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Messiaen’s traditional of the chamber repertoire takes the Highlight at St John’s Waterloo – Seen and Heard Worldwide


United Kingdom Messiaen: Anthony Buddy (clarinet), Agata Daraskaite (violin), Peteris Sokolsvskis (cello), James Cheung (piano). St John’s Waterloo, London, 20.11.2022. (MB)

Messiaen’s  Quatuor pour la fin du temps © Matthew Johnson

Messiaen – Quatuor pour la fin du temps

What a pleasure to return to a brand new sequence of Highlight Chamber Concert events, itself returning to St John’s Waterloo following refurbishment (and searching like new). Right here a single work was on the programme, Messiaen’s Quartet for the Finish of Time, sounding ever extra a traditional of the chamber repertoire with each advantageous efficiency, of which this was definitely one. A quartet of younger musicians, clarinetist Anthony Buddy (additionally presiding impresario of the sequence as a complete), violinist Agata Daraskaite, cellist Peteris Sokolvskis, and pianist James Cheung supplied an eminently musicianly view of Messiaen’s work that, rightly, felt no must dwell one-sidedly on circumstances of composition, leaving area for all to seek out their very own standpoint. Hope, pleasure, and the thriller of God can take many types — and admittedly, proper now, we needs to be nicely suggested to take what we are able to.

The opening ‘Liturgie de cristal’, with all 4 devices rendering metre and concord immanent, hypnotised, entranced, and had one imagine. Infinitely versatile inside an iron framework, it set the scene splendidly for what was to observe, whether or not in affinity or distinction. The approaching of the angel who broadcasts the top of time within the following ‘Vocalise’ definitely supplied instant, declamatorily apocalyptic distinction, itself adopted by the numerous faces or melodies of that angel in well-nigh hallucinatory trend. Their sweetness was each unreal and hyper-real: not not like the colors of a world created anew after a storm.

The solo clarinet ‘Abîme des oiseaux’, in related paradox, appeared to stretch time in order each to have all that in our world and, but, in that of the piece solely simply sufficient (becoming, given the top of time itself introduced). In Buddy’s efficiency, it emerged, intriguingly, as an inheritor to the cor anglais solo, past good and evil, within the third act of Tristan und Isolde, a piece whose enraptured victims definitely included Messiaen. A shepherd music, but sweeter, even perhaps stranger, nonetheless extra mysterious, it was expertly formed in efficiency in order to not sound formed in any respect. It was spellbinding, however then so was a lot else, as an illustration the dual reduction and intensification of the following transient ‘Intermède’. Solely after did one have pause to suppose how tough it’s to put in writing for clarinet, violin, cello, and no piano.

Cheung’s piano returned, after all, for the celebrated ‘Louange à l’Éternité de Jésus’ with cello. Unhurried, by no means dragging, it all the time moved, seemingly based on a way of harmonic rhythm from which all else grew. It was as intense because it was big-hearted, Sokolovskis’s vibrato beneficiant, but by no means extreme. The unusual unisons of ‘Danse de la fureur, pour les sept trompettes’ glistened, gleamed, glowed, and infrequently glowered.

Such heat precision was felt once more, just like the rainbows of which the motion advised, in ‘Fouillis d’arcs en-ciel, pour l’Ange qui annonce la fin du temps’. There was darkness too, but all the time vibrant darkness, the angel’s swords of fireside palpably current with out must underline. The ultimate ‘Louange à l’Immortalité de Jésus’ sounded very a lot a kindred spirit to the sooner ‘Louange’, solely this time with violin and piano. Daraskaite’s rich-toned, equally beneficiant taking part in contributed movingly in direction of a comfort that got here near passing all understanding.

Mark Berry

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