“I saw a mighty angel descend from heaven, clad in mist.” So begins Olivier Messiaen’s introduction to this work, composed and premiered in a prisoner of war camp, which transcends its medium to become one of music’s most powerful, life-changing experiences. Brahms in his most introspective mood, and Stravinsky nodding to the Classical style, lead to Messiaen’s mesmerizing, mystical depiction of the apocalypse, amid bird calls, the sound of seven trumpets, and a final, hypnotic affirmation of immortality.
Program Brahms Sonata in F minor for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 120, No. 1 (1894) Stravinsky Suite italienne for Violin and Piano (1932) Messiaen Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time) for Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano (1940-41)