Written in a German prison camp during World War II, Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time was premiered by the composer to an audience of guards and fellow prisoners. Evoking sounds and imagery from his surroundings, including the famous birdsong clarinet solo, Messiaen’s powerful quartet transcends the dark circumstances of its inspiration and attempts to give new meaning to the word eternity. By the final movement, time seems to slip away, bringing to mind the apocalyptic passage that inspired the work’s title: “There shall be no more time.”
MESSIAEN Quartet for the End of Time
Sponsorship support for CSO Sessions is generously provided by the Zell Family Foundation; an anonymous donor; Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund; JCS Arts, Health and Education Fund of the DuPage Foundation; the Julian Family Foundation, in honor of Cristina Rocca; Cynthia M. Sargent; Megan and Steve Shebik; Betty W. Smykal; TAWANI Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; ITW, and PNC.