ED2021 Music Reviews

Sacred Arts Festival At St Vincent’s: Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet For The End Of Time (Calum Robertson, director and clarinet)

By | Published on Sunday 22 August 2021

This year there was no familiar coughing or throat clearing during this impressive chamber concert; that alone was reminiscent of Messiaen’s famous quotation, “Never have I been listened to with such rapt attention and comprehension”, pertaining to the premiere performed before fellow POWs in Stalag VIII-A during WW2. The standard of playing was exceptional – another echo of that night in 1941 when all seemed lost. The balance of the instruments interpreted Messiaen’s intentions well and the musicians moved together through the music precisely, conveying the end of time suggested by his difficult rhythms and tonal structures. Messiaen’s “little servants of immaterial joy” – birdsong – provided the melodies and we left the chapel reminded why this is one of the most significant works of the twentieth century.

St Vincent’s, run ended.
tw rating 5/5 | [Louise Rodgers]