The Hoff-Barthelson Music School will feature faculty clarinetist Daniel Spitzer in recital on Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 8 pm at the Greenville Community Church, 270 Ardsley Road, Scarsdale. Mr. Spitzer will be joined on the program by the Solace Ensemble, comprised of fellow faculty performers April Johnson, violin, Peter Seidenberg, cello, and guest artist Tomoko Uchino, piano. The ensemble will play Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time) by Olivier Messiaen.
Olivier Messiaen 1908 – 1992) was a French composer, organist and ornithologist, one of the major composers of the 20th century. His music is rhythmically complex (he was interested in rhythms from ancient Greek and from Hindu sources); harmonically and melodically it is based on modes of limited transposition, which he abstracted from his early compositions and improvisations. Messiaen also drew on his deeply held Roman Catholicism.
The history of Messiaen’s seminal Quartet is of artistic, political and social consequence. Messiaen was 31 years old when France entered World War II. He was captured by the German army in June 1940 and imprisoned in Stalag VIII-A, a prisoner-of-war camp in Görlitz, Germany . While in transit to the camp, Messiaen showed the clarinetist Henri Akoka, also a prisoner, the sketches for what would become the Quartet’s third movement, Abîme des oiseaux. Two other professional musicians, violinist Jean le Boulaire and cellist Étienne Pasquier, were among his fellow prisoners, and after he managed to obtain some paper and a small pencil from a sympathetic guard, Messiaen wrote a short trio for them; this piece developed into the Quatuor for the same trio with himself at the piano.
The Quartet was premiered at the camp, outdoors in the rain, on January 15, 1941. The musicians had decrepit instruments and an audience of about 400 fellow prisoners and guards. Messiaen later recalled: Never was I listened to with such rapt attention and comprehension.
Clarinetist Daniel Spitzer
has performed with the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York City Ballet, the
New Jersey Symphony, the American Symphony Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber
Orchestra, the Riverside Symphony, the New Philharmonic of New Jersey, the
Princeton Symphony Orchestra, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, and
in the Broadway pit of the shows Wicked,
La Boheme, Music Man, The King and I, Beauty and the Beast, The Producers,
Woman in White, and Mary Poppins. Daniel was the Clarinetist in the
Off-Broadway production of Peter and the
Wolf, held at the New Victory Theater, well known for their award-winning
children’s programming. Since the
fall of 2006 he has been a contracted member of both the Delaware Symphony and
the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, with whom he is Principal Clarinet. He has been
a performer at music festivals including the Utah Music Festival, the Colorado
Music Festival, Spoleto, Aspen, Bowden and the Tanglewood Music Festivals. He has recorded on the Telarc, New
World, Koch, and Newport Classics labels and has been heard on National Public
The Hoff-Barthelson Music School, one of Westchester County’s most cherished and active cultural resources, has achieved national recognition as a premier community music school for its unsurpassed leadership in education, performance and outreach for more than half a century.
Admission to the recital is $18 general; $15 seniors; and free to students under 18. Call 914-723-1169 for reservations and information.
Thanks to Olivier Messiaen for the preceding news.