Circa 1945

SAN FRANCISCO SF Conservatory of Music • Monday, February 2, 2015 8PM  buy tickets
MILL VALLEY 142 Throckmorton Theatre • Thursday, February 5, 2015 8PM  buy tickets

Bohuslav Martinů · Quartet for Oboe, Violin, Cello, and Piano, H.315
Igor Stravinsky · Elegy for Violin
Olivier Messiaen · Quartet for the End of Time

What did the world sound like in the 1940s? Music of that era straddled the old and new, as Left Coast shows with Martinů's neo-classical oboe quartet and a meditative elegy by Stravinsky. The ensemble revisits Messiaen's ground-breaking Quartet for the End of Time, last featured on our series in 2008, when Jerome Simas' sound was described as "clear, splendidly liquid, agile, mysterious, remote," and Eric Zivian's "bright-toned playing showered fistfuls of glittering notes" and with his "slow, serene pulse... he was, as ever, alert to the music's every gesture." (SF Classical Voice)

Eric Zivian, Anna Presler, Tanya Tomkins, Jerome Simas.  photo: Lena Zentall

Eric Zivian, Anna Presler, Tanya Tomkins, Jerome Simas.  photo: Lena Zentall

Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time” sounds like nothing else in the world. It is easy to take for granted, but really, the way he takes the 88 notes available on the piano the same ones available to everyone else, and turns them into this particular transcendent piece has me amazed.

The quartet, written while the composer was in a  prisoner of war camp, takes fifty minutes to play, and much of time, playing it, I really do feel that time has been stretched or suspended, and at other times that I'm riding some madly inexorable train, coasting on the lines created by the piano, clarinet and cello.

Jerry Simas, Eric Zivian, Tanya Tomkins and I look forward to revisiting the piece together for this Left Coast concert, situating it this time in the context of the 1940s, alongside music by Stravinsky and Martinu. -- Anna Presler, LCCE Artistic Director

banner photo: Jeanette Yu. design: Lena Zentall