Few pieces test an ensemble’s internal cohesion like Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time.”...On Saturday, the quartet was played in brilliant and gripping fashion by clarinetist Charles Neidich, violinist Itamar Zorman, cellist Lionel Cottet, and pianist Mitsuko Uchida, during the second weekend of concerts at Marlboro Music. Though they have no lengthy history of playing together and vary greatly in age and career status — Zorman and Cottet are in their 20s, while Neidich and Uchida are world-renowned instrumentalists; the latter is also Marlboro’s artistic director — they nevertheless achieved the requisite sense of unanimity...Like time itself, Messiaen’s quartet oscillates between stasis and frenzy. Some groups try to unlock its sense of timelessness by narrowing its extremes toward the middle. But Saturday’s performance showed that the piece succeeds only by embracing those extremes. Dynamic changes were vast, and the string players’ phrasing showed how much minute attention goes into making its melodies seem vast and oceanic...This was the best performance I have heard of the quartet, and one of the very best things I’ve heard during two decades of Marlboro visits.
David Weininger, Boston Globe, July 29, 2014