Composed while Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) was imprisoned by the Nazis in Stalag VIII, A Quartet for the End of Time premiered in January 1941 under the most trying of circumstances: freezing temperatures, inferior instruments, and the wretched conditions of life in a POW camp.
SSU's Trio Ariadne brings the work to the Evert B. Person stage at 7 p.m. on April 16 in a free concert. Guest violinist Joe Edelberg joins them. A discussion of the work is included. Though admission is free, tickets are required and can be reserved online at http://www.tickets.edu/tix or by phoning 707.664.4246.
"I think this work is a hugely important work of the 20th century that threw open the possibilities of music in the later part of the century, "says cellist Saeunn Thorsteinsdottir, a member of the Trio Ariadne.
"It is a hugely personal, yet universal piece of music that has captured the imagination of not only the first audience of hundreds of prisoners of war and the Nazi guards, but well beyond those horrifying circumstances. It is a message of hope in the face of suffering, a true testament to the human spirit."
Trio Ariadne are the 2013-14 Weill Hall Artists-in-Residence. In addition to Thorsteinsdottir, they also include Elizabeth Joy Roe, piano, and Carol McGonnell clarinet. Guest violinist Joe Edelberg is the concertmaster of the Santa Rosa Symphony.