AKOKA: Reframing Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time
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Cat No: PTC5186560
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 21st April 2017
Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time)
ArtistsDavid Krakauer (clarinet)
Matt Haimovitz (cello)
Jonathan Crow (violin)
Geoffrey Burleson (piano)
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.
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