Akoka: Reframing Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time


If the title and indeed often unearthly content of Messiaen’s best-known chamber work can lead us to listen to it in refined but also abstracted terms, this ‘reframing’ places the Quartet for the End of Time in the context of its disputed origins, in wartime France and Poland. You can read all about them in Rebecca Rischin’s history For the End of Time (Cornell: 2003, usefully paraphrased in her booklet-notes) but this isn’t just the CD of the book.

 The album title honours one of the quartet’s original performers in Stalag VIII A, the clarinettist Henri Akoka. Through the violinist Étienne Pasquier, Messiaen met .....

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