Thursday, March 5, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Left Coast Chamber Ensemble to play Messiaen’s ‘Quartet for the End of Time,’ plus San Martin’s companion piece

Members of the group Left Coast Chamber Ensemble — Anna Presler (violin), Eric Zivian (piano), Tanya Tomkins (cello) and Jerry Simas (clarinet) — will be performing in the concert at the Mondavi Center on Saturday, May 11. Courtesy photo

By
From page A11 | May 07, 2013 |

Check it out

What: Left Coast

Where: Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center

When: 2 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: $20 general, $8 for students

Info: Visit www.mondaviarts.org or call 530-754-2787

Four members of the Bay Area-based Left Coast Chamber Ensemble will perform at the Mondavi Center at 2 p.m. Saturday, presenting the well-known “Quatuor pour la fin du temps” (“Quartet for the End of Time”) by the French composer Olivier Messiaen, and a more recent piece by composer Laurie San Martin of UC Davis, written for the same instruments as the Messiaen piece, which served as inspiration.

During 1940, while Europe was in the throes of World War II, Messiaen (1908-92) was interned in a German prison camp, where he discovered among his fellow prisoners a clarinetist, a violinist and a cellist, and Messiaen was a pianist. Given that these were the only musical resources available under very difficult circumstances, Messiaen proceeded to obtain a supply of paper and a pencil (through the assistance of a sympathetic guard) and composed his “Quartet for the End of Time” for those four instruments.

Messiaen and his friends first performed the piece for an audience of prisoners and guards at the camp on Jan. 15, 1941, using instruments that were not in the best repair, including a rickety piano. The piece was recorded after the war ended, and has become one of Messiaen’s best-known works.

While the facts of the work’s origins are straightforward and simple, the spiritual nature of Messiaen’s quartet is more complex. Messiaen’s sense of religious mysticism was attracted to a passage in the Book of Revelation (chapter 10) about the descent of the seventh angel, at the sound of whose trumpet the mystery of God will be consummated, and who announces “that there should be time no longer.”

According to the composer, the quartet was intended not to be a commentary on the apocalypse, nor to refer to his own captivity, but to be a kind of musical extension of the biblical account, and of the concept of the end of time as the end of past and future and the beginning of eternity.

The musical architecture of the quartet includes eight movements, because God rested on the seventh day after creation, a day that extended into the eighth day of timeless eternity. The movements within the piece also include intricate thematic relationships, as for example between movements two and seven, both of which are about the angel; and stylistic and theological relationships, as between movements five and eight.

Messiaen’s quartet has inspired any number of composers in the decades that followed, including San Martin, who took part in a performance of the piece in 1991, an experience she said left the music “simmering in my mind for years.” Later, San Martin got the opportunity to compose a new piece of her own for the same four instruments that Messiaen had used in his quartet: San Martin’s ‘Objets Trouvés’ was written for the Left Coast Chamber with the idea that it could be played as a companion piece alongside the Messiaen.

While Messiaen’s music provided the inspiration, “There were only a few instances where I actually took out the Messiaen score and stole a measure or two,” San Martin said. “Most of the references are less concrete, and are not necessarily noticeable.”

She added that ” ‘Objets’ is in three movements (fast-slow-fast). What’s unusual about the first movement is how long the audience has to wait for the clarinet to enter. When the clarinet does finally come in, it takes over with a long solo section that is free, lyrical and erratic, similar to the third movement of ‘Quatuor.’ Gradually the other players join the clarinet and return to the brisk unsettled music from the opening.

The second movement is slow and lyrical, memorable for the steady eighth-note accompanimental pattern in the piano (which is an arpeggiation of Messiaen-like chords). The last movement is a tour de force. It begins with an explosion of energy and continues to an intense climax. The piece closes with a return of the serene music from movement two.”

Four members of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble will perform these pieces by Messiaen and San Martin: Anna Presler (violin), Tanya Tomkins (cello), Jerry Simas (clarinet) and Eric Zivian (piano).

The concert will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre at the Mondavi Center. Tickets are $20 general, $8 for students, available at www.mondaviarts.org or 530-754-2787.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Mother pleads not guilty to lesser charges in baby’s death

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    ‘The Liar’ will have audiences in stitches

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Hibbert Lumber honored as an Owl Wise Leader

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bob Dunning: Is there a fair way out of this?

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

     
    Fiesta dinner, auction benefit Chávez School

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    World Language Fair brings nations to Davis

    By Krystal Lau | From Page: A3

     
    Get crackin’ for Yolo Crisis Nursery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Taizé service set Friday at DCC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Climate Lobby will meet March 11

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Be featured in Woodland’s water-wise landscape tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    UFC speaker series gives ‘A Winemaker’s Journey’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Speaker will illuminate universe’s dark side

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Divorce options covered in Saturday workshop

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Author events coming up at The Avid Reader

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Community forum with police will address hate in Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    .

    Forum

    Migratory waterfowl threatened

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Dog in shopping cart concerning

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Drought stresses California’s trees

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Initiative carnival coming next year

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    Hunting has many benefits

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    This river needs our help

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Vernal pools are in danger

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    DHS boys track team has high aspirations

    By Dylan Lee | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Blue Devil boys mash Marauders

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils’ big inning is the difference in baseball opener

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS golfers dominate Elk Grove

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Davis softball offense explodes for first win

    By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Youth roundup: U15 Knights rout El Dorado Hills

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Youth soccer: Barker lights it up for Blue Thunder

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: DHS swimmers speed past Herd

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    DHS sophomore honored for volunteerism

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A5

     
    .

    Arts

     
    Hear EZ Street Saturday at winery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    UC Davis bands perform on March 11

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

    Wealth of Nations plays Saturday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    ‘Witness for the Prosecution’ to be screened Sunday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    Resler releases memoir, ‘The Last Protégée’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Athens Guitar Duo to perform at Davis Arts Center

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, March 5, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B6