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ABE KEIKO – Good days long gone

creation : 02 septembre 2017 at Kalima Festival, Lausanne
musicians :  6 percussionists 
duration : 10'

"I composed this piece to express my strong desire to rediscover the happiness that was in me in the good old days. The first rhythmic motif, echoed by two tubular bells, expresses my lament for a return to better times, as if to shout "happy days, come back to me!". The melody expressed in these "good old days" begins calmly and consists of a rhythmic pattern that develops in a sustained rhythm to permeate the piece. To compensate for this, the basic rhythm increases in volume to create a powerful climax. Tubular bells and the Thai gong play a melody along this rhythm and, after its climax, the theme heard at the beginning is replayed twice. A vibraphone melody is played over the silence and lingers towards the end".

Abe Keiko



ACUNA MARISA

Creation : 19th june 2014 at Paris 8 University
Duration : 5'



ADAMEK ONDREJ – Fishbones

creation : 8 septembre 2007 at Abbaye de Royaumont
music and conception : Ondrej Adamek
musicians : 6 percussionists
duration : 14'

The sounds that slip, carry a certain nostalgia, solitude, anxiety… they resemble the human voice! The percussion instruments plunged into the water drown us in an aquatic sound that will gradually turn into a metallic scream. The cynical idea of the life cycle of fish came to me during the elaboration of this piece, a life that begins with hatching freely in the ocean and ends in the pressure of cans.



AGOBET JEAN-LOUIS – Répliques

Creation : 30th September 2001, Festival Musica (Strasbourg)
State Command for the Percussions de Strasbourg
Composition : 2001
Number : 6 percussions (sextuor of Sixxens)
Duration : 12′
Edition : Jobert

The composition project for the Percussions de Strasbourg was to include, in addition to the Sixxens, a number of instruments with harmonic (vibraphone and marimbas) and inharmonic (cowbells, small tuned gongs) keyboards. However, I was very quickly absorbed by the Sixxens to the point of writing a sextet. These instruments have the peculiarity, apart from being totally inharmonic, of not respecting a strict chord between them. The same note, the same figure can be heard differently depending on whether it is played by one or the other of the six instruments. It is therefore this idea of the multiplication of figures that is at the centre of the piece (harmony and interval becoming very secondary elements), like a three-dimensional musical object that could be observed at the same time from several angles, thus leading to an appreciation of it, to consider it differently. I wanted to dedicate this piece to the memory of Iannis Xenakis, for whom the Sixxens were conceived.

Jean-Louis AGOBET



ALBIN ROGER – Symphonie concertata

creation : 20 juin 1972 at Palais des Fêtes, Strasbourg
duration : 20'

The titles of the three movements are explicit enough not to go into their forms. The composer's concern was to highlight, in addition to the virtuosity of each instrumentalist, the nature of the three great groups of modern percussion: skins, metals and woods. Each group is assigned to a movement according to its nature and its kinship with the style of that one.



ALSINA CARLOS ROQUé – Eloignements

creation : 02.11.1991 - Festival Inventionen Berlin (State command)
musicians : 6 drummers
duration : 15'
publisher :  Zerboni/Leduc

"Two premises are at the origin of this work: the wish to write for percussion instruments in a logic of homogeneity of realization (i.e. as if all the elements of percussion were only integral parts of a single instrument, played by several musicians) as well as at the same time the will to deepen data inherent to "chamber music", in such a sound constellation.

In the first movement, the instrumental sounds merge with those generated by the use of the voice and various ways of playing (with fingers or nails).

The second movement, a kind of short rhythmic burlesque, creates a sensation of "walking-walk", regular and inexorable.

In the third part, an ostinato movement sets the basis for a rhythmic and harmonic development. »

Carlos Roqué Alsina (September 1990)



ALVAREZ JAVIER – Temazcal

creation : 1984, London, UK
duration : 8'
musicians : 1 percussionist, amplified maracas and electroacoustic sounds

Temazcal, the Mexican word meaning ‘burning water’, combines a single pair of maracas with pre-recorded sounds. Improvising around rhythmic patterns taken from Latin American folk music, the maracas weave through a world of electronic noises and rhythmic shadows. In the words of composer John Adams, ‘The music of Javier Alvarez reveals influences of popular cultures that go beyond the borders of our own time and place.’



