To say the very least, the years 2020 and 2021 have been unprecedented. In the age of COVID-19, the experience of time seems to have shifted. Technology has changed the connectedness of humanity and our presence on the planet. Quartet For The End Of Time was composed in the dead of winter of 1940-41, in Stalag VIII-A – a prisoner-of-war camp in Grlitz, Germany – Messiaen wrote the quartet for himself on piano and the instrumentalists on hand from among the camps inmates. At its premiere, time itself was also in question and this piece is more timely than ever. The work is inspired by the following passage from the book of Revelation 10:5-7.
5 Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven.
6 And he swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and everything in it, the earth and everything in it, and the sea and everything in it: There will be no more delay!
7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be fulfilled, just as He proclaimed to His servants the prophets.
Violinist Kate Dreyfuss, clarinettist Wesley Rhodes, cellist Kenneth Stewart and pianist Jil Christensen will present a concert featuring Quartet For The End Of Time and works that weave classical instruments alongside electronic and processing at Motorco Music Hall in Durham, NC on June 12th, 2021.
Rounding out the program will be Julia Wolfe’s With A Blue Dress On, a piece inspired by the classic fiddle tune and the playing of Bruce Molesky, a new collaboratively composed piece featuring improvisation and electronics by Jil Christensen and Kenneth D. Stewart, and the piece Searching For The Edge for bass clarinet by Zachary W. Smith. Additionally the ensemble will be augmenting the Quartet For The End Of Time with amplification, synthesizers and effects.