Watching tonight’s debate was both demoralizing and humiliating for our entire nation. I wanted to listen to something that encapsulates those feelings and I ended up going pretty dark with it. Messiaen wrote this quartet while he was in a German prisoner of war camp in 1940. It was first performed in the camp for an audience of prisoners, on what were described as decrepit instruments. The instrumentation was unusual (violin, cello, clarinet and piano), but was necessitated by the limited availability of musicians. I realize that we are not yet at WW2 levels of calamity, but I have little doubt that we can get there if we stay on our current trajectory of isolation and science denial. Can we snap out of it in large enough numbers before it’s too late? The world watches and hopes along with me that we can.