The Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time) is among the best-known compositions by Olivier Messiaen (1908–92). Like virtually all of his works, it combines the striking technical achievement of Messiaen's rich and attractive musical style with a deeply felt theological inspiration - in this case from the apocalyptic events described in the Book of Revelation, leading to the end of Time itself. Composed while Messiaen was a prisoner-of-war and premiered under extraordinary conditions in Stalag VIIIA in 1941, the work retains a powerful immediacy that has made it a favourite of performers and audiences alike. Anthony Pople's book provides an introduction to Messiaen's style through an examination of this great work, showing how it came to be composed and giving an in-depth assessment of each of its eight movements.
Source: BBC Music Magazine
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