AMY GILBERT – Cycle

creation : 11.09.1967, The Venice Biennale, by Les Percussions de Strasbourg
musicians : 6 percussionists
duration : approx. 14'
publisher : Heugel, Paris



ANDRé MARK – Tempus perfectum

creation : 09.10.1999 – Festival Présences, Radio France (Paris)
music : Marc André 
duration : 18'
muscians : 6 percussionists
publisher : Durand

The notion of ’Tempus perfectum’ originated in the new metrical architecture formulated at the end of the thirteenth century in Europe. This must be one of the most beautiful utopian concepts in Western art: the formulation of a ’perfect time’ or perfect meter. The latter would ideally allow the reconnection of the finite with the infinite, and the idea of a beginning with that of an end somewhere else. Such is the goal of ’Tempus perfectum », which was written especially for the soloists of the Percussions de Strasbourg. The works is also dedicated to Odile and Gilbert Charvet.



ANTHEIL GEORGES – Ballet mécanique

creation : 1924/1954 (21 February) at Colombia University (1954)
duration : 15'

Ballet mécanique is the best-known work by the American composer George Antheil (1900-1959), written between 1923 and 1925, with a revision in 1953. Dudley Murphy and Fernand Léger directed the film with the homonymous title that was to accompany the ballet .

The Mechanical Ballet is a joint project of George Antheil, an American composer living in Paris, and filmmakers and artists Dudley Murphy and Fernand Léger. Although Antheil's score was to serve as the soundtrack to the film, the two parts of the work were not brought together until the 1990s.

The work was originally written for an orchestra of sixteen mechanical pianos (pianolas), xylophone and percussion before the ensemble was extended to other, more heterogeneous instruments. Thus the orchestration of the Mechanical Ballet became very particular since the score finally included several pianos, electric timbres, an aeroplane propeller and a percussion ensemble. Its inspiration is futuristic, even Dadaist. The term "ballet" is somewhat usurped, as the composer did not plan any actual choreography to his music, which was originally supposed to be the soundtrack to a film.

The premiere took place on June 19, 1926, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées with a success that was not repeated in the United States a year later.

The work consists of a single movement and its performance lasts just over a quarter of an hour.

As much as the painter, the American composer expresses the fascination that the objects of modernity at the time exerted on him.

In its 1952-53 revised version, this one-part, nearly quarter-hour score calls for only two pianos, two mechanical pianos and eight percussionists.



APERGHIS GEORGES – Kryptogramma

creation : 12 July 1972 at Festival du Marais, Paris
duration : 18'
musicians : 6 percussionists
publisher : Durand

Kryptogramma: what is written in secret characters, in code, in encrypted language. Indeed, this work (written for the Percussions de Strasbourg) is constructed from rhythms borrowed from classical masterpieces which are codified in such a way that they become indecipherable. At the beginning of the score, a certain number of simple rhythms are exposed and then, as they develop, a canvas of ascending movements and large fluctuations in density begin to appear. From then on, the work develops through a series of variations (continuous or interspersed) on the relationships of intervals and rhythms arising from the ascending movements.



ARR GARETH – From the depths sound the great sea gongs

creation : 1996, New Zealand
duration : 25'
For orchestra.
Commande du New Zealand Symphony Orchestra pour son 50ème anniversaire.

Part I – The Invocation of the Sea

The sounds gather in the air, music from the far reaches of the Pacific, the drums of Rarotonga in the East, the Gamelan of Bali in the West, the taiko of Japan in the North, the Haka of Aotearoa in the South. The sounds dart over the waves, mingling into the great crescendo, millions of voices singing, millions of hands drumming, as one.

Part II – Thus Spake the Sea Gongs

The flurry of sound stirs up little whirlwinds on the surface of the water, as they beg the sea to hear their invitation. Far below in the gloomy depths lurk the Great Sea Gongs. Unseen by human eyes, they hang motionless, bronze monuments in a world untouched by light. There, they have remained, silent, for millions of years, waiting…

A sound penetrates the depths. For a few moments nothing happens. Then, imperceptibly, a low pulsating begins. The gongs start to vibrate, to rise and rush towards the surface. The sea churns and boils, its colours changing, sapphire, emerald, steely grey.

The sea explodes as the gongs burst forth, gleaming bronze, trailing strings of seaweed. They hang in the sky, austere and silent. Trillions of litres of water splash off the gongs back into the sea, wiping out a small outpost of French scientist on a nearby atoll. The gongs sound a single cadential note and, without fuss, slide back into the sea.

Source : 

http://www.promethean-editions.com/php/PubDetail.php?pubID=57&Composer=Gareth%20Farr&SSID=1&SSSID=4


BALLIF CLAUDE – Cendres

creation : 10.07.1972 (Opus 1 composed in 1946)
duration : 19′
musicians : 3 percussionists

CENDRES for three percussion ensembles – Opus 1- 1946 –

was performed in part under the direction of André GIRARD at the recital  : «  War and Poetry  », organized by Henry PICHETTE and Jean-Louis BARRAULT at the Odéon Theatre in 1961, thanks to Maurice ROCHE who had know the piece since 1948.

It was also partially performed, with the composer as conductor, for the film on Claude BALLIF in the series «  The man and his music  » by P. WOLZINSKY and J.TREBOUTA in 1969. It was the request of F.PIGEAUD, General Secretary of the French Youth orchestras, that the «  Percussions de Strasbourg  » gave the first full public performance of CENDRES at the Festival du Marais (Paris) in July 1972, since when it has remained on their repertoire.

A work for three small percussions orchestras, CENDRES was composed in Bordeaux in 1946 and dedicated to the memory of all the war dead. The parts are  :

1. Shock
2. Litany Rage
3. Contemplation (corpses, lost souls)
4. Dies Irae
5. Choral for the dead

«  There is nothing more apt for expressing the silence of grief than unadorned percussion  » wrote Claude BALLIF in 1968 (Revue Musicale N°263).



BARRAQUE JEAN – Chant après chant

creation : 23.06.1966 at Strasbourg
duration : 22'
musicians: 6 percussionists
dedicated : Percussions de Strasbourg

Composed for six drummers, voice and piano in 1966, for the Groupe instrumental des percussions de Strasbourg, which premiered it in this city on 23 June 1966, Chant après chant belongs to the second Book of Virgil's Death, a vast cycle conceived around the novel by Hermann Broch, this second book evoking "the nocturnal anguish that decides a creator, on the threshold of death, to destroy his work". Barraqué planned to produce several random versions of this fragment of Virgil's Death, one of which was to be reserved for percussion instruments only. In the original version here, piano and voice join the six percussion desks, which bring together nearly one hundred and forty instruments belonging to more than thirty different species (among them: Mokoubyos, Creole timpani, Thai gongs, etc.).

Such a broad use of percussion instruments, with "sometimes rich but often limited possibilities," notes the composer, "influences the writing itself; it is therefore often directed, inflected according to purely sonic imperatives that determine the fluctuation of musical discourse in the formal commentary. A family of timbres, considered to be true driving agents (with, at the extremities, long-resonance instruments as opposed to short-attack instruments and, in the centre, instruments with multiple possibilities), allows, despite the proximity of determined and indeterminate sounds, a serial articulation on the polyphonic level. In spite of the instrumental limitations of the work's programme, the texture is very complex, with intensities playing an essential role. The composer has been led to open up the dynamic range to the maximum; this is particularly noticeable in the many rolling effects that run through the work, some of which range from the most tenuous pianissimo to the paroxysm of force. To the waves and crackling of the drums, the piano contrasts a sometimes pointillist, often sumptuous writing, which is inserted into the sound device like a foreign body and gives it an additional tension.

Curiously, the voice is less predominant in Chant après Chant than it is in Séquence. Rather, it slips, sometimes furtively, into the openwork space of a polyphony of varying density. On a few occasions, she escapes from it for an instantly muffled cry. Yet the sung text probably carries more weight than it does in Sequence. He commissioned the composition of the work. Barraqué established it himself, borrowing shreds of phrases from Hermann Broch and setting them in a poetic commentary that he freely wrote. The whole is asymmetrically arranged around the central figure: "Seas of Silence", which is whispered by the voice of the instruments, abandoned for a moment. This central figure, preceded and followed by a long "pause" (to use the author's terminology), is one of the avatars of the silence-sound-silence triptych, one of the main motifs of Virgil's Death.

An epic work, a paroxysmal work, Chant après Chant occupies, in The Death of Virgil, a situation that we could have really appreciated if the second Book had been completed. As it stands, this important fragment constitutes, in the same way as the restored Time, a whole whose unity can be apprehended on the level of vocal, instrumental and poetic style, as well as on the less accessible level of form.

André HODEIR



BÄRTSCH NIK – Shaker Kami

commission : Percussions de Strasbourg, with the help of the Impuls Neue Musik Foundation and Pro Helvetia
creation : 14.02.2020 @ JAZZDOR, Strasbourg
composition : Nik Bärtsch
musicians : Nik Bärtsch (piano), Flora Duverger, Théo His-Mahier, Enrico Pedicone, Rémi Schwartz (drums)
coproduction : Festival JAZZDOR et CCAM, Scène nationale de Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy
duration : 60′

In the continuity of our collaborations with Jazz figures (Andy Emler Megaoctet, Bobby Previte, Franck Tortiller Quartet, …), Percussions de Strasbourg venture in the universe of the minimalistic jazz of Nik Bärtsch. His work is at the intersection of contemporary music, jazz, and feeds on influences from funk. The use of repetition, as well as interlacing structures of elements in his music, suggests the influence of minimalistic music, especially Steve Reich.

On tour : 

14.02.2020 : Festival Jazzdor, Strasbourg                                                                                     07.03.2020 : Apple&Olives, Zürich
11.04.2020 : Theaterhaus, Jazztage Festival, Stuttgart
22.05.2020 : Festival Musique Action, CCAM de Nancy



BATTISTELLI GEORGIO – Psychopompos

creation : 02 April 1988 at Nice (France)
duration : 15′
commission : CIRM/Nice/Festival Manca
dedicated to Les Percussions de Strasbourg

The mythical figure of PSYCHOPOMPOS is linked to the reign of the dead.

The Psychopompos is the one who accompanies the souls from the reign of the living to the reign of the dead, beyond the Great River.

Duality is one of the elements that characterizes the Psychopompos, two elements that form one body. The piece PSYCHOPOMPOS tries to give a body and a voice to an imaginary choir represented by six performers and six instruments on the stage, which during certain passages dialogue and emerge like the voices of an invisible choir. From a choir of souls living in the cylindrical body of the archaic drum. The instruments used for this piece are six friction drums of different sizes, a xylo-marimba and a bass marimba. This type of friction drum is called in Naples and throughout the countryside: Putipu.

This instrument is formed by a metal cylinder, one of the bases of which is closed, while a skin membrane is stretched over the other. In the centre of this skin is fixed a reed. The sound is produced by the friction of the wet hand on this reed. I chose the Putipu because this instrument is the one that, for me, best symbolises the idea of the double.
The Putipu symbolically represents bi-sexuality. The cylinder is the feminine element, the reed the phallic symbol. It is the favourite hermaphrodite instrument of Pulcinella, the most archaic character in the Comédie Populaire, who is having fun but always wears clothes in the colours of death: the white of the costume, the black of the mask. PSYCHOPOMPOS is to be interpreted as a dialogue song for six voices in a low and mezzo register. The sound is produced either by the archaic technique of the instrument or by a new technique to be created. PSYCHOPOMPOS is written for the six Percussionists of Strasbourg who will have to lead the listener from the reign of the real to the disturbing reign of the indefinite.


G. BATTISTELLI



BAