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In 1940, Messiaen was taken prisoner by the invading Germans and sent to a camp in Silesia, Stalag VIIIA, where he was held for two years. There he composed the Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time) and it was performed in the camp on 15 January 1941 in front of 5,000 of his fellow prisoners. Messiaen was constrained in the scoring of this piece by what was available to him in terms of instruments and players.
Quatuor pour la fin du temps represents the culmination of Messiaen's first stylistic period. In this first phase of his creativity, Messiaen evolved a rich, integrated style that sought to paint a picture as well as to express a feeling. Most of his compositions, including this one, drew their inspiration from religion and bird song.

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Ticket Price £16, Free for 16 and Under


  • Messiaen - Quatuor pour la fin du temps


  • Freya Goldmark, director, violin
  • Peteris Sokolovskis, cello
  • Joseph Havlat, piano
  • Anna Webster, clarinet