Truly a quartet for the end of time

Truly a quartet for the end of time


norman lebrecht

June 11, 2020

Musicians in Munich yesterday behind improvised screens, recording Messiaen’s Quatuor pour le fin du temps.

Will it never end?

photo: Thorsten Cremer


  • My thoughts says:

    At least they’re doing something! It’s heartwarming to see musicians trying whatever they can to adapt to a situation that could threaten the industry’s existence.

    Speaking as a musician, I’m going to put my thoughts forward: NL is the most unhelpful and irrelevant source of opinion in this time where musicians actually need to be banding together, rather than projecting ideals from the safety of one’s computer.

    • Player says:

      I agree that it’s good to see musicians trying to make music, despite the circumstances. However, I respectfully disagree with you about Norman. I enjoy and learn from many of his writings and recorded offerings. This blog keeps us connected, which is even more important now that our industry is mostly on pause.

      The level of uncertainty now faced by performers is unprecedented. We can acknowledge our fear and the difficulty of the situation while simultaneously celebrating any progress we observe.

      • Anna says:

        Too many factual errors and bias in NL’s writing – not even close to decent journalism, never mind music scholarship!

        • Olassus says:

          This is like going to a party and then hearing other guests complain about the host.

          Go away — or better yet, form your own damn blog and following!

  • yujafan says:

    would seem very timely

  • Dennis says:

    Will what never end? The world and time? Or the Covid paranoia? Lately, I’m holding out more hope for the former. It probably has a better chance of coming true, and then we can all have some rest.

  • Bruce says:

    So when he says “will it never end,” is he talking about the attempt to continue performances in some fashion during lockdown, or the lockdown itself? When I first read the post, I thought the latter; now, I wonder.

    Or are people putting their own spin on what they think he means? (Come to think of it, I guess that’s what I was doing…)

    • Sixtus says:

      I myself thought that NL was referring to the Messiaen piece itself. Like much of Messiaen’s music, the Quartet can seem interminable if not performed with full commitment and under circumstances and in an environment that allow an equal commitment by the audience.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Messiaen’s “Quatuor pour le fin du temps”: one of the greatest compositions of the 20th c.
    I hope this recording effort is successful!

  • Edgar Self says:

    Beautiful titles help,– I think of Delius, where they are sometimes the best thing. Then I remember the circumstances in which Messiaen wrote it, in a detention camp early in the second world war, with whatever at hand dictating the instrumentation, and its literally captive audience, and ersolve to know it better, with Greg’s encouragement.