L’HARMONIE DES SPHÈRES (2006)

to Philippe HUREL and Pierre-André VALADE - Editions Leduc
flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, percussion - duration : 12’30’’
commissioned by French State for the Court-Circuit Ensemble
premiere: October 5th, 2006, Norway, Oslo, Festival Ultima
Court-Circuit Ensemble, Pierre-André VALADE (conductor)

 

Programme note

I borrowed the title from Pythagoras and Kepler. In my score, what interested me was not the theoretical aspect of their work, but rather the poetic and metaphorical aspect of their thoughts, turned towards the kinetics of the celestial bodies turning over on themselves, and the various geometric lines they draw in the universe.

The work is written in three parts which are played one after the other, without a break. In the first and the third part, I tried to preserve the idea of the three dimensions of space, by writing a purely instrumental work, and by creating true sonic perspectives, without making use of electroacoustic spatialization, or even the specific positioning of the musicians in the concert hall.

The first part "Symmetries" develops the interlacing of multiple « ribbon figures » (in arabesque shape) split by various types of mirrors (flat, oblique or distorting). The evolution of these « ribbon figures » is controlled by a piece of software (3a-table) created in the context of work on OpenMusic at Ircam

The second part "Malaise d'adolescent" is a musical parenthesis. It attempts to describe a nocturnal phenomenon, which has obsessed a part of my adolescence, by waking me brutally and by terrorizing me. Here, everything is composed around a straight line which has no ending. Several jolts, as violent as they are brief, occasionally perturb the apparent calm of this section. The instrumentation (with certain specific sounds and layers of shadow…) complete the composition of this musical fresco.

Finally "Quantic Movements" (third part) takes us to another universe, that of the infinitely small, where the universe was probably created. In this part, I tried to realize what Giacinto Scelsi had sought to develop in his music: "the sound is spherical and round". Thusly, multiplied in a very large number, these « sounds », turning independently on themselves, have been distributed onto four lines in the form of counterpoint. Each of these lines describes a trajectory which is unique to it and evolves in a sort of spatial canvas, beaded, demultiplied, and ends in the centre of a galaxy. Here, in this scorching nucleus, in this "black hole" the infinitely small and the infinitely vast join and merge.

3A

 

→ Poem Harmonie des sphères, p.55 in L'attente... L'absolu, Allain Gaussin, Editions d’écarts, Paris, 2013.

 

Listen
Court-Circuit Ensemble, Jean DEROYER (conductor) - 2007, Madrid, Auditorium Reina Sofia

 

Press articles

G.P.M., Gazzetta di Parma, 30 ottobre 2015

Passagi che si potevano cogliere in L’Harmonie des Sphères di Allain Gaussin, nella evocazione filtratissima di un’immaginaria architettura sonora, fatta di rapporti sottili, regolati da relazioni che vanno progressivamente sfaldandosi, come per un progressivo collasso, nello spettro della microtonalità; un brano elegante, suggestivo...

 

Michèle TOSI, ResMusica.com, 18 juin 2012

… Il dirigeait ensuite L'Harmonie des sphères, l'une des plus belles partitions pour petit ensemble d'Allain Gaussin, un compositeur dont on entend trop peu souvent la musique en France. Passionné d'astrophysique qui nourrit ici son inspiration, Gaussin entend traduire en musique et en mouvement, la cinétique des corps célestes tournant sur eux-mêmes: « mon désir était de donner, par le seul biais de l'écriture, l'illusion d'un espace à trois dimensions» déclare-t-il. Par un dosage très fin des sonorités et un remarquable travail sur les timbres et les textures qui se transforment à mesure, Gaussin modèle son matériau et en éprouve les ressorts expressifs au fil d'une trajectoire très étonnante qui captive l'écoute. Evan Christ et ses musiciens, tous remarquables, en entretiennent magnifiquement la tension jusqu'au déchirement - le « trou noir » évoqué par le compositeur - spectaculaire et définitif…

 

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