Concert 3: Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time (Chicago)
March 16, 2019
3:00 pm
Chicago
PianoForte Chicago
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Program

Antonio Vivaldi | Concerto in D Major, RV 84  (flute/violin/cello)
Seth Boustead | Three for Zhou B (flute/clarinet/violin/cello)
Olivier Messiaen | Quartet for the End of Time  (clarinet/violin/cello/piano)

Picosa Artists

Jennie Oh Brown | flute
Andrea R. DiOrio | clarinet
Elizabeth Brausa Brathwaite | violin
Paula Kosower | cello
Kuang-Hao Huang | piano
Jonathon Kirk | Composer-in-Residence

Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time is a pièce de rèsistance in more ways than one.  His preface to the piece includes a quote from the Book of Revelation:

“And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire … and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth …. And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever … that there should be time no longer: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished …”

Quartet for the End of Time was written while Messiaen was held in a prisoner of war camp in Germany, now in Poland, during World War II.  Fellow prisoners premiered the quartet outside in the freezing rain on January 15, 1941. The title of the work “The End of Time” not only refers to a representation of the apocalypse, but also musically to an end to traditional concepts of time.  Messiaen was a contemporary French composer who drew inspiration not only from his connection to the Paris Conservatory and his life as a noted contemporary composer, but also from non-western influences from Japan and Indonesian Gamelan, and perhaps most notably in nature itself through birdsongs.

Introducing this epic quartet on the program are two contrasting works.  Vivaldi’s Concerto in D Major, RV 84 is a light and charming baroque work that will be performed in a modern context on flute, violin, cello, and piano.  Chicago composer Seth Boustead’s Three for Zhou B for flute, clarinet, violin, and cello will be performed with artwork displayed by celebrated contemporary Chinese-American artists the Zhou brothers, ShanZuo and DaHuang Zhou. Join us for this eclectic program that explores the light with the dark and everything in between.