Tercera Temporada 2021 Program 8
Thursday, November 25, 2021
20:30 hrs. Teatro Degollado
Sunday, November 28, 2021
12:30 hrs. Teatro Degollado

Program 8

OFJ Ensembles

Quinteto Instrumental | HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS

Quartet for the End of Time | OLVIER MESSIAEN


Who among us has not been fascinated, at one time or another, by the sweet canticles of our feathered friends? 

In this week´s program, musicians of the Orquesta Filarmonica de Jalisco will perform outstanding chamber music works by two twentieth-century composers who carefully listened to--and carefully notated--birdsong. 

In the case of Heitor Villa-Lobos, his expeditions into the Brazilian interior to discover the music of the indigenous people led him to discover the sounds of nature as well.  He also incorporated Rio de Janeiro´s urban street genres like the jazzy Brazilian chorões into his inimitable, highly eclectic compositional style. 

If we listen closely, we will notice all of these influences in the Quinteto Instrumental, a mature work (1957) for an unconventional group of instruments: flute, violin, viola, violoncello and harp, in three movements.  



One of the greatest masterpieces of the twentieth-century chamber music literature was born in a World War II prison camp in Poland, where prisoner-of-war Olivier Messiaen was held by his Nazi captors. 

Fortunately for the history of twentieth-century music, they allowed him to continue to compose, even providing him with pencils, erasers, and manuscript paper--and, along with hundreds of other prisoners of war, the German officials themselves attended the chilly premiere (on a January night) of a ground-breaking new work: the Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps (Quartet for the end of time).  Scored for piano (which the composer himself played), clarinet, violin, and violoncello, the Quatuor is a testament to Messiaen’s resourcefulness in the way he utilized his own pianistic gifts and employed three of his fellow prisoners (who were also virtuoso musicians), and—much more importantly--a testament to his deep Christian faith.


Worth mentioning is Messiaen´s extaordinary writing for solo clarinet in the third movement, “Abîme des oiseaux (“Abyss of the birds”).  The composer´s avid interest in ornithology is reflected in many of his works; names, habitat and specific characteristics of the birds whose songs have been notated appear in some of his scores.  While these specifics are absent in Abîme des oiseaux, he wrote the meaning of this movement into the score:

“The abyss is Time, with its sadness and weariness.  The birds are the opposite of Time; they are our desire for light, for stars, for rainbows, and for jubilant singing!” 

As we perform the last program of our regular OFJ season, we wish you light, stars, rainbows, and jubilant singing…enjoy the concert!


Join us next Sunday afternoon at 12:30 PM for a very special event, the Finalists concert for the winners of the Orchestral Composition Competition, Raíces 2020, under the baton of our Music Director, Jesús Medina.

Thursday, November 25th, 8:30 PM
Sunday, November 28th, 12:30 PM
Third Orchestra Season 2021, Teatro Degollado

*Tickets ranging from $90 to $250 pesos, available at the Teatro Degollado Box Office and through the Ticketmaster system.

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