Olivier Messiaen - Hebrides Ensemble - The Independent

Written and premiered in Stalag VIII-A, the POW camp where Messaien, clarinettist Henri Akoka, cellist Etienne Pasquier and violinist Jean Le Boulaire were interned in 1940, "Quatuor pour le fin du temps" has achieved iconic status.

Here, the Hebrides Ensemble bucks the trend for meditative performances of other-worldly beauty, presenting instead a work that is rooted in the mud and misery of war. Performed by Alexander Janiczek and Philip Moore, "Thème et variations" and "Fantasie" are equally strong, as are "Le Merle noir" and "Pièce pour piano et quatuor à cordes".

The Independent
11 May 2008