Messiaen wrote his Quartet for the End of Time while trapped in a German prisoner-of-war camp. Its unusual instrumentation reflects the musicians available while he was imprisoned. While the quartet’s music undoubtedly speaks of the violence and oppression he experienced as a prisoner, it also stands as an extraordinary act of faith penned under inhumane conditions. One of Messiaen’s most poetic and poignant quotations affirms, “My faith is the grand drama of my life. I’m a believer, so I sing words of God to those who have no faith.” After the concert, gallery leaders showcase art inspired by religious ideas throughout history.
Support for Live Arts programming is provided by the Woman's Board of the Art Institute of Chicago.