Classic Sunday – Quartet for the End of Time

A testament for time. Experience a musical snapshot in time from french composer Olivier Messiaen.



Olivier Messiaen: Quartet for the End of Time (1941) 
- Liturgie de cristal
- Vocalise, pour l'Ange qui annonce la fin du Temps
- Abîme des oiseaux
- Intermède
- Louange à l'Éternité de Jésus
- Danse de la fureur, pour les sept trompettes
- Fouillis d'arcs-en-ciel, pour l'Ange qui annonce la fin du Temps
- Louange à l'immortalité de Jésus

French composer Olivier Messiaen was captured by the Germans in June 1940 and sent to a prisoner of war camp in Görlitz. He arrived at the prison camp with an already well-developed tonal language. He discovered several other musicians among the prisoners, and managed to procure pen and paper from a guard in order to compose. The chamber piece he wrote, for piano, violin, cello and clarinet (dictated by the instruments played by the inmates), was inspired by the New Testament’s Book of Revelations. The first performance took place on 15 January 1941 in cold conditions on partially broken instruments in front of a large audience of prisoners and guards, with Messiaen himself on piano.  ‘Never had I been listened to with so much attention and understanding’, the composer said about the experience.

The Quartet has become a staple of 20th century repertoire, and is a musical snapshot in time.

Andjei Maevski, clarinet
Victoria Putterman, violin
Jan Koop, cello
Yoko Toda, piano


Chamber music has been an important part of the history of MUNCH right from the start in 1963. We continue this tradition at Bjørvika through our collaborations with the Oslo Philharmonic and the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. Our Classic Sunday matinees present chamber music in many different formats, from the traditional classical canon to the cutting edge and experimental.