Jerzy Stankiewicz, vice president of the Polish Composers' Union Branch in Krakow, will give a lecture titled A new look at the genesis of Olivier Messiaen's "Quartet at the end of time" in Stalag VIII A Görlitz, on 17 February 2020 at 6.30 p.m. at the Polish Institute in St. Petersburg.
The meeting will also feature a screening of the French documentary and musical The Charm of Impossibilities (dir. Nicolas Buenaventura Vidal, 2006), illustrating the hypotheses regarding the creation of the Quartet at the end of time at the turn of 1940/41 in the Nazi POW camp in Görlitz (today in Zgorzelec in Lower Silesia, Poland) .
Olivier Messiaen (1908–1992) – a French composer, organist, lecturer, he was one of the most important figures of 20th century music, a mystic on the one hand, and a bold experimenter on the other hand. In 1931 he was appointed organist of the La Trinité church in Paris and held this function until his death. In 1940 he was imprisoned in the Stalag, and after his release in 1941 he took the position of professor of harmony (only in 1966 he became a professor of composition) at the Paris Conservatory. He was an extremely charismatic teacher, and among his students were eminent artists who, like himself, formed the shape of 20th-century music, leading it in previously unknown directions: Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Iannis Xenakis. Meetingpoint Messiaen – a meeting place for youth and experienced musicians from Europe and other continents – is currently operating in Görlitz.