Boundaries and Edges

Music after Messiaen

Olivier Messiaen had few musicians to work with when he was a prisoner in a German POW camp from 1940-41. He wrote the Quartet for the End of Time there for himself, the clarinetist Henri Akoka, the violinist Jean le Boulaire, and the cellist Étienne Pasquier, and they premiered the piece at the camp in January of 1941. The style and innovative structure of the quartet had an enormous influence on music written after it, and the work set this instrumentation as an established 20th and 21st-century chamber ensemble. Nina Shekhar’s Glitch, which serves as a finale for this New Milestones concert, adds to wealth of works by modern and contemporary composers that use Messiaen’s quartet instrumentation to express new, bold stories and musical ideas.

-Nicky Swett