jésus (Praise to the Eternity of Jesus)
VI. Danse de la fureur, pour les sept trompettes (Dance of Fury, for the Seven Trumpets)
VII. Fouillis d'arcs-en-ciel, pour l'Ange qui annonce la fin du Temps (Tangle of Rainbows, for the Angel who Announces the End of Time)
VIII. Louange à l'Immortalité de Jésus (Praise to the Immortality of Jesus)
posted by idiopath (21 comments total) 60 users marked this as a favorite

 
For what it's worth, this is my favourite recorded version (but I'm no expert by any means).
posted by WalkingAround at 12:31 AM on March 4, 2012


Thank you sir, this truly is beautiful and strange
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 12:32 AM on March 4, 2012


One of my favourite classical pieces. Thanks for posting this!
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 12:40 AM on March 4, 2012


His organ music is mind-blowing. Jennifer Bate is the most prominent interpreter.
posted by Trurl at 1:25 AM on March 4, 2012


French organist Olivier Latry also plays a mean Messiaen.
posted by WalkingAround at 1:37 AM on March 4, 2012


While the Messiaen quartet is fantastic, the same does not apply unfortunately to Trajal Harrell’s 80-minute dance of the same name. The work resulted in one of the most savage New York Times reviews I've ever seen, an honor that, in my humble opinion, is richly deserved. The opening paragraph of the review pretty much sums it up, and it's all downhill from there:
"At one point in Trajal Harrell’s 80-minute “Quartet for the End of Time” each of the four performers comes to the front of the stage and says, more than once, “I hope there is someone that will take care of me when I die.” I am afraid that appearing in this production may not prove their best way to realize that hope."
posted by zachlipton at 2:02 AM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


What a treat, I had never heard of this artist before.
What a unique work, I love it.
...and to find out Messiaen incorporated bird song
into his pieces really made my evening.
posted by quazichimp at 2:16 AM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


3, 5 and 8 are particularly popular.

It's more rational to listen to 1, 1, and 2 first.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:52 AM on March 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


That's a fib.
posted by Gyan at 3:22 AM on March 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


...and to find out Messiaen incorporated bird song

previously...
posted by ennui.bz at 6:10 AM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


A wonderful composer!

The Trois Liturgies de la Presence Divine are a great next step.

And for those of us in the States, American orchestras are finally starting to play his music, so check your local listings...
posted by doubtfulpalace at 7:39 AM on March 4, 2012


Pop culture trivia: Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood cites Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony as his favourite piece of music. (Source: Wikipedia.)
posted by WalkingAround at 8:22 AM on March 4, 2012


(^ That's why he plays the ondes martenot rather than guitar on Kid A.)
posted by LooseFilter at 8:26 AM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


(or so much, rather, bc he does play some guitar on that album of course. Greenwood is also composing himself nowadays, with quite excellent results.)
posted by LooseFilter at 8:28 AM on March 4, 2012


Louange à l'Éternité de Jésus (#5) is the score to many of my more melancholic periods.
posted by Think_Long at 8:48 AM on March 4, 2012


In music school, we called it 'Quartet For the End of Term'....since it's usually performed then!
posted by cherryflute at 8:52 AM on March 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I like his Réveil des oiseaux, which is based on the calls of birds in the morning.
posted by winna at 8:54 AM on March 4, 2012


It's a bit sad that the only references I can find to Karl-Albert Brüll are in relation to this story. It would be interesting to know more about him.

Also, "Brüll" is an awesome name for a prison guard.
posted by Slothrup at 10:02 AM on March 4, 2012


Oh, this is rather good: thanks for posting it.

I'm not normally one for classical music in any form, but this is very enjoyable.
posted by 43rdAnd9th at 12:22 PM on March 4, 2012


Louange à l'Éternité de Jésus is so heartbreakingly beautiful. One of my favorite pieces, ever.
posted by ghegar at 2:07 PM on March 4, 2012


A musician friend turned me on to Messiaen a few years ago. And yes, the Louange really is painfully good. I don't have colored hearing, but that piece comes closer than anything to inducing synesthesia with the vast spaces it opens up in my head.
posted by otherthings_ at 12:09 AM on March 5, 2012


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