Quartet for the End of Time

As it was written in a prisoner-of-war camp, I expected Quatuor de la fin du temps to be sad, hopeless, and emotional. In reality, it is as dynamic and complex as the book of Revelation itself.

In the face of hate, this honestly Christian man did not ask, “Why, O Lord?” He said, “I love you.”

I was most fascinated by the third movement clarinet solo. The incredibly long, slow, dynamic notes, followed by a chaos of curiosity. I couldn’t understand how someone could play such a piece.

Clarinetist for the premiere, Henri Akoka, is hardcore, and “as vibrant and unpredictable as the Quartet’s long clarinet solo”.

His escape is detailed:

While being transferred from one camp to another by train, he jumped from the top of a fast-moving cattle car, with his clarinet under his arm.

Movement V is my favourite; a sense of eternity.

It is well played by Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott in another compilation.

The New Yorker contributor Alex Ross, recommends a recording by Tashi; a legendary quartet.

The Wikipedia article helps in explaining the movements.

Link: The New Yorker via Garden City by John Mark Comer