Three quartets were composed far from the
front lines (Milhaud, Stravinsky) or after the war
(Hindemith): in fact, each in its own way constitutes
a final stage of maturation in this form over
the course of the War (Milhaud, Hindemith) or,
in a broader sense for Stravinsky, an evolution
undertaken from 1913 with the Rite of Spring. It
was upon a young, as yet inexperienced composer,
Jacques de la Presle, that the task would fall, on
the front where he was holed up in a tunnel
beneath the bombing, to demonstrate that music
is more potent than death all around, ennui and
hopelessness. On the side of the Tripe Alliance
forces, the Austrian Ernst Toch as well took refuge
in music to show forth his will to survive.