Messiaen makes it onto Jungle TV

Messiaen makes it onto Jungle TV


norman lebrecht

December 14, 2016

Cast members of the Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle have shot an episode at New York’s Rikers Island jail complex, playing Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Times for about 100 inmates.

The work was conceived by Messiaen in 1940 when he was held in a prisoner of war camp.

It will give his music its widest-ever exposure when transmitted. The episode, known as “Not Yet Titled,” has also not yet been scheduled.

Full story here.


  • Mikey says:

    I think it’s a rather crass choice of venue.
    The Quatuor was not written for “prison inmates” but for people unjustly interned in camps of war.
    Performing it in this setting trivializes the original intent of the work.

    • John Cheek says:

      Much of the population of Riker’s Island are poor people accused but not convicted of a crime who are awaiting trial and unable to afford bail. It is a horrific snake pit of violence and abuse by guards

  • George says:

    Not Messiaen’s best piece.

    • Me says:

      Well, Turangalila might have been more expensive to mount under such circumstances……

    • George says:

      Oiseaux exotiques
      Sept Haikai
      Reveil des oiseaux
      Couleurs de la cite celeste
      Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum

      Those are Messiean’s great pieces.

      • jaypee says:

        “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

        No Vingt regards? No Des canyons aux étoiles? No Trois petites liturgies? No organ work at all?

        • George says:

          Those works are fine too. But I find the organ to be somewhat of an archaic instrument, good for baroque and renaissance music…nonetheless, Messiaen was very inventive with it.

  • Eric says:

    The episode isn’t only scheduled, it’s also available RIGHT NOW. Amazon, at least in the USA, launched the ENTIRE season last week, so you can watch it after reading this. They also played Turangilila, among other Messaien excerpts. They did a brilliant job with this episode.