Composed during an excruciatingly difficult time while Messiaen was captured and held in a German POW camp during World War II, the Quartet for the End of Time draws its inspiration from the Book of Revelation, birdsong, and the colors of the northern lights. The first performance was held in the camp during the bleak winter of 1941 with Messiaen at the piano, and fellow prisoners playing violin, cello, and clarinet. Ensemble Chamarré seeks to help the listener to experience the context of this extraordinary masterpiece of chamber literature by describing the conditions at the camp and details of Messiaen's experience as it relates to the music.
Performances in 2013 and 2014 were greeted with great enthusiasm from audience members, who described it as "a transforming experience". Listeners may draw inspiration from this musical and spiritual journey of triumph and redemption over despair.