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It's a masterpiece, one of my favorite works of 20th century classical music... and yet it probably isn't even my favorite Messiaen work! Just a testament to how many great pieces he produced. In the right mood with the right recording it can be a profoundly moving experience. Knowing the context helps, but even without that the music speaks well enough for itself. As @violadude mentioned I appreciate how it subverts typical tropes of apocalyptic works to focus on the spiritual aspects. It very much seems to a be a piece searching for God, or even humanity, in an inhumane world.
 

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Alex Ross begins his article on the work as follows:

The most ethereally beautiful music of the twentieth century was first heard on a brutally cold January night in 1941, at the Stalag VIIIA prisoner-of-war camp, in Görlitz, Germany.

 

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From my absolute favorite classical music site on the Internet, an amazing article that is probably the most detailed and informative guide out there on this work:

Classical Notes - Messiaen: Quatuor pour la fin de Temps (Quartet for the End of Time), By Peter Gutmann
Interesting quote from that article:

“Overall, Tashi seems to look not backward to the wrenching time of the Quatuor's creation but ahead to music of the future that, for better or worse, lauds precision over personality.”
 

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I had a "I'm going to like this piece of bloody music" blitz a couple of years back, having never really understood the fuss. There's a real cold clarity to that Gil Shaham/Chung set on DGG, and perhaps surprisingly, that was the recording that allowed me to make a connection with the Quartet.
 

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I had a "I'm going to like this piece of bloody music" blitz a couple of years back, having never really understood the fuss. There's a real cold clarity to that Gil Shaham/Chung set on DGG, and perhaps surprisingly, that was the recording that allowed me to make a connection with the Quartet.
Shaham/Chung's very slow take of the 5th movement is especially fantastic!
 

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I think you intended to reply to someone else.
It's a problem with nested quotations. I probably should have responded to the message you responded to "The music is masterful but I find it incredibly sad and harrowing. I can't "enjoy" it."
but you seemed to agree and I agreed with the statement that we enjoy representations of sad things, like lovesick opera characters.
In any case, if the titles by Messiaen are an indication, the quartet is not supposed to be "sad music".
 
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