Akoka: Reframing Messiaen's Quartet For The End Of

Album cover art for upc 827949056062
Label: PENTATONE CLASSICS
Catalog: PTC5186560
Format: SACD

Burleson, Geoffrey; Crow, Jonathan; Krakauer, David; Krakauer, Alexander; Nuttall, Geoff; Chiu, Frederic; Haimovitz, Matt; Socalled,

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 lift 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 re-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.

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