Twenty candles and all the light on L'Instant Donné

Concerts 21.04.2022

L'Instant Donné is celebrating its twentieth anniversary at La Marbrerie in Montreuil, where it has been playing for ten years. The event is accompanied by the release on the Odradek label of two monographic CDs, those of Mikel Urquiza and Ramon Lazkano, both of Basque origin and included in the evening's programme.

L'Instant Donné is a collective of ten people (including eight instrumentalists) dedicated to contemporary creation. It is an undirected ensemble that functions on the basis of mutual listening, group synergy and the increased responsibility of each individual: a challenge that the musicians have taken up for twenty years, with the shared desire to "find the common breath". The breath, the voice, even if absent, is at the heart of the sound of this evening, with four works on the programme.

The first, Egan-2 (2006-2007) by Ramon Lazkano, is a piece for six instruments that is part of the 'Chalk Laboratory', a cycle of works paying homage to the Basque sculptor Jorge Oteiza: 'I don't have a narrative relationship to music. I think more about sculpture. Not from the point of view of form but of matter," explains Lazkano, whose desire is to experience the fragility and transience of sound matter. Egan means "flight" in Basque: Egan 2 is a music of touching, with moving and refined textures, whose outline seems to fade away as the composer gradually filters the low notes of a sound that disintegrates and is gradually lost in the breath.

The material and the gesture made on it are also at the centre of Bastien David's work, this dreamer of the unheard of who will present his Métallophone, a giant structure that took nine years to design, to the Parisian public on 8 May. The three stirring xylophones with their wooden blades are not his invention; however, the idea of playing them with a bow does come from him. In Six chansons laissées sans voix, Bastien David explores the capacity of instruments, all diverted from their usual function, to give voice: nasal, laryngeal, guttural, depending on the instrumental source and the ad hoc technique used. One sometimes thinks of the vocal games of the Inuits, which often end with a great burst of laughter. This strange and joyful little "choir" functions in rhythmic strata that accelerate or slow down at will: it yelps, it scrapes, it grumbles, it squeaks... Caroline Cren leaves her keyboard to rub a beautiful blue balloon with both hands, leading the whole troupe in a sort of Davidian batucada that the composer stops dead in its tracks. The engineering is amazing; the ease and precision of the instrumentalists, smiling at the end of the sixth song, are no less so!

The voice is there, that of Marion Tassou, who has joined the nine musicians of L'Instant Donné, in I Nalt be Clode on the Frolt (the title of which is left untranslated): these five alert and funny songs by Mikel Urquiza appear on the composer's monographic CD: "Cherche titre, Cherche femme, Cherche maison, etc.". The texts come from advertisements found on the Internet and put the soprano's voice in all its states; it is in turn hysterical, eccentric, looped or simply whispered. The instrumentalists follow her in her multiple behaviours and comment on her with a vitality of timbre and writing, a distanced humour and an invention that delight. The soprano's commitment, like that of the instrumentalists, is total, in a demanding score that does not spare its performers. The fifth movement, full of breath, is speechless: the music takes to the sea in the resonance of foghorns and other marine evocations...

Gérard Pesson wrote L' Instant tonné for L'Instant Donné, with whom he has worked since 2006. With À L'Instant, Georges Aperghis, also a long-time companion, present at this anniversary event like the three other composers, offers the ensemble a new dedication. The piece was born of workshop work, an elaboration in exchange with the instrumentalists: "There is a materialisation of the elements, a concretisation of the music that is much stronger because I know the performers... for me they are musical characters", the composer emphasises. In this theatre (without the theatre) where the voice sometimes emerges, a story is woven with its registers, its intonations, its solos and its collective manifestations which leave each one free to imagine a scenario: so many colours, gestures, playing techniques which contribute to the finalisation of this "addressed" work: the Japanese flutes of Mayu Sato-Brémaud, the resonant layers of Caroline Cren's piano, the bird-like register of Matthieu Steffanus' clarinet and Sylvain Devaux's oboe (guest musician), the sliding sounds of Esther Davoust-Kublez's harp, the santour of Maxime Echardour, the sung voices of Saori Furukawa and Elsa Balas, the luminous harmonics of Nicolas Carpentier's cello and many other sound manifestations that complete this "portrait" of L'Instant Donné and crown a very beautiful evening.

Michèle Tosi

La Marbrerie, Montreuil, 19-04-2022
Ramon Lazkano (b. 1968): Egan 2 for ensemble; Bastien David (b. 1990): Six chansons laissées sans voix for small ensemble; Mikel Urquiza (b. 1988): I Nalt be Clode on the Frolt, for soprano and ensemble; Georges Aperghis (b. 1945): À L'Instant for ensemble. Marion Tassou, soprano; L'Instant donné; Rémy Jannin, artistic coordinator; Emmanuelle Zoll, production, distribution, development.

Photos © Olivier Roller
Photos © Tommaso Tuzj
Photos © Rui Camilo


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