Program

Human non human

Human non human

The cello, acts as a mediator between the ensemble and the deep-sea sounds... and the results are strikingly beautiful, sometimes discomforting, and in the end profoundly elegiac.

The Guardian, 2018

Nature has been the inspiration of composers for centuries. Now, through the music of the 20th and 21st centuries, the virtuosi musicians of Ensemble Variances continue the narrative, providing an aural and contemplative awakening to the vital environmental issues of our time. Through Human non human Artistic Director Thierry Pécou creates a program which highlight the virtuosic artistry of Ensemble Variances’ musicians and stimulate our appreciation of nature’s lessons, urging audiences through the power of music to take note of the changes to our planet and to our friends in the animal kingdom. The program pairs contemporary sounds of Thierry Pécou, François-Bernard Mâche and Stevie Wishart.

A highlight of the programs includes Thierry Pécou’s Méditation sur la fin de l’espèce (Meditation on the end of the species). The twenty-minute bravura work – scored for solo cello, ensemble and processed whale songs, and the ensemble – has been critically acclaimed and appreciated by audiences at Wigmore Hall, Radio France, and Gaudeaumus Muziekweek (Netherlands). Pécou was inspired to write the work while a whale-watching trip to Northern Canada. Fascinated by the highly expressive songs of the sea mammals, Pécou’s recordings of the Canadian whale songs enter dialogues with the soloist, and the ensemble. “My composition questions the relationship between humans and non-humans and the redefinition of the concept of nature“. Ensemble cellist David Louwerse performs the solo. This programme emphasizes the new piece of François-Bernard Mâche’s Vigiles for flute, clarinet, piano, sampler and guitar. Born in 1935, Mâche is considered one of the most important musical figures in France today. As the outstanding student of Olivier Messiaen the composer and musicologist finds inspiration from bird songs and the myths of Ancient Greece, Sumeria and the Maya.

All composers in the program are committed naturalists who seek to move audience through their reflections on nature, the environment and our relationship.

Extract from a concert

Program

Thierry Pécou

Méditation sur la fin de l’espèce for solo cello, processed whale songs and ensemble (Commissioned by Radio France and Wigmore Hall) 

François-Bernard Mâche

Vigiles for flute, clarinet, piano, synthesizer, guitar and pre-recorded birds sounds (Commissioned by Ensemble Variances)

Stevie Wishart

Gardez la distance for flute, clarinet, piano and pre-recorded blackbird sounds (Commissioned by Ensemble Variances)

Programs, North American Tour 2022

March 19, Jacaranda Music

Olivier Messiaen

Le Merle noir

Olivier Messiaen

Thème et variations

Jeffrey Holmes

Kaun (Kenaz)

François-Bernard Mâche

Vigiles

Gérard Grisey

Nout

Thierry Pécou

Méditation sur la fin de l’espèce

March 22, Music on Main Vancouver

François-Bernard Mâche

Vigiles

John Luther Adams

Three High Places

Jeffrey Holmes

Kaun (Kenaz)

Thierry Pécou

Méditation sur la fin de l’espèce

March 29, Bourgie Hall Montréal

Alfred Schnittke

Hymne II

Claude Vivier

Pièce

François-Bernard Mâche

Vigiles

Marc Patch

Les mémoires du miroir de quartz

Thierry Pécou

Méditation sur la fin de l’espèce

Performers

8 musicians

flute, clarinet, cello, violin, double bass, guitare, electronics and piano

Informations

USA-Canada tour supported by: Fonds Institut Français / Région Normandie, FACE Foundation, Bureau Export, Centre National de la musique and ODIA Normandie.