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INTERVIEW: Miloš Repickż Talks Music For Montauk's World Premiere Of "Quartet For The End Of Time" By Oliver Messiaen

T.J. Clemente

Filming locations included Camp Hero in Montauk. (Photo: Emily Anderson)

Miloš Repickż, Music for Montauk's Board of Directors Vice President and member of the Artistic Planning & Development team, is also a pianist and conductor who is in his 9th season on the roster of the Metropolitan Opera. To hear him talk music is like listening to Robert Frost recite poetry. Repickż took some time from his busy schedule to talk to Hamptons.com about Music for Montauk's Quartet for the End of Time by Oliver Messiaen, a fifteen-minute music film directed by HIFF award winning filmmaker Emily Anderson. The film will premiere on Friday, January 15.

"When Lilah [Gosman] and I took over Music for Montauk six years ago, it was really clear that we were interested in the thing that was unique about the organization, which was the fact that we had this place to do it in. We started to think about programming, about what is the relationship of the music we will be performing with the place we will be performing it in. That has been the case all along."

After listing performances of the past, Repickż said, "We always had in our mind to do a performance at Camp Hero because it is such a compelling place. You have the radar tower, which has this kind of lore of the early 20th century wars and the military presence in kind of a dark time in humanity. The fighting, those forces in time are kind of historical - almost biblical. Then you have these landscapes that are just extraordinary. People come out to Montauk and it's almost like a special journey - it's about the light, the air and the water that surrounds it. There is this crazy juxtaposition, particularly at Camp Hero, of this former military instillation."

Repickż went on to explain how Oliver Messiaen composed Quartet for the End of Time in 1940 under the harsh conditions of a WWII prisoner-of-war camp in Görlitz, Germany. On January 15th of 1941, four musicians, including the composer, gave the piece its premiere at Stalag VIII-A prisoner-of-war camp for an audience of prisoners, German officers, and prison guards.

He stated how Music for Montauk explores this revelatory work by creating a special film project by director Emily Anderson that was recorded and filmed live in Montauk at the Edward F. Albee Foundation Barn and at Camp Hero. The performance features Annaliesa Place, violin, Ani Kalayjian, cello, Benjamin Fingland, clarinet, and Miloš Repicky, piano.

"There is this one scene at the bunker, it seemed like an appropriate shot because there is something monolithic about it," Repickż said about filming at Camp Hero. "There is this concrete thing, but it's in nature yet it shows an oppressiveness of that time (1940s). We shot this film there because it evoked a feeling of the prison camp in which Messiaen wrote the piece."

He continued, "We saw an opportunity for this particular piece of music. Messiaen's piece is written in eight movements, each one is kind of different. We thought about all different types of versions of how it could go, and in the simplest form, we really just thought about a straight kind of performance of the piece."

Repickż explained that Music for Montauk hopes to present the music live in August 2021, if that is possible.

In conclusion, Repickż said, "Emily Anderson did just an amazing job making this 15-minute Zoom film. This is a crazy time of great disagreement and people are super anxious about all types of stuff. This piece of music is really about believing in the good stuff, believing in the hope, believing in love, believing in the light. It was easy to be into it because this is what we all need right now."

In addition to the film's viewing, the premiere will include a live intro and Q&A with artists, which begins at 7:45 p.m. There is no fee to "attend" the screening.

For information about Music for Montauk and Quartet for the End of Time, visit www.musicformontauk.org.

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