The Miracle of Stalag 8A: Olivier Messiaen and the Quartet for the End of Time

Overview

The Miracle of Stalag 8A is a retelling of the fascinating story of Olivier Messiaen's composition of his Quartet for the End of Time. Set in France & Germany from 1939 to 1941, Messiaen served in the French army, was captured at Verdun, and sent to Stalag 8A in Gorlitz, Germany, where he composed the great work, The Quartet for the End of Time.

The enigmatic Messiaen, an avant-garde composer and also a devout Catholic, along with Etienne Pasquier, an agnostic cellist, Henri...

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More About This Book

Overview

The Miracle of Stalag 8A is a retelling of the fascinating story of Olivier Messiaen's composition of his Quartet for the End of Time. Set in France & Germany from 1939 to 1941, Messiaen served in the French army, was captured at Verdun, and sent to Stalag 8A in Gorlitz, Germany, where he composed the great work, The Quartet for the End of Time.

The enigmatic Messiaen, an avant-garde composer and also a devout Catholic, along with Etienne Pasquier, an agnostic cellist, Henri Akoka, a Jewish Trotskyite Clarinetist, and Jean le Boulaire, an atheistic violinist, become the famous quartet of Stalag 8A. These four very different men collaborated to create musical history in the most unlikely of places.

Messiaen's Quartet, composed in a Stalag, transforms man's inhumanity to man with hope. Yet to the avant-garde, he was too traditional and too religious; to the traditionalists and religious, he was too avant-garde. As a result he will always stand somewhere outside of Time. The first performance of the Quartet for the End of Time at Stalag 8A in January 1941 has become, in the words of Paul Griffiths, "one of the great stories of twentieth-century music".

- From the Publisher

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780982625521
  • Publisher: Bird Brain Productions
  • Publication date: 7/14/2010
  • Pages: 242
  • Sales rank: 1,333,408
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.55 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 16, 2010

    Great story - very well told

    I really enjoyed this book. John McMullen did a great job of making me feel like I was there - the sadness of leaving his family, the horrible conditions at the camp, the camaraderie of his friends, the compassion the officers showed them, and the triumph of his opening night. Very well done.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2010

    Excellent historical and spiritual perspective!

    I very much enjoyed this book, as a matter of fact, I read it all the way through the day I bought it. I think what I liked best about it was the sense of realism. Everything seemed very authentic and extremely detailed down to the last minutia. The battle/war scenes war created a true sense of how horiffic it must have been to be there. Also I found the dialogue to be very personable and engaging. It gives a real sense of what the personalities of Messiaen and his compatriots must have been like. Obviously the strong spiritual theme of Messiaen's unwavering faith in the face of literaly insurmountable obstacles was also very inspiring. I suppose it is true that God never gives us more then we can handle. His ideas of music and musical theory seemed rather abstract, I'm not sure I would actually enjoy his compositions from the way they are described, it seemed fairly unconventional. The ending was rather sad, it would have been nice to see a "happily ever after scenario" after all the horrors he had been though, but then since it is a retelling of someone's personal story, I understand that the author really didn't have the liberty to alter the facts about that. Anyway, thats just my humble opinion and I look forward to reading more of this author's work soon!

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  • Posted September 8, 2010

    A must read!

    The Miracle of Stalag 8A is an inspiring story of hope, perservance, and faith. Musicians and non-musicians should read this book for its historical significance, its captivating storyline, and John McMullen's brilliant portrayal of a diverse cast of characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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