The Ensemble(s) festival multiphonic

Concerts 21.09.2021

This is the second edition of the Ensemble(s ) festival, where five phalanxes dedicated to contemporary music (Cairn, 2e2m, Multilatérale, Court-Circuit and Sillages) have pooled their ideas and energy to bring live performance to the forefront for four days, with two concerts a day on the Pan-Piper stage in Paris.

The festival has renewed its partnership with the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris, inviting the performers of the DAI (Département d'Artiste Interprète) contemporary repertoire to join their elders as well as the students of the department of training in sound professions, in charge of the acoustics - a very delicate task - of a hall requiring amplification. The mediation is ensured this year by Corinne Schneider, who is present on all fronts, at the refreshment bar in the middle of the evening and at the front of the stage for the exchange with the directors of each ensemble and the guest composers.  

He is the headliner of this 2021 edition. The Austrian composer Beat Furrer (born 1954), founder of the prestigious Klangforum Wien in 1985, is present throughout the festival. Four of his pieces are on the programme, allowing a better approach to a fascinating personality whose strong attraction to the world of the plastic arts can be felt within a writing style that seems to proceed by analogy (divisionism of the touch). Played by the musicians of the Cairn ensemble, the trio Aer (1991) is a music of sonic effluences (fragility and shuddering) that swirl in the air before dissolving there. A pulse (on the piano) or a hold (on the cello) ensures the balance of the 'sound mobile'. Played by the musicians of Court-Circuit, Spur for string quartet and piano (1998) is elaborated in an economy of gesture and a reduced space where the pointillist and finely coloured writing traces its path in a moving and obstinate flow. The other two pieces bring together the performers of the five ensembles: conducted by Julien Leroy, Linea dell'orrizonte (2012) invites us to listen to the same intimate music in layers of sound and rhythm. Still (Arrêt/Silence), with an even larger ensemble, feeds this obsession with movement through music that sends signals, stops and then restarts, colours space (blocked trumpet) or discolours it (breath) according to a chain of micro-events that make the material shimmer: so many subtleties carefully detailed by Jean Deroyer at the head of highly responsive musicians.

Quality and parity in the younger generation

Six creations/commissions given to young composers (some of whom are still in the process of training) are included in this programme.
The moment III: Rejoice by Korean composer Sunyeong Pak, with Stockhausian resonances, belongs, as its title indicates, to the "Moment" cycle. The writing achieves a fertile convergence between spectral richness and energy of gesture, play of colour and movement of space (her tribute to the music of Beat Furrer) within a piece that is not without some length. We are less convinced by the piece by the Greek Stylianos Dimou, whose project and theatrical dimension are difficult to decipher in a concert that claims them. Manon Lepauvre 's Arc aux six couleurs draws, from one colour to the next, a trajectory "dal niente all niente" which works well without however avoiding some clichés. At the source of Florent Caron Darras ' project for Territoires (directed by Jean Deroyer) lies a field-recording work that he submits to his perceptive analysis and from which he remodels a soundscape, between imitation and transformation: vibratile matter, oscillations and multiple bursts invite us to listen intimately to a music whose intensity increases or decreases according to the degree of remoteness of the sound phenomenon.
L'espace opens up in a second, much more frontal part, which is far too short for our taste. Argos Panoptes by the young Argentinian Demian Rudel Rey impresses us under the invested and elegant gesture of Gonzalo Bustos at the head of his ensemble Sillages; the energy of the sound and the gesture is exerted as well as a formal authority and acoustic subtleties obtained thanks to the extended playing techniques and the unstinting investment of the musicians. The humorous text of the American poet Hailey Leithauser inspired the Korean Dahae Boo in O, she says, a veritable "theatre of astonishment" which features the luminous soprano Shigeto Hata in turn ingenuous, jovial, languid or even frightened: so many psychological states traversed and reflected by an instrumental writing that is as inventive as it is refined. 

Our favourites

They concern first of all the short pieces that prelude the different evenings. Such as these two miniatures for flute, two gems by Claire-Mélanie Sinnhuber (Bec) and Juan Arroyo(Étude pour un air brisé) written for Anatole (1st cycle) and Lina (2nd cycle), two students from the Conservatoire d'Ivry-sur-scène who have been invited to the big league. As a prelude, D'une étincelle, for viola and saxophone, by Maël Bailly, divinely played by the two performers of the DAI contemporary repertoire, Violaine Willem and Simona Castria, combines the delicacy of the timbre, the freshness and invention of the writing, the finesse of the line and the economy of means.
Their comrade and guitarist Omar Nicho created the event with JH, Tribute to Jimmy Hendrix by Peruvian Juan Arroyo , which recreates the universe of the electric guitar and its distortion pedals through the acoustic instrument: noise, resonance, saturation and other spectacular effects testify to the power of the gesture and the imagination of our composer challenging his performer.

Invention and seduction are at work in Fragments d'opale for piccolo (Jérémy Fèvre) and drum by the young Adrien Trybucki , who draws on the Korean tradition of Sanjo (shamanic music) for this duet in which the two partners are both autonomous and complementary. Theatrical and facetious,Ondrej Adámek 's Imademo features a singer (Shigeto Hata), a viola (Claire Merlet) and a sampler (Véronique Briel). In a piece close to Georges Aperghis' Récitations (although in Japanese!), an imaginary language is invented, both funny and ambiguous, where the viola extends the accents of the voice and sometimes replaces it.

A tribute to Paul MefanoPaul Méfano, who passed away just one year ago, is honoured on Sunday in the presence of his wife Jacqueline and through the warm words of Laurent Martin and Bernard Cavanna, two composers who were very close to the man who founded the ensemble 2e2m in 1972. The musicians of the five ensembles are led by Léo Margue in Ondes, espaces mouvants, a piece from 1974 stipulating a division of the instruments into three groups and according to three principles: absence, introversion and violence. The arrival of the amplified and spatialised strings in the high range of their tessitura gives the illusion of an electronic source; Méfano ingeniously erases the formal veins in favour of a free distribution of sound morphologies in a space that is built up as it goes along, superb as well as strange.

At the end of a second edition whose organisation and quality of broadcasting must be praised, a reflection is needed on the concert formats: presence of long pieces avoiding stage changes, presence of image and light, links with the theatre, sketched out this year but not finalised, exchanges with other ensembles outside of France are all points that should animate the discussion of our five directors looking "together" towards a third edition. 

Michèle Tosi

All comments have been transcribed and are available on the Ensemble(s) festival website


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