The premiere of French composer Gérard Grisey’s Quatre the note that Grisey took as the starting point for his ensemble work Partiels. PDF | The spectralism of Gérard Grisey: from the nature of the sound to the nature tween Périodes and Partiels, there is a correspondence between the closing. Debussy is one; Webern, another; Gérard Grisey – who would have been 70 this The opening of Grisey’s ensemble work Partiels () is.
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Posthumous London world premiere of Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil. Topics Music A guide to contemporary classical music.
Grisey was raised in rural Belfort, near the West German and Swiss borders, as the only child of working-class parents. Grisey was the initiator of spectral music a name invented by otherswhich, emerging in Paris in the s, reinserted harmony to post-tonal composition on a new footing. For Grisey, the possibilities of this approach were microscopic yet infinite. This latter quality is key: Classical music George Benjamin France blogposts.
Though he is by turns cast as the latest composer in the French coloristic tradition, or as the heir to Boulez in radically rethinking musical composition from the foundations up, perhaps what is most notable about Grisey is the humanness of his art and the seriousness of his vocation.
That music is a bridge to the Epilogue of the whole cycle, with its whooping chords for four solo horns, the sounds of grise universe of paryiels rejoicing in itself. How, then, Grisey asked himself, to reintroduce dynamism into this post-tonal material? So much for a decidedly spectral sketch of the theory, but let’s get stuck into what Grisey wanted us to get stuck into, which is the stuff of sound, the sounds his music makes.
Terrible coincidence as it was, the sense of expressive catharsis in that performance of Quatre Chants was only partly to do with Grisey’s own death; much more, it was down to the astonishing musical space that this piece conjured in its unflinching exploration of existence. He doesn’t say “sound not metaphor”, incidentally, because his music is not some abstract sonic science lesson, but about how sound affects our ears, about how we hear, about how it makes our brains and bodies vibrate, and what it can make us feel.
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By atomising sounds in this way, he could structure large pieces of music and spans of time, such as Partielsthat were based on an intense process of listening to an individual sound, exploding the smallest of sonic phenomena, a single note, on to the largest possible scale. If you analyse the complexity of the harmonic series of a single note played on a particular instrument — say a low E on a trombone — you find a teeming world of musical possibility.
The principles of spectralism are easy to describe, and like all good musical cliches, there’s more than a grain of truth in the term. But in retrospect, the “threshold” that the Four Songs crossed wasn’t only the event horizon that separates existence from non-existence, it was the door to a new kind of music that Grisey tragically would not have time to explore.
In his teens Grisey considered becoming a composer as nothing less than a God-given vocation. Grisey’s music is always crossing thresholds of sound and space, of slowness and speed, of time at its grandest and most fleeting.
Grisey timeline Studies at the Paris Conservatoire. Whether you use the “spectral” label or not, Grisey’s music is about sound as material, as physical element, as living phenomena.
Order by newest oldest recommendations. That’s true above all in the ethereal intertwining of the flute melody and the soprano voice in the final Berceuse movement, music which realises the post-cataclysmic serenity of a passage from the Epic of Gilgamesh, with its open-ended final words, “I looked at the sea’s horizon, the world …”.
A glittering, shimmering, light-filled chord begins Transitoires ; the music then seems to stop time with its pregnant pauses, and with echoes of sounds — a guttural double-bass growl, a low gong, a mysterious middle-distance drone — that are sustained, seemingly into the infinite.
The performance, by the London Sinfonietta, conducted by Grisey’s friend George Benjamin, was never supposed to be a memorial for Grisey, but his sudden death at the age of 52 the previous November meant that these death-haunted songs would be his last completed work, music that imaginatively explores the existential inter-zone between life and death.
Grisey’s mastery of a gigantic spectrum of sound, texture and feeling makes his music some of the most special of the late 20th century. As he said, “we are musicians and our model is sound not literature, sound not mathematics, sound not theatre, visual arts, quantum physics, geology, astrology or acupuncture”. Yet the composer had already given the world visionary, inspirational and complete music. Show 25 25 50 All.
It’s not just those Quatre Chants: After studies at the Hohner Academy griseu Trossingen, he entered the Paris Conservatoire, where he won all the main prizes, followed by a period at the Villa Medici and further studies in acoustics.
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Widely cultured — he spoke a few languages and was as knowledgeable about the art of gridey Quattrocento as about the culture of Ancient Egypt — Grisey retained from his early faith a tendency to the mystical, and he often couched his music in images of death. First lecture at the Darmstadt Summer Courses, telling his listeners about a new musical movement afoot in Paris.
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