The Messiaen Companion by Russell Hoban download in pdf, ePub, iPad
He refused to join in the struggle and struck up a conversation with another soldier who was calmly reading a book. He found he was talking to a fellow-Parisian. At one point he witnessed a near riot as hundreds of dehydrated men fought to get at a single outlet where water was being distributed. They could scarcely have guessed at the strangeness of the music Messiaen would write and perform in the camp. The camp commander supplied Messiaen with manuscript paper, and found a cello, with one string missing, for Pasquier.
The Germans were not unsympathetic to these musical endeavours. He himself did not know that at the time.
The journey, more than four hundred miles on a slow train in high summer to an unknown destination, must have been more gruelling than anything he had so far experienced in the war. Conditions there were bleak but not horrific.
It was attended by several thousand prisoners of many nationalities Poles, Czechs, other Central Europeans and French and of every conceivable trade and profession. The Quatuor began to take shape, even before the Germans had found a battered upright piano, growing eventually to eight movements and lasting about forty-five minutes.