for violin and piano
(Queen Elisabeth Contest 2009 - Compulsory work)
Above all, « V... » is conceived as a musical work for itself and certainely not as a compulsory work for an international contest. Therefore, the concept of virtuosity will not fall under the conventions of the past, but rather expresses the problems of a modern virtuosity : understanding the musical discourse, virtuosity in the relationship between timbre and
melodic-rhythmical formulations, virtuosic in the time control of music, etc...
As the incipit of the score says:
"V" as ...
VARIATIONS (on a sequence of [22 notes])
As this last sentence demonstrates, in this piece, composed for the Concours Reine Elisabeth (22 letters), the number 22 plays a fundamental role. Of course, V is the 22d letter of the Roman alphabet. But other equally significant factors are also at work in this composition :
- 22 as 22 shruti (which means « revealed knowledge » in Sanskrit) of Indian music – of course, in this composition, there is not an explicit reference to that music that I studied during a previous trip, but I simply wanted to encourage here some thoughts on the problem of pitch distorsion as a microtonal ornamentation and a path to musical expressivity ;
- 22 as the set of Major Arcana in occult Tarot - and the variety of actions of our innermost being that it underlies. This piece is conceived as a dynamic metaphor for the search of the meaning of our life, a journey in a personal geography that everyone (starting with the performer) could conceive (maybe following the 22 paths of the Kabbalah ?) ;
- 22 as the 22 pairs of chromosomes (the sex determined by the 23rd). There is something genetic in this music. Hence the first five bars contain the seeds for the all piece, 4th and 5th bars beeing non misurato to create an expectation, the ambiguity about time of 22 e [ or 23rd ?]. Then, the following routes will be taken by several qualities already present in these early measures, creating a principle of permanent changes, amplifications of certain qualities - such as in Beethoven's Diabelli. The "theme" and its genetic variations last a total of 44 sequences. But, take care : the latest sequences are not indicated in the score because of the specific time of the coda).
Few hints :
In this piece (as well as a large number of my works), the harmonies are derived from natural harmonics, their progressive distortion in slightly inharmonic phenomena - as if the piano and violin, in their fusion of timbre, became gradually a bell -, and spectral analysis of the violin (more difficult to discover in the score !)
To summerize, the first bar encourages us to listen. The second (by means of distortion, a kind of shruti) offers us the "neume" and refers to our inteligibility as well as our sensitivity. The third bar goes down to the materiality of the body and its choreography, drafts an enjoyment which will evaporate in the following two measures for the indiscible which reminds us to our listening. So this was all tags and attributes that will be developped throughout this musical journey.
The overall form is based largely on this initial momentum:
A : amplification of harmonies-timbres, distortions, and the gradual extension of "neumes" ;
B : equilibrium point ;
C : choreographic gestures (with reference to our contemporary world thanks to a subversive funky beat) ;
D – end : quivering flight as coda.
Be aware : these few lines are just a subjective view of the composer. They are not absolute truths. Everyone therefore can interprete that music in its own way, even, forget this text to offer his own vision of music. I composed this work, but now, this music is offered to the imagination of those wonderful musicians who will give it its life.