Hall One, Kings Place
Préludes: ‘La Colombe’ and ‘Plainte calme’
Quatuor pour la fin du temps
Mark van de Wiel (clarinet)Alexandra Wood (violin)
Oliver Coates (cello)
John Constable (piano)
Following the ‘Intermède’, almost charming in a more conventionally Gallic sense, and yet reminding us, through thematic recollection, of its pivotal role, the Word appeared in the beginning of ‘Louange à l’Eternité de Jésus’. Rearranged though it may be from an earlier work for six (!) ondes Martenots for the 1937 Paris Exposition, its ecstatic manner, Coates’s cello reverent and possessed of seemingly endless reserves of bow, shone through. Time shaded almost into eternity, ‘infiniment lent, extatique’. The ensuing ‘Danse de la fureur’ reinstated the primacy of rhythm as the apocalyptic seven trumpets were evoked. All players ensured once again that crucial irregular regularity, without which the music would have degenerated into nonsense. The climax duly struck terror into our hearts. With the ‘Fouillis d-arcs-en-ciel, pour l’Ange qui annonce la fin du Temps,’ there was achieved a proper sense of summation of what had gone before, and yet hearing, perhaps even sighting, of something new through the tangle of rainbows. With the closing ‘Louange à l’immortalité de Jésus,’ Wood and Constable beautifully, movingly, brought Messiaen’s earlier organ Diptyque into what seemed in retrospect as though it should always have been its home. Paradise, just maybe, was gimpsed through the Word made flesh.