March 10, 2014

Vol. 29 , No. 08   


View Entire Issue (Vol. 29 , No. 08)


Tzigane by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
Quatour pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time) by Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
ENSEMBLE SAN FRANCISCO
ROMAN FUKSHANSKY, clarinet
JONAH KIM, cello
CHRISTINE MCLEAVEY PAYNE, piano
MONI SIMEONOV, violin
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2014

Ensemble San Francisco (ESF) was founded in early 2013 by clarinetist Roman Fukshansky and pianist Christine McLeavey Payne. This group of acclaimed musicians is committed to creating a fresh and exciting classical music concert style and expanding the love of classical music to new audiences. Athenaeum guests will now have a rare and wonderful opportunity to experience a performance of Quartet for the End of Time by Olivier Messiaen, as well as Tzigane for violin and piano by Maurice Ravel.

Completed in 1941 the Quartet for the End of Time was written during Messiaen’s imprisonment at the German prisoner-of-war camp “Stalag VIII-A.” With 3 fellow professional musicians finding themselves captive at the same camp, Messiaen orchestrated it for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano. It was premiered at the camp on January 15th, 1941 with Messiaen himself at the piano, and attended by approximately 400 prisoners and guards. The four prisoners took the stage, unveiling one of the greatest masterpieces of 20th century classical music. “Never have I been listened to with such attention and comprehension” writes Messiaen about the performance. Corinna Da Fonseca-Wollheim, a classical music correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, writes that Quartet for the End of Time is a “work of transcending beauty with moments of archangel-like severity…a compositional tour-de-force that encompasses medieval modes and Indian rhythmic cycles, birdsong transcriptions and bold orchestrations.”

Dedicated to and commissioned by the Hungarian violinist Jelly d’Aranyi, Tzigane had its premiere in London on April 26, 1924. The title Tzigane refers to a common European term for “gypsy.”