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Powerful Wartime Piece Gets Rare Performance at U of M
For release: Jan. 11, 2006
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On Monday, January 30, the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis welcomes a performance of Olivier Messiaen’s profoundly moving Quartet for the End of Time, written during WWII while the French composer was held captive in a Nazi prison camp. The performance is at 7:30 p.m. in Harris Concert Hall.

Composed in 1940, the mystical Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps was inspired by the Biblical Book of Revelation and is built of eight movements with highly evocative titles such as “Dance of the fury, for the seven trumpets” and “Abyss of the Birds.” It features the rather unusual combination of violin, piano, clarinet and cello (a result of the makeshift instruments available at the concentration camp).

The work was premiered in Stalag 8-A on Jan. 15, 1941, in front of 5000 prisoners with Messiaen himself on piano. Today, the Quartet for the End of Time is not only recognized as one of the composer’s most important pieces, but one of the most spiritually and topically informed works of the Twentieth Century.

The School of Music’s performance is part of the Faculty Chamber Series and will feature faculty members Timothy Shiu, violin and pianist Victor Santiago Asunción along with Memphis Symphony Orchestra principal cellist Jake Muzzy and visiting clarinetist Daniel Silver of the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Shui, Assistant Professor of Violin, is a member of the locally-based Ceruti String Quartet and a founding member of the Maia String Quartet. Phillipines-born Asunción is Assistant Professor of Piano and Collaborative Piano and has fast built a reputation as accompanist with performers from Lynn Harrell to the Vega and Emerson String Quartets.

The concert is free to the public. Call 678-5400 for more information.

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Last updated: 03/18/2008 16:13:19
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