CCM Student Artist Series
Quartet for the End of TIme
4 May, 2022
O L E A 
Kate Kilgus, Clarinet
Alayne Wegner, Violin
Audrey Hudgens, Cello
Marissa Kerbel, Piano
Liturgie De Cristal
Between three and four in the morning, the awakening of birds: a solo blackbird or nightingale improvises, surrounded by a shimmer of sound, by a halo of trills lost very high in the trees. Transpose this onto a religious plane and you have the harmonious silence of Heaven.

In Liturgie de cristal, fragmentary imitations of birdsong, played by the clarinet and violin, are heard alongside unchanging and continuous material played by the cello and piano.

Vocalise, pour L’Ange qui annonce la fin du Temps
The first And third sections (very short) evoke the power of the mighty Angel, crowned with a rainbow and clothed by a cloud, who sets one foot upon the sea and one foot upon the earth. In the middle section - these are the impalpable harmonies of heaven. On the piano, gentle cascades of blue-orange chords, garlanding with their distant carillon the quasi-plainsong chanting of the violin and cello.

A movement in three parts. The first section is marked with descriptors such as robust, almost joyful, dazzling. In the second section the Vocalise of the angel is played by the strings, with the piano depicting the water droplets in the crowing rainbow.

Abîme des oiseaux
Clarinet solo. The abyss is Time, with its sorrows and its weariness. The birds are the opposite of Time; they are our desire for light, for stars, for rainbows and joyful songs!

The music is marked 'bathed in sunshine, like a bird, very free in movement', recalling the association of birds with freedom at the beginning of the piece. Here the clarinet plays the roles of both the blackbird and nightingale.

A scherzo of more superficial character than the other movements, but linked to them nonetheless by melodic reminiscences.

Intermède was the first movement to be composed and was originally intended to be a stand alone piece. The composer's program note confirms that it stands out from the apocalyptic and eternal themes found clearly in the rest of the work.

Louange à l’Éternité de Jésus
Jesus is here considered as the Word. A long phrase for the cello, infinitely slow, magnifies with love and reverence the eternity of this powerful and gentle Word, 'which the years can never efface'. Majestically, the melody unfolds in a kind of tender and supreme distance. 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was in God, and the Word was God’.

Danse de la fureur, pour les sept trompettes
Rhythmically the most characteristic piece of the set. The four instruments in unison are made to sound like gongs and trumpets (the first six trumpets of the apocalypse followed by various catastrophes, the trumpet of the seventh angel announcing the consummation of the mystery of God). The use of added values, augmented or diminished rhythms, and non-retrogradable rhythms. Music of stone, fearful granite sonorities; the irresistible movement of steel, enormous blocks of purple fury, of icy intoxication. Listen above all to the terrible fortissimo of the theme in augmentation and the changes in register of its different notes, towards the end of the piece.

A parallel can be found between the musical form of this movement to the passages in Revelation that refer to the sounding of the seven trumpets. After the fourth trumpet has sounded there is a brief moment of reflection from the writer of the scripture:
And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying... Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters
of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!
(Revelation 8:13)
Similarly in the music, after the four statements of the opening theme, a contrasting, considerably less frantic, section played before the music returns to the first material returns at a greater velocity.

Fouillis d' arcs-en-ciel, pour l’Ange qui annonce la fin du Temps
Certain passages from the second movement return. The mighty Angel appears, and above all the rainbow which crowns him (the rainbow: a symbol of peace, wisdom and of all sounding and luminous vibrations). In my
dreams, I hear recognised chords and melodies, I see known colours and forms; then, after this transitory stage, I pass beyond reality and submit in ecstasy to a dizziness, a gyratory interlocking of superhuman sounds
and colours. These swords of fire, these flows of blue-orange lava, these sudden stars; this is the tumult of rainbows!

Louange à L'immortalité de Jésus
A long violin solo, acting as a pendant to the cello solo of the fifth movement. Why this second eulogy? It is
addressed more specifically to the second aspect of Jesus - the man Jesus - to the Word made flesh, resurrected immortally to grant us life. It is all love. Its slow ascent towards the extreme high register is the ascent of man towards his God, of the Child of God towards his Father, of the deified Being towards Paradise.
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