Olivier Messiaen - Hebrides Ensemble - Nottingham Evening Post

There was sure to be more than one new recording of Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time in his centenary year. But the Hebrides Ensemble's version is simply unmissable. The piece was conceived in a German POW camp for violin, cello, clarinet and piano. Images of natural and spiritual worlds are translated into highly personal music - which the Edinburgh-based players have mastered superbly. The clarinet solo has a resonance reminiscent of Varèse. In addition, piano and violin combine in a long lost Fantaisie as well as in Messiaen's early Theme and Variations. Le Merle noir (The Blackbird) for flute and a tiny late piece for piano and strings complete the disc.

Nottingham Evening Post
11 July 2008