The 2e2m...EnTrance ensemble

Concerts 19.10.2022

With loss of control, or not, EnTrance is the title of the concert/disc release of 2e2m at La Scala Paris, the last festive event around this ensemble founded by Paul Méfano in 1972 which celebrates its half-century of existence.

On the threshold of fifty years of creation in all directions, a new era is emerging for 2e2m with its young artistic director, the thirty-year-old Léo Margue, conductor as well as pianist, saxophonist and improviser, who enthusiastically straddles genres and styles, the written and the unwritten, to open the floodgates of sound wide: witness the evening's program - and that of the disc released on the Scala Musique label - inviting the guitarist, composer and improviser Richard Comte.

The young Korean pianist Chae-Um Kim, a new member of the ensemble, opens the concert with the piece for piano and electronics Entr'ouvert by the Roman composer Giulia Lorusso. "The piano is my instrument [...]; I have an intimate, physical relationship with it," confides the composer, who has not chosen to perform her piece herself, as her compatriot Lara Morciano does. The challenge is to draw the listener into the heart of the instrument and its deep resonances that the electronics hybridize and transform: "It is a search for integration and synthesis of the different listening experiences of the world in which I am integrated and which resonate in me," says Giulia. The first minutes "work", under the very invested play of the interpreter and the progressive blaze of the keyboard but the piece does not hold all its promises, as for the role of the electronics in particular that one would have wished more active and scrutinizing.

On the other hand, we are amazed by the delicate and inventive art of bringing sound matter to life, through beams of color, multiple bursts, impacts and resonance, that Bastien David develops in Instinct, a piece of 2020 eminently chiseled by the conductor and his musicians. Like a living being, his music breathes, unfolds, diffracts or retracts: "I consider sound to be organic matter," says the composer who is in residence at 2e2m this year. He has chosen an ad hoc device, an instrumental sextet including accordion, harmonica (played by the bassoonist) and one of the six modules of his Métallophone, this percussion instrument in 12ᵉ of a tone over three octaves that he imagined and had made and that we could hear in its full resonance last May 8 at Radio France. Discreetly introduced, it irises the soundtrack ofInstinct, a floating layer and impalpable music of great finesse. However, the scene becomes more and more animated and the tone changes at the end, when one of the musicians leaves the row to give voice to the bassoonist's pipe: a theatrical dimension that our composer likes to provide within the sound dramaturgy.

During the long change of set due to the presence of electronics in Fausto Romitelli's two pieces, Leo Margue takes the microphone, inviting at his side the president of 2e2m, and composer himself, Tomas Bordalejo. They both talk about the adventurous spirit of Paul Méfano (who passed away in September 2020), the long list of composers played by the ensemble and the insane number of creations in which his wife and eminent pianist Jacqueline Méfano, who is present in the audience, has actively participated... Before launching the short radio piece by Pierre Juillard, a versatile artist (composer, improviser, collector of microphonic sounds) but also a geographer who immortalizes Paul Méfano's voice, lively, sonorous and whimsical as was his entire being. In this finely crafted montage of intermittent sound flow, he weaves the words of the musicians/technicians collected during the recording of the album with those of the composer, some of which resonate more than others: "Silence is the most effective music," he says in his inimitable tone.

The guitarist Richard Comte is alone on stage in Trash TV Trance (2002) by Fausto Romitelli. The instrument of psychedelic rock resonates a music of distortion, feedback and abrupt breaks which the performer seizes, in his own way, sending the decibels(Trash) and accusing the repetitive gesture(Trance). His short improvisation, some Echoes of A Trance, calms down the game and transits with the following piece, allowing the conductor and the orchestra to settle on the stage.

EnTranse (1995) is a ritualistic action for voice, instrumental ensemble and electronics, similar in many ways to the music of Claude Vivier(Bouchara for example). The voice performs certain gestures linked to the rite, such as the inhalations/exhalations performed with the swaying of the head. It is the singer Angèle Chemin who says the 15-syllable mantra from the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Romitelli breaks with linear conduct, proposing another listening experience where attention must be focused on the present moment: a music without edges that unfolds in the effervescence of sound, bordering on loss of control, and whose urgency and transcendental energy are communicated to us by the musicians of 2e2m, galvanized by the gesture of Leo Margue.

Michèle Tosi

La Scala de Paris, 15/11/2022, Festival Aux Armes Contemporains!
Giulia Lorusso (b. 1990): Entr'ouvert, for piano and electronics; Bastien David (b. 1990): Instinct, for bass clarinet, percussion, piano, accordion, double bass and percussion; Pierre Juillard (b. 1973): Hommage à Paul Méfano, for fixed sounds; Fausto Romitelli (1963-2004): Trash TV Trance, for electric guitar; Richard Comte: Some Echoes of A Trance; EnTrance, for soprano, instrumental ensemble and electronics. Angèle Chemin, soprano ; Richard Comte, electric guitar ; Chae-Um Kim, piano solo ; Ircam technique ; Serge Lemouton, electronics ; Sylvain Cadars, sound diffusion.

Photos © Ensemble 2e2m


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