The Regards in the Light Ensemble

Concerts 10.12.2021

At its Parisian concert entitled "INTERLIGHT - DEATH OF LIGHT" on Saturday 27 November at the Auditorium of the Cité internationale des Arts in Paris, "Regards", created by six composers (*) in 2013, testifies to an in-depth work for the historical repertoire and musical creation, combined with a remarkable dynamism.

There are evenings when one goes to a concert contentedly, but without any particular passion, only driven by curiosity about a programme, or the solicitation of a friend who tells us to go. And then the interest shifts immediately, from the very beginning, thanks to the very substance of the evening, because the musicians - composers as well as performers - are there, incarnate and sensitive. Such was Saturday evening, in what it traced: the invigorating trajectory of a very varied programme.

This concert was part of the Quinzaine Culturelle du Pérou en France - Quipu 2021 (**), and we must pay tribute to these ambitious initiatives that allow us to listen to works from afar.
(Such as Sonomundo, a new cultural association between France and Peru described by Michèle Tosi - Editor's note)

Thus the composer Fernando Valcárcel - also conductor and director of the Peruvian National Orchestra - conducts the world premiere of his Trueno for song and ensemble, on which Maya Villanueva provides the vocal lead with finesse. The piece presents an interesting syncretism of sound, visibly stemming from both his South American roots and his extensive knowledge of French music: like a Villa-Lobos or a Ginastera, and after Debussy, he composes a score in which these plural languages are not confronted, but melted into a very personal 'melting pot'. Unconsciously perhaps, he illustrates the "(...) attempt to discover in its forms, in its colours, in its light, in its shadows, in the aspects of matter and the facts of life itself, what is fundamental to them, what is lasting and essential(...)" that Joseph Conrad(***) evokes.

The concert opened with a simple melody for viola, Chant, by the English composer Jonathan Harvey, performed by Elodie Gaudet with a humility entirely in keeping with the work.

Sylvain Devaux then presents the fine babble of Berio's Sequenza for oboe with disarming ease, and an obviousness of articulation that gives the work ductility and Italian freshness, adding a playfulness that goes hand in hand with its infinite modernity: it is impossible to realise that this is a performance at the drop of a hat (replacing the Sequenza for cello that was scheduled), so comfortable does the musician seem to be in illuminating this work that is so virtuoso. 

In the Trois commencements pour Trio à cordes by Vincent Trollet, also in first performance, which follow - they obviously deserve to be listened to many times before being discussed - the richness of the writing overflows at many moments: the composer's predilection for the voice and his great culture frequently show through in a construction which does not hesitate to alternate complexity and simplicity. The form adopted does not seem clear to us - nor is it entirely faithful to the title!- This is an ambitious composition, played with homogeneous clarity by Pauline Klaus (violin), E Gaudet (viola) and Myrtille Hetzel (cello) - comfortably replacing the ailing Marie Ythier - despite the difficulties that beset each part.

Finally, in the face of the amnesia that threatens us in all matters, theEnsemble Regards does not hesitate to bring to light an important composer who disappeared ten years ago: Jonathan Harvey. 

There is no need to hide the scepticism that we felt at first when we read that Harvey's Death of light/ Light of death lasted 25'... In reality, the finesse of the work in rehearsal is immediately apparent here, led by Juan Arroyo, an imaginative composer who we discovered that evening is also a conductor, clear and expressive: this finesse builds up the work, and listening to it gains in contemplation. The composition in 5 contrasting movements, intelligently linked here, thus seems almost brief, and thus its choice appropriate. The instrumental balances are always achieved: the English horn succeeds in the third movement in blending with the strings, which is never easy; Constance Luzatti plays from the outset with an impressive presence, alternately of finesse or energy, and places her harp in constant balanced dialogue with her partners.  

Harvey has his own particular 'Stimmung', and if the tense drama reminiscent of Grünewald's Issenheim Altarpiece at the beginning of the first piece makes him identifiable in himself, it is expressed even more at many moments, and by the gradual calming that follows, punctuated by the fading strokes of the tam. 

Conrad again: "(...) the subtle and irresistible power gives ephemeral events their true meaning and creates the moral and emotional atmosphere of place and time". A quote that could apply to Harvey as well as to the whole programme!

Thus the Regards ensemble has established itself as an important player in today's musical creation and (re)discovery, which should be followed with the same affection as these musicians who are totally committed to their projects. Original projects that in no way duplicate others, whether they come from Peru or elsewhere, but draw bridges for us this evening towards the luminous distant worlds of Harvey and South American creation.

S. Onimo

(*) Juan Arroyo, Carlos de Castellarnau, Florent C. Darras, Keita Matsumiya, Vincent Trollet and Hiromi Watanabe.
(**) concert organised with the support of the Peruvian Embassy in France; SACEM; Spedidam; Tissier GrandPierre Foundation
(***) in the preface of 'Le nègre du Narcisse'.


buy twitter accounts