Introducing Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet For The End Of Time

Composed and first performed in the stalags of the Second World War, Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time is recognised as one of the 20th century’s classical musical masterpieces.

Messiaen: Quartet For The End Of Time


In this short video pianist Steven Osborne, who has programmed our upcoming International Chamber Music Series recital of Messiaen’s great work, and clarinettist Jean Johnson describe the depth and beauty of the Quartet for the End of Time.

Ahead of their performance alongside James Ehnes (violin) and Alban Gerhardt (cello), the pair expand on the deeper significance of the work’s composition, and its incredible juxtaposition of light birdsong, and the darkness of the great abyss.

Messiaen does an amazing thing in the way he uses time within the piece, sometimes it is so expansive, and so slow, you don’t get any sense of any time, of any beats
Jean Johnson, clarinettist

Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time was performed as part of our International Chamber Music Series. Take a look at upcoming chamber and recital performances at Southbank Centre.

upcoming performances