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null null Concerts En Blanc Et Noir NL En Blanc Et Noir EN En Blanc Et Noir FR
En Blanc Et Noir EN
'En Blanc Et Noir' Recorded in Flagey, Brussels (July 2016) and Brive-la-Gaillarde, Musée Labenche, France (August 2016) by STEVEN MAES en FELICIA BOCKSTAEL./ PenguinDRAWING on cover 'DIVIDED' (2010) by THOMAS LEROOY - Centre Pompidou ParisPHOTOS in booklet by VIRGINIE SCHREYEN in Musée Labenche, Brive-la-Gaillarde, FranceTHE CONCEPT“I have the terrible weakness that I love music for the music, and not for the success - moreover doubtful - that it can bring.”Claude Debussy to Paul Gobert, December 4, 1904A project, a dream.Three composers, about a century apart, sharing their own way of searching for colors and how to express them.Four compositions for cello and piano that explore just as many ways of performing: an original work on gut strings and with the piano of the composer, a short piece for piano in a transcription for cello and piano, a wide-ranging composition for cello and piano with preparations and finally, a work for cello, piano and electronics. An example of how music has evolved in the past century, using basically the same two instruments. A century in color, so it seems.The various works have one common feature, namely, that they are part of a cycle. Claude Debussy called the cello sonata 'La première pour violoncelle et piano’, after which he would only complete the sonata for flute, viola and harp and the sonata for violin, of the planned collection of six. Daan Janssens' composition is part of a cycle ( Paysages - études ), which came into being between 2010 and 2015 and of which (... nada.) is the third part, and each of the ‘Trois Chants pour mieux voir’ by Jean-Luc Fafchamps stand as compositions of themselves, but the three of them also form a single, intense story.The 'Ouverture à la Française’ which opens Debussy’s cycle of sonatas and which openly refers to the golden days of baroque music by Rameau, Lully and Couperin, appears amid the devastating war as an almost patriotic act. Soon, however, a melancholic melody is heard, supported by what has for centuries been typical of the lament: the chromatic descending bass. Also in the following sections, Debussy demonstrates his masterful petulance: the German Luther chorale Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott is transformed into a modified theme in the second part and in the Finale he actually quotes the Marseillaise! In a sense, this all benefits the contemporary language of Fafchamps and Janssens. Where Debussy, from behind different masks, chuckles at his own iniquities - he calls the piece itself, which was composed just after En blanc et noir for two pianos and which contains explicit references to the same choral and the same Marseillaise, a hidden homage to his beloved fatherland as a minimal but intimate act of resistance against the aggressor - Fafchamps and Janssens step forward into the limelight of their own theater. They give voice their own story in a changing world, which unfortunately shows similarities with the troubled years 1915-1916 in which Debussy's late masterpieces were created.Although he was devoted to Paris, Debussy withdrew in the summer of 1915 for three months in Pourville-sur-Mer, a village on the Normandy coast where previously Claude Monet painted a series of oil-on-canvas works. Music was like many other art forms subject to extreme changes at the beginning of the 20th century. Compared with Stravinsky - without naming Schoenberg, Webern or Berg - Debussy was perhaps more an exponent of the traditional guard than an extreme innovator, but the compositions he penned during those few months at Pourville would point almost prophetically to the future, as his 12 Etudes for piano which he completed just after the Sonate pour violoncelle et piano. Debussy left Pourville-sur-Mer with renewed energy, although his lingering health problems certainly hindered him more with each passing day. Three years later, with German bombs dropping not far from his bedroom, he would die. How fortunate that there had been that summer at Pourville where, at a time when all had seemed so sad and listless to him, he had still had been given the courage to write those few masterpieces, such as a cryptic tribute to his country and his illustrious predecessors.“And where is the French music? Where are our old harpsichords with so much real music?They had the secret of the profound charm and of emotion without epileptic mannerism, which we reject as ungrateful children …”Claude Debussy to Robert Godet, October 14, 1915The Elégie which Debussy wrote not long after the Sonate pour violoncelle et piano voiced perhaps even more clearly the general mood at the end of his life. While the sonata was written in Pourville-sur-Mer, the Elégie took shape in a tormented Paris. Debussy again and again looked for beauty, even if it appeared to be in the past. But after a century of effort in trying to understand the madness which has been with us all along, we see that it is not a dream. We see that madness is not an incubus, but a reality that makes us choose between two extremes, between black and white, between beauty and madness.In this way also Janssens and Fafchamps draw off an archetypal classical language which is, however, affected at once, as infected with the surrounding reality.For Robert Schumann, music reflected a better world, akin to Plato's story of the cave. To some extent that applies to Debussy although we notice that the sometimes absurdly harsh reality creeps into his color palette. In Janssens’ and Fafchamps case the idyll has shattered; what is more important now is finding more and more resources and colors to translate in an auditory manner the existing essence, either through preparations in the piano or through electronics. The three composers are thus children of their time, because also Claude Debussy was fascinated by experimental tools. His Blüthner, that was used for this recording, is equipped with the Aliquot Patent that, in the high register, adds extra resonance strings to the existing three strings per note, with a fine radiant sound layer as a result. Maurice Dumesnil, a student of Debussy, wrote: "The tone he extracted from the Blüthner the the sweetest, the most elusive and heavenly I ever heard. How did he do it?".The choice we made to work for a single project on gut strings and with a traditional keyboard on one hand, and with preparations and electronics combining a modern Steinway grand piano and steel strings on the other hand, is again, in a way, to be called experimental. Music was for Claude Debussy an escape from the madness of everyday and away from the deterioration of his body, back to order, in a quest for classical beauty. The beauty that is corroded by illusions and the realities of life. Fafchamps and Janssens, on the other hand, do not hide behind masks; amidst present chaos they give us a sonorous reflection of it.