Olivier Messiaen is one of the great composers of the 20th century and the Quartet for the End of Time is probably his most original and poignant chamber work. The piece as recorded on this release pushes all kinds of boundaries, first of all through its genesis in a concentration camp, through the unusual combination of the instruments, and then through the performance by Martin Fröst himself who is known for pushing musical & technical boundaries: "There is something approaching the supernatural about his command of his instrument” said The New York Times. Martin Fröst and Janine Jansen first met 16 years ago and the first piece they ever played together was the Quartet for the End of Time. Torleif Thedeen was also partRead more of that group. This piece left them with a deep sense of connection. They just waited for the right time and circumstances to record it.
Although much recorded in the CD era, I can't recall another version that so persuasively favors the ferocity over the serenity. The ensemble probe the score for every hint of disquiet and unease but no one can doubt the relevance of the result. The booklet notes are excellent, as is the remarkably vivid and well-balanced recording.
Quatuor pour la fin du tempsby Olivier Messiaen Performer:
Lucas Debargue (Piano),
Martin Fröst (Clarinet),
Janine Jansen (Violin),
Torleif Thedéen (Cello)
Period: 20th Century Written: 1940; Silesia, Poland