Olivier Messiaen: Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Partition)
Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Partition)
Olivier Messiaen (1908 - 1992)
Violin, clarinet, cello and piano
Messiaen was 31 years old when France entered the war against Germany. He was captured by the German army during World War II in June 1940 and was imprisoned in a prisoner-of-war camp. While in transit to the prisoner of war camp, Messiaen showed the clarinetist Henri Akoka, also a prisoner, the sketches for what would become Abîme des oiseaux. Two other professional musicians were also among his fellow prisoners (violinist Jean le Boulaire and cellist Étienne Pasquier), and after he managed to obtain some paper and a small pencil from a sympathetic guard, Messiaen wrote a short trio for them; this piece developed into the Quatuor for the same trio with himself at the piano. The combination of instruments is unusual, but not without precedent: Walter Rabl had composed for it in 1896, as had Paul Hindemith in 1938.
The quartet was premiered in Stalag VIII-A in Görlitz, Germany (currently Zgorzelec, Poland) outdoors in the rain on January 15, 1941, with old, broken instruments before an audience of about four hundred fellow prisoners of war and prison guards.(ISMN 9790044067787)