“Dear André Caplet,You are a special person ... fearless as a lion you manage to find a piano, a cello and a sonata, and put them all together within meters of the Boches ...That's the kind of elegant bravoure that is typical French and will always remain.”Claude Debussy to André Caplet June 12, 1916(Benjamin Glorieux)DAAN JANSSENS(...nada.) The (Paysages - études) cycle was written between 2010 and 2015 and consists of five parts:- three chamber works: (Paysages - études) I for cello and piano (2010), (… Nada) - (Paysages - études) III for cello, piano and live electronics (2015) and (Paysages - études) V for flute, cello and piano (2011) - two ensemble compositions: (L'espace d'une page) - (Paysages - études) II for cimbalom and eight instruments (2014) and (Paysages - études) IV, a study after Maurice Maeterlinck for seven instruments (2011).Cello and piano are at the centre stage of the three chamber music pieces, as I wrote these for Aton'&Armide, the ensemble of cellist Benjamin Glorieux and pianist Sara Picavet. The two ensemble pieces were commissioned by the Belgian Spectra Ensemble.(... nada.) is the most recent and most extensive composition of the cycle – it is almost as long as the other four parts of the cycle taken together. In this piece, I added electronics to the acoustic instruments. The electronic part takes as a starting point a series of recordings of fragments of (Paysages - études) I and (Paysages - études) V, played by Benjamin Glorieux and Sara Picavet. Later on, I added other recordings, both of written music and improvisations by Benjamin and Sara. Throughout the composition the live instruments and electronics dialogue with each other in three different ways. In the first part the instrumental component can be clearly distinguished from the electronic line. In the second part the two parties gradually merge, leading to the third part, in which the electronics are at the heart of the musical idiom. After a long electronic 'cadenza', the composition ends in a coda, which is integrally based on the first part of the whole cycle. The instruments reuse material of the second movement of (Paysages - études) I, while the electronic part was fully based on recordings of the same work.(...nada.) was commissioned by Centre Henri Pousseur and Aton’&Armide. (DJ)JEAN-LUC FAFCHAMPS3 Chants pour mieux voirIs it possible to write something like a melody today? It’s a thought that has been going through my mind for a long time. Often the tone which imposes itself when writing a melody is that of a mantra, not in the sense of a gentle religious hypnosis that leads to blindness and oblivion, but rather as a solitary and lucid song that strips the heart and the music of their desire for permanence and meaning, leading, metaphorically, to a shamanic clairvoyance. Songs to see better ... somehow. Like natural revelations, spaces of lyrical expression open up here and there, spaces of free and improvised appearance, often in unpredictable and versatile phraseology - like an interior monologue - but covertly conditioned by the strength of a relentless organization.A dozen piano notes are "prepared" in various ways, in order to renounce two idiomatic characteristics of the instrument: the homogeneity of its timbre and the tempered scale of heights. Therefore, the acoustical space reveals various expressive possibilities of the cello (microtonality, plasticity of timbre) and the duo takes a certain distance from typical chamber music, without necessarily denying its virtues. The distance between the ‘normal’ piano and the ‘diverted’ piano is, in fact, from the very start blithely traveled in all directions, which creates a particular dialectic between conformity and strangeness: neither fully conventional nor totally unbridled ... unconventional, one might say.The composition is structured as a triptych. Every movement unfolds the potential of a paradoxical device: evolving règles du jeu rather than a closed system. The internal dynamics of this dialogue characterized by changing assumptions, provide to the subsequent movements the dramaturgical virtues of an introspective quest - as each movement can be understood as the denial of a specific existential posture -, in a scantiness of darkly aquatic colors.… par en-dessous (2011) is based on a highly elastic temporality consisting of freely overlapping parts: the gongs and drones of the prepared piano, a few melodic lines that try to rise, some sporadic flashes. In the middle of the piece, everything is turned over at once, but since it is not possible to simply exchange the piano (discrete and tempéré) for the cello (virtually continuous and microtonal), everything is rebuilt in a different manner... this time shrinking to infinity, like a Chopin prelude translated into a continuous Risset loop... (Jean-Claude Risset is a French composer known for his pioneering contributions to computer music. He created for example scales or rhythmic loops in which each step seems continuous, thus creating effects such as endlessly increasing or decreasing tempi.)... derrière le mur (2013) is an attempt to detect a melody in the midst of a contrapuntal fabric treated as a spinning perpetuum mobile. But whenever a ‘living’ melodic line seems to want to exude from the ensemble, it is radicalized, and will disappear again. Unable to break the tile work or to cross it: at best it is a guess in the interstices. Foreclosure.... en dedans (2013), is like an ear overhearing the ‘inside’, it is the music presented as a question to contemplation. The original material consist of ethereal melodies and clusters of constantly changing chords, but that is not to say that everything is always so quiet inside... However, if all is not calm, there is no refuge. (J-L F)... par en-dessous was created by Emilie Girard-Charest (cello) and Jean-Philippe Collard-Neven (piano) on October 18, 2011 (Conservatory, Montreal, Canada). The piece is dedicated to them.... derrière le mur was created by Emilie Girard-Charest and Jean-Philippe Collard-Neven on October 26, 2013 (Montreal Conservatory, Canada).... en dedans is dedicated to Sara Picavet and Benjamin Glorieux, who created it at the festival Ars Musica (BOZAR, Brussels) on 21 March 2013.