A Franco-German artistic vibe with the Ensemble Variances (Rouen) and Das Neue Ensemble (Hanover)
The title En phase refers not only to the Indonesian gamelan but also to the piece Piano Phase by Steve Reich with its double instrument principle, reminiscent of the structure of the entangled melodic parts of the gamelan, and played on two identical instruments.
Using this same principle of duality, the programme includes Ensemble Variances playing side-by-side with the contemporary music ensemble, Das Neue Ensemble from Hanover, led by one of the key players in the contemporary music genre in Germany, Stephan Meier. Stephan is co-founder of the musical creation network Musik 21 Niedersachsen and director of the very dynamic Birmingham New Music Group.
In 2020, Thierry Pécou drew inspiration from the Balinese gamelan to compose his new piano concerto, pulling together a collection of pieces for solo piano, mischievously titled Well-Tempered Gamelan, playing freely with the characteristic sounds and compositions of gamelan gong kebyar from Bali. Ethnographic recordings as well as analyses by musicologist and composer Michael Tenzer are at the core of this score and form a common thread for the concert, reproducing the music’s inherent vitality including skilful microvariations and repetitive motifs and patterns.
The word ‘repetitive’ is often used to describe the music of Steve Reich, one of the great American masters of the genre, as evidenced in his piece Piano Phase, which is both percussive and jubilant, based on the phasing technique, and which can be compared to the tangled melee of fast melodies that characterise gamelan music.
An improbable contrast, but one that diverts the gaze and seeks to create a meditative moment reminiscent of another aspect of Asia, the score by the German composer Carola Bauckholt fits into a programme that is full of colour and rhythm.
Performed on January 1, 2022 at the Kestner Gesellschaft in Hanover (Germany) and on January 15, 2022 at the Rouen Conservatoire (France), the preparatory work on the programme was completed during a residency at the Conservatoire (2021-22 season) which has a well-established reputation in the region.
Manoa: Anne Cartel and Carjez Gerretsen on wind instruments wandered around the hall, so that the sounds of the work, intended to be played barefoot, were incandescent.
Thierry Pécou composer, musical director, piano
Anne Cartel flute
Carjez Gerretsen clarinet
David Louwerse cello
Marie Vermeulin piano
Das Neue Ensemble
Stephan Meier musical director, piano
Daniel Agi flute
Udo Grimm clarinet
Josie ter Haar violin
Jessica Kuhn cello
Christof Hahn piano
Märsche den Sieg zu verfehlen (March to miss the victory)
Manoa por bass flute, bass clarinet and cello
Luftwurzeln or flute, clarinet, violin and cello
Mask – or Masque (Incidental II) for two flutes
Piano Phase for two pianos
Gamelan bien tempéré (Well-Tempered Gamelan) for piano
A quattro voci for two flutes, two clarinets, violin, cello, piano and electric organ (version for Das Neue Ensemble and Ensemble Variances)
A co-Production by Das Neue Ensemble and Ensemble Variances. Supported by: The National Centre Of Music, Sacem, Odia Normandie, The City Of Rouen and The Regional Conservatoire Of The City Of Rouen, The Musik 21 Niedersachsen Musical Creation Network, The Ministry Of Science And Culture Of Lower Saxony, The Niedersachsen Foundation, The Twinning Committee Of The City Of Hanover, Capital Of The Land and The Cultural Partner Ndr Kultur.