Concordia Players Communicate Messiaen’s Dream Of Eternity

By Roy Ziegler


Violinist, Cho-Liang Lin with Artistic Director,
Michelle Djokic. Photo by Brian Keyes

Four members of the Concordia Chamber Players rode into New Hope on Sunday from opposite sides of the country to proclaim Olivier Messiaen’s vision of post-Apocalyptic eternity.

Messiaen was inspired to compose his “Quartet for the End of Time” while he was interned in a German prison camp during World War II. He envisioned a reality beyond the fury and turmoil of the Book of Revelation Apocalypse where time disappears giving way to total peace.

David Krakauer’s flawlessly smooth clarinet announced the early morning calm that awaits the Angel from God as the piano augured the messenger’s arrival with colorful chords produced by Diane Walsh. Krakauer communicated a feeling of hopeless despair as he probed the depths to which Messiaen’s evanescent world had descended. The eloquently groaning clarinet is finally rescued by Michelle Djokic’s solemnly provocative cello calling it to join the violin and piano in a powerful tribute to the word of God.

Almost magically the quartet seemed to expand its presence sounding like five, six or even seven instruments as the Angel appears. There was no trumpet in the quartet, but somehow the sound of brass was evident; and was that a piano or a bass that provided a ponderous rhythm in face of the messenger?

Cho Liang-Lin’s captivating violin hauntingly foretold an eternity unfettered by time and space and left a totally hushed audience in an almost meditative state at the conclusion.

Although it was difficult to imagine a follow up to the Messiaen expansive experience, the Concordia Chamber Players found a way. What better balance to an afternoon beginning with the end of time than a Ravel Trio for Piano that transported the listeners back to Earth with all of the passions and emotions that we experience now in our pre-Apocalyptic existence?

The Concordia Chamber Players will continue its season on April 10 at 3 PM at the Stephen Buck Theater in New Hope when it will present works by Bela Bartok, Bohuslav Martinu and Antonin Dvorak. Tickets for the concert may be purchased at the door or by calling 215.297.5972.

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