Thursday, July 26, 2018

Olivier Messiaen, Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time)

I've written in the past about how one of the substantial shortfalls of Francis Schaeffer's "Christian worldview" narrative is that he has the reader assume (with him) that once the Christian worldview is cast aside music gets weird and ugly and that basically explains the Western European and American avant garde movements.

Nope. Great big nope.

If anything the fact that some of the farthest out composers of the last century were Catholic (like Messiaen) or Russian Orthodox (like Stravinsky, later in life if not always in his fiery youth) makes it hard to make any one to one correlation between a nebulously defined "Christian worldview" and whether or not a person was in the artistic avant garde.  Someone could be thoroughly parochial in matters of religion and innovative at a formal level in the arts.  If anything Stravinsky and T. S. Eliot made that easy to establish in the decades before Schaeffer began his trilogy.

The Intermede could sound pretty cool on a classical guitar if ... you know ... somewhere were to try transcribing it.  Not that you should, though.  Still, sometimes a guitarist can dream that Messiaen ever wrote for the guitar.  Meanwhile, if you want some 20th century French guitar music Poulenc did write that Sarabande.

which gets me thinking ...

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