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The Musical Legacy of Wartime France$
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Leslie A. Sprout

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520275300

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520275300.001.0001

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Ignoring Jolivet's Testimony, Embracing Messiaen's Memories

Ignoring Jolivet's Testimony, Embracing Messiaen's Memories

Chapter:
(p.80) 3 Ignoring Jolivet's Testimony, Embracing Messiaen's Memories
Source:
The Musical Legacy of Wartime France
Author(s):

Leslie A. Sprout

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520275300.003.0003

Composed and premiered in 1941 in a German prisoner-of-war camp, Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time has become emblematic of the French wartime experience for today's listeners. Yet, although the music of numerous French soldier-composers received repeat performances and positive press coverage in German-occupied Paris, where repatriated prisoners were symbols of hope for a nation shamed by its swift military defeat, wartime critics gave Messiaen's Quartet decidedly mixed reviews. I contrast the wartime reception of Messiaen's Quartet with that of Jolivet's musical and verbal documentary, Trois complaintes du soldat, to discuss the ways in which the Quartet demonstrates Messiaen's remarkable ability to write ethereal music that transcended his physical ordeals more than it engaged with them.

Keywords:   Olivier Messiaen, André Jolivet, occupied Paris, prisoners of war

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