PHILAE (2015)

to Martino TRAVERSA - Editions Leduc
violin - duration : 8’
commissioned by Philippe ARRII-BLACHETTE
premiere : October 28th, 2015, Italy, Parme, Traiettorie Festival
Alexandra GREFFIN KLEIN (violin)


Programme note

This work for solo violin is a tribute to human genius, today capable of guiding a tiny robot through the vastness of outer space towards an equally tiny target: the Chury comet. On November 12th, 2014, after more than ten years of travelling through space, Philae successfully touched down and began to beam back data that continues to reveal "the building blocks of life", never before observed on a small celestial body.

Like much of my music, Philae seeks neither to describe nor to tell, but rather to translate my impressions upon contemplating the images that have been sent back to us and more largely, this extraordinary European technical achievement.

The score alternates abruptly between smooth and rough, light and dark, slow and fast, lively and still. I also wanted to further my research into melody, begun in my earliest works, while exploring the distinctive technique and beautiful timbre of the violin. To do so, I have used, throughout the score, three materials that are easily recognisable to the ear : a swooping motif (like the "backwards" sound thrusted by the bow, which we hear right in the first bar and which returns throughout the work) ; rapidly-played notes (grouped in a harmonic constellation) employing the spiccato technique so specific to this instrument; and last, a sequence of notes that are repeated on the violin's open A string. This sequence becomes increasingly present through the insertion of satellite notes as well as its mutation, near the end of the work, with very soft "bow rolls".

Expressing this force that sends a little robot across the universe is also, perhaps, to express the one that drives the scientist to push an experiment further, and the composer to invent/create new spaces.



Update September 2015


Press articles

Dominique CRESSON, Ouest France, 26 novembre 2015

" ...Lyonel Schmit qui s’attaque à bras-le-corps à l’oeuvre d’Allain Gaussin, Philae. Un goût d’espace s’il en est. Une puissance qui nécessite une virtuosité qui n’a rien à voir avec celle d’un robot. Impressionnant. Nous ne dirons jamais assez tout le respect et l’admiration que nous éprouvons pour le compositeur et l’interprète... "


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