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Music in the Grip of War: Messiaen & Shostakovich

Southbank Centre: Queen Elizabeth HallBelvedere Road, London, Greater London, SE1 8XX, Vereinigtes Königreich
Datum/Zeit in London Zeitzone
Donnerstag 03 Juni 202119:30
Alina IbragimovaVioline
Alban GerhardtCello
Pascal MoraguèsKlarinette
Steven OsborneKlavier

From the hopelessness of a labour camp and the desperation of a Moscow crippled by war, we hear composers respond with music of inspiring defiance.

Violinist Alina Ibragimova, pianist Steve Osborne, cellist Alban Gerhardt and clarinettist Pascal Moraguès come together to form a trio and a quartet for this concert, which features remarkable works born out of extraordinary circumstances.

In the early years of the Second World War, Olivier Messiaen found himself interned in the labour camp Stalag VIII.

A German officer smuggled pencils and paper to the composer, who set about writing a work to perform alongside three fellow inmates.

On a freezing January day in 1941, the eight movements of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time were performed in front of an audience of prisoners.

The work is one of dramatic extremes and extraordinary profundity. It has been described by the cellist Matt Haimovitz as ‘an intimate expression of awe, a prophetic collective scream and a delirious dance all at once.’

As Russia felt the strain of its ‘great patriotic war’ with Germany, Shostakovich experienced the premature loss of his most important friend, Ivan Sollertinsky.

His response was a piano trio that speaks of the despair of grief and the horror of war – Shostakovich laying bare his soul and eulogising his companion. Its finale is a dance of death based on Jewish-inflected dance tunes.

To play these works at Queen Elizabeth Hall, we welcome four consummate chamber musicians who are all distinguished soloists in their own right.

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