Kevin Fisher May 8, 2013 Analysis Messiaen Analysis In movement one in the Quartet for the End of Time

, the piece is written in ¾ time, but there is not really any sense of a triple meter. Rhythmic processes have nothing to do with the actual meter. This movement is free and unorganized, which is the exact opposite of what Messiaen had while he was in the Nazi concentration camp in Poland. The cello plays the repeating whole tone scale with the notes Bflat, C, D, E, and F#. This is a whole-tone, pentatonic scale. The rhythms in the piece are shaped as a palindrome – meaning, it is the same forwards and backwards, give or take an added note here and there. The cello line rises through the scale, and then falls down. This happens throughout the entire piece and this motif could be symbolic. The piano part also uses rhythmic augmentation while the other two parts, the violin and clarinet, are completely separate entities. The form is ABA as the violin and clarinet have different cyclic patterns. The cello part has the repeating whole-tone set on Messaien’s mode 1 of unaltered modes. The movement is prelude-like in that it is constructed on one main palindromic theme. There may not be one tone center of this movement – it is free and unorganized, everything Messiaen wished for. Movement five of the piece just focuses on the cello and the piano, which were two instruments that worked together in the opening movement. Chords with an added 6th are used and there are no clear tetrachords used. Some are constructed through the descending lines of the cello against the repeating chords of the piano, but the piano does not focus mainly on the horizontal harmonies, but instead, the

extremely relaxed tempo and vertical textures. The melody is stretched throughout the entire movement and since the tempo is so painfully slow, it is difficult to point out specific cadential points; perhaps, having cadential points as not the intention of Messiaen, but instead, to realize the bigger picture of the movement. This lyric piece resembles a prelude, or perhaps even, another ABA form piece. The rhythms are repeated as the harmonies change often. There are so many different colors that the composer intends that his audience observes the bigger picture of the work – he wants his audience to dive into the realm of the movement and understand the historical standpoint by which the composer wrote this movement. There are so many 1’s and 2’s (half and whole steps) in this movement that it is painful to listen to. There is little to no consonance. The piece also lacks traditional structure. At the end, with an octatonic scale, the retrograde inversion technique is used as it is connected to the very beginning of the movement.

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