Spiritual Counterpoint: Cleve Gray’s “Threnody” and Olivier Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time”

In their fourth collaboration, the Neuberger Museum of Art and Copland House again join forces to bring together two epic artworks, visual and musical, that share a focus on humanity’s spiritual and emotional healing.

This is a free concert. Advance registration requested.


As timely as ever, Cleve Gray’s immense Threnody (1972) and Olivier Messiaen’s monumental Quartet for the End of Time (1941) respond to wartime death and destruction not with anger but with love and hope. Brilliantly co-existing within Messiaen’s magisterial musical canvas – one of the cornerstone works in the concert repertory – are the composer’s religious devotion, love of birdsong, and passion for mysticism and the super-natural.

The internationally-acclaimed Music from Copland House ensemble, hailed for its “absorbing concert experiences” (Opera News), performs Messiaen’s masterwork in a gallery surrounded by Gray’s magnum opus.

A 250-foot-wide, 20-foot tall, site-specific painting commissioned for the opening of the Museum in 1974, Threnody is a lament for the dead on both sides of the Vietnam War. Across its 28 panels, rhythmically spaced motifs suggest a diversity of imagery. Most vividly, perhaps, is a procession of solemn dancers that express the artist’s hope for humanity’s spiritual and emotional healing. “The depiction of tragedy often requires an element of hope …” explained Gray, “In the midst of death it had to offer the hope of life ….”

Threnody is an essential piece in the Neuberger Museum’s show, The Friends at 50: Selections from the Collection, now on view through July 3rd. Guests are encouraged to arrive early to browse the exhibition prior to the performance. The afternoon will be an unforgettable experience at the intersection of art, music, and spirituality.

Generous support for this concert has been provided by O. Anthony Maddalena.

Event Location and Ticket Information

Loading Map....

Neuberger Museum of Art
735 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, New York 10577
Handicap Accessible? Yes

Date: Sunday, July 17, 2022
Times: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Ticket pricing:
Free event
Get tickets now

Presenter: Neuberger Museum of Art
Presenter Phone: 9142516109
Presenter Website: purchase.edu/calendar/event/31942