AKOKA: Reframing Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time | Pentatone PTC5186560

AKOKA: Reframing Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time

£12.56

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Label: Pentatone

Cat No: PTC5186560

Format: SACD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 21st April 2017

Contents

Artists

David Krakauer (clarinet)
Matt Haimovitz (cello)
Jonathan Crow (violin)
Geoffrey Burleson (piano)
Socalled (electronics)

Works

Krakauer, Alexander

Akoka

Messiaen, Olivier

Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time)

Socalled

meanwhile...

Artists

David Krakauer (clarinet)
Matt Haimovitz (cello)
Jonathan Crow (violin)
Geoffrey Burleson (piano)
Socalled (electronics)

About

This release fits into the Pentatone Oxingale series, which was established when Pentatone and Oxingale Records joined forces in February 2015.

In their “brilliantly inventive” (The New York Times) live recording, clarinetist David Krakauer and cellist Matt Haimovitz’s AKOKA lifts Messiaen’s transcendent 1940-41 work Quartet for the End of Time out of the polite context of a chamber music performance, placing it in a dramatic 21st-century setting that drives home its gravity and impact.

AKOKA was inspired by the wartime experience of Jewish clarinetist Henri Akoka, who premiered the Quartet for the End of Time with Messiaen himself at the German prisoner-of-war camp in which they were both interred. Henri Akoka’s vibrant personality and the story of his survival, with all its twists and turns, is the inspiration for this recording, which brings out the human aspect of this composition, seen through the eyes of one individual caught up in terrifying events beyond his control. Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time is bookended by Akoka, Krakauer’s highly improvisational, Sephardic-tinged piece, and meanwhile... - a mix by hip-hop/klezmer artist Socalled, who joins the ensemble on electronics. As the forces of fundamentalism, intolerance and violence intensify in today’s world, this mounting of Messiaen’s great work is all the more timely.

“This brilliantly inventive recording pays tribute to Henri Akoka, the Algerian born clarinettist. Framing a vivid rendition of the ‘Quartet for the End of Time’ are two musical flights of fancy, an improvisation by the extraordinary clarinetist David Krakauer, and an electronic remix of the quartet by Socalled.”
- The New York Times.

Reviews

The Messiaen performance puts a human face on a disparate body. I hear the piece a little differently now, and love it a little more, and what more can a recording do?  Peter Quantrill
Gramophone July 2017

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