Janine Jansen, Pablo Ferrández, Martin Fröst & Denis Kozhukhin
27.08.24 > 19:30

> Cathédrale de Notre-Dame de Sion


In homage to the Angel of the Apocalypse,

who raises his hand to the heavens and says,

“There will be no more Time”.


15 January 1941, Stalag VIII-A – Görlitz (Silesia), several hundred prisoners of war gathered in the freezing cold for a concert. On makeshift instruments, four musicians, including Olivier Messiaen at the piano, created one of the most influential works of the twentieth century: the Quartet for the End of Time. During his imprisonment, the composer met a clarinettist, a violinist and a cellist among the prisoners and composed a suite of eight tableaux inspired by the Book of Revelation of Saint John for this unusual group of musicians.


We experience eternity through the sound language of this quartet. At once a theological dimension and a compositional challenge, this timelessness manifests itself in an innovative treatment of rhythm and harmony, foreshadowing the whole of Messiaen’s work. Birdsong, Greek and Hindu rhythms intermingle in this score that looks “towards the invisible and the inexpressible”.


Over the course of the eight movements, we experience this stretching of time in different ways. The crystal-clear sound of the Liturgie de cristal (Cristal liturgy), which opens the quartet, evokes infinite space and suspended time. The rhythmically rigorous Danse de la fureur pour les sept trompettes (Dance of fury for the seven trumpets) conjures up an apocalyptic vision of the Last Judgement. Contemplative, the Louange à l’ Eternité de Jésus (Praise for the Eternity of Jesus) brings piano and cello together in absolute calm. By questioning the religious and philosophical idea of eternity, Messiaen takes us on an incredible journey out of time.


O. Messiaen  /  Quatuor pour la fin du Temps


Concert venue

Cathédrale de Notre-Dame de Sion
rue de la Cathédrale 13
1950 Sion