This lovely, very modern sounding work, more jazz than classical, is one of the nice things that emerged out of the ugliness of WW2. Olivier Messiaen composed this piece for the 4 instruments that were available in the German POW camp where he was imprisoned. The new novel (to be released in November by Norton), Quartet for the End of Time, by Johanna Skibsrud, includes a fictionalized account of how this piece came to be.
I found that this music is also great as an accompaniment to a book of poetry I recently received from the uber-talented Chad Golda. His book is called Drawn Circles. Chad’s poetry and Messiaen’s music are an excellent fit for each other. You can find out more about Chad Golda at his website and limited print copies of Drawn Circles are available for purchase there.