The inestimable Mel from W.A.S.T.E. has provided web sites with a link to Ether Festival Information regarding an upcoming performance by Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke: “Following on from sold out concerts for the last two Ether Festivals, the London Sinfonietta returns for two evenings of cross-genre juxtaposition with contributions from Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke. The concerts will include the classical Arabic song, Enta Omri (music by Abdel-Wahab, lyrics Ahmed Shfq Kamel, sung originally by Oum Kalthom) and the pioneering sounds of composers Penderecki and Messiaen. Radiohead television will also be screened throughout the night featuring video, animations and music from the band’s Hail To The Thief album as well as unreleased tracks. Plus live sonic generated visuals.”
General information on the Ether Festival is available here. Ether is “a colorless volatile highly inflammable liquid formerly used as an inhalation anesthetic.” It was also thought to be “the fifth and highest element after air and earth and fire and water … the substance composing all heavenly bodies.” The word “festival,” according to the OED is from the Old French “festival” from the Latin “festivus.”
The Ether Festival information mentions “the pioneering sounds of composers Penderecki and Messiaen.” Information on Krzysztof Penderecki is here and here. Olivier Messiaen has an extensive web site devoted to his life and work. Rebecca Rischin has published the book For the End of Time: The Story of the Messiaen Quartet on the the composition and first performance of Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time” in a German POW camp in 1941.