Quatuor pour la fin du temps, also known by its English title Quartet for the End of Time, is a piece of chamber music by the French composer Olivier Messiaen. It was premiered in 1941. The piece is scored for clarinet (in B-flat), violin, cello, and piano; a typical performance of the complete work lasts about 50 minutes. Messiaen wrote the piece while a prisoner of war in German captivity and it was first performed by his fellow prisoners. It has come to be recognized as one of his most important works.
This is the 5th movement of the 8-movement work, “Louange à l’Éternité de Jésus”. The composer wrote:
“Jesus is considered here as the Word. A broad phrase, “infinitely slow”, on the cello, magnifies with love and reverence the eternity of the Word, powerful and gentle, “whose time never runs out”. The melody stretches majestically into a kind of gentle, regal distance. “In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1)
On the header, photo by Hadzhi Hristo Chorbadzhi.