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May 20, 2011

The perfect music to accompany the Rapture, in case the world ends on May 21

OK, folks. Stop that cowering and whimpering. Stop crowding the confessionals. It's too late for any of that, so buck up, sit back and just take the rapture (if you're among the chosen) or the icky alternative (if you're not) on May 21.

Meanwhile, to help you handle the suspense as the minutes tick away, click below on the perfect music to underscore such a momentous occasion, Olivier Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time." Since the power could go out on all of us at any minute as the process of shutting down the universe gets underway, I figured I might as well ...

cut to the final movement of this sublime work, the movement titled "Praise to the Immortality of Jesus."

Don't worry. You can be of any or no religion to get the point and beauty of this transfixing music. And if, by some miracle, we're all still here on the 22nd, do go back and listen to the complete Quartet. It really is out of this world.

Here's that finale. Ready, get set, get raptured:

Posted by Tim Smith at 11:00 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Clef Notes, Drama Queens


What a brilliant cheeky (irreverent) post!

You're absolutely right! This is the PERFECT music for the 'moment!'

Of course, it was composed at a time and in a place that was most in all seriousness one of those horrendous times at which we humans create our own hell on earth. That makes the contrast with the current silliness all the more stark and laughable.

Some folks think these are horrendous 'end times?' Well, just think back for a moment to some times that were far more horrendous than those we are experiencing now and be humbled.

(…and a sense of humor about the stark contrast doesn't hurt in the least…)

Thanks muchly. TIM

Years ago, when I lived in a small town out in the middle of nowhere, I was listening to a CD of Quartet for the End of Time. Suddenly in the middle of it, the power did go out! Next morning, we heard that at the moment the outage darkened the local airfield, the pilot of a small plane coming in for a landing apparently got so confused that he crashed and was killed along with his passenger. Well, I'm not superstitious, but it was a while before I could listen to the rest of the Quartet.

Spooky. Better take cover at 6 p.m. today. TIM


A grump from the art viewing crowd. We were not the only people who arrived at the In/Flux gallery on Sunday afternoon to find no one there. Through the front window into the semi-darkness you could see the big bird on the wall.

We're sorry if you published opening hours and we missed them.

Alas, I didn't write the story about Gaia and In/Flux, so I can't offer much info. Please direct your understandable grumpiness to the guy who did write it: TS

There's a beautiful jazz piece by Harold Land titled "Rapture". Though I think this "Rapture" has a different meaning...

Worth listening to again, the rapture without the "up."

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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