This book is the first comprehensive history of the composition and premiere of Quartet for the End of Time. Based on testimonies by the musicians and their families, witnesses to the premiere, former prisoners, and documents from Stalag VIIIA, For the End of Time examines the events that led to the Quartet’s composition, the experiences of the musicians in the camp, the contradictory accounts, the composer’s interpretive preferences, and the musicians’ problems in execution and how they affected the premiere and subsequent performances. Rebecca Rischin explores the musicians’ life in the prison camp, their relationships with each other and with the German camp officials, and their intriguing fortunes before and after the momentous premiere.
For the End of Time is distinguished by Rischin’s extensive interviews and intimate correspondence with survivors of the Quartet’s premiere and members of the Messiaen circle, including the cellist Etienne Pasquier and the violinist Jean Le Boulaire, relatives of the clarinetist Henri Akoka, and Messiaen’s widow, Yvonne Loriod. The book is generously illustrated with photographs of the musicians, press releases from the premiere, autographs, letters, and pen-and-ink drawings of the camp’s layout. Included are wartime photos of the camp and its prisoners along with present-day views of the camp site, which Rischin visited in 1995.
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Pasquier's stories about listening to the birds at dawn with Messiaen during early-morning watches, and Messiaen's decision to imitate the birds in a short piece for Akoka to play on his clarinet, support her contention: this sketch was to become "Abîme des oiseaux," the third movement of the Qua...| Read Full Review of For the End of Time: The Stor...
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