QUARTET FOR THE END OF TIME
Quatuor pour la fin du temps, for violin, cello, clarinet & piano, I/22
(Richard Stoltzman, Ida Kavafian, Fred Sherry, Peter Serkin)
RCA Red Seal
Olivier Messiaen wrote this piece during World War II, while he was being held prisoner in a German concentration camp. It takes its inspiration from (among other things) the Revelation to Saint John.
The rather odd ensemble grouping is a result of the circumstance that the only musicians in the camp who were proficient enough to perform a work of his, were a violinist, a pianist, a cellist, and a clarinetist. Thus he found a quartet for the end of times.