June 2008

The Gryphon Trio – Quartet for the End of Time (Olivier Messaien)
June 9, 2008 Isabel Bader Theatre Toronto
The End of Time
by Zoë Guigueno (photo by Roger Humbert)

Though he had the instrument in his mouth, and appeared to be doing something, there was silence — then — what? — faint, pure sound, a single tone, where? outside? The note seemed to come from Queen's Park, so gracefully gliding, effortlessly towards the Isabel Bader Theatre, in through the walls, on stage, into his black shoes, up and out his throat into the clarinet and out into the hall, then glowing full and filling up to flood — almost — then out. Scattering other tones like the minutes of an hour, louder then farther. Urgent, scared, hungry! Deliberate disassociation from patterns, only hunger dreams, only fantastic, mysterious, inexplicable energy deep lodged in his gut, only sucking up secret from a soul, wingspan invisible across countries, blood that cycles through the earth as water.

In me, only sensations, no thoughts, though thinking is feeling, so I was a philosopher, my skin fell from the bones, the bones limp, the tendons faint, mouth dripping, paying no mind, feet numb, spine so serene, doped, paralyzed by sound — that note! Many sounds, the pitch itself, the frequency, the timbre riding it, and the two held in a net of overtones, seemed to correspond with something part of my body, what is there to know?

Roman Borys (Feb. '07)
Light, remember, there were three other musicians on stage, and musician to me has a new meaning. The cello solo. I'm sorry I've held off, it was Quartet for the End of Time, I wanted to tell you, but I could only feel, don't want it to leave me, my memory cries, clutches with dirty nails to what has just happened, it frantically thrashes around in terror of forgetting. The cello and piano, praise to eternity, tense and pristine, breathtaking as a flower unfurling but strange insects emerging — and then — those ants carry a crystal, and my body is plunged into hot water, where did this chord come from, how did it, how, the stained glass chord, I was a colour, taken up or down to another kind of existence.

The musicians, one entity, that of immortal Olivier Messaien, and we sitting not merely listening with our ears — one being, that of the blessed child, an apparition — in a real time machine to 1941.

Annalee Patipatanakoon, violin, glass-shattering bravery, swaying, connected by flesh to Roman Borys, cello saint, disciple, messenger. Jamie Parker, the ocean, the entire sky, the piano keys to every tree in the forest. The blackbird with other worlds behind his eyes, he is called James Campbell, he knows. He has felt it before, he knows. He knows that through the chaos and hunger there is something better, beyond the end of time.

The Musicians
Jamie Parker – piano
Annalee Patipatanakoon – violin
Roman Borys – cello
and featuring James Campbell – clarinet


We welcome your comments and feedback
Zoë Guigueno
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