“Quatuor pour la fin du Temps” (“Quartet for the End of Time”) by Olivier Messiaen.
With Dr. Mark Gallagher, Clarinet
The French composer Olivier Messiaen was a prisoner of war in 1941 at Stalag VIII-A in Görlitz, Germany (now Zgorzelec, Poland). While there, he wrote a short trio for the clarinetist Henri Akoka, violinist Jean le Boulaire and cellist Étienne Pasquier; 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. The composition premiered at the camp for an audience of about 400 fellow prisoners and guards on Jan. 15, 1941, and is considered one of the most significant chamber music works of the 20th century.