Jan 12, 2004

Just back from Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time," at the HBS chapel, which really is a lovely building. It's too bad it is tucked away in the Death Star that is the HBS campus. The circular building provided good accoustics for the piece, amplifying the sustained blasts of "Abyss of the Birds" which invoke air-raid sirens and the drones of B-52's. It's a drag that the cultural significance of the piece was probably missed by many of those in attendance. But Messiaen's apocalyptic are as relvant today as they ever were in 1941, the only difference I suppose being that presently it's performed on high-end instruments in the relative comfort of the HBS campus, as opposed to beaten ones and a broken piano in the midst of a prison camp. The music itself, however, is the same.

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