Magazine article Gramophone

Messiaen Krakauer * Socalled: 'Akoka: Reframing Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time'

Magazine article Gramophone

Messiaen Krakauer * Socalled: 'Akoka: Reframing Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time'

Article excerpt

Messiaen Krakauer * Socalled

'Akoka: Reframing Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time' Krakauer Akoka Messian Quatuor pour la fin du temps Socalled Meanwhile ... David Krakauer cl Jonathan Crow vn Matt Haimovitzi vc Geoffrey Burleson pf Socalled elecs Pentatone (F) [SACD] PTC5186 560 (64' * DDD)

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 Etienne Pasquier, Messiaen met Akoka in Verdun, and began composing what became the third-movement 'Abime des oiseaux' before they were captured and deported together. David Krakauer has composed a wild, keening improvisation, klezmer on crack, crunching Akoka's Algerian-Jewish heritage with fragments of the Quartet to come. …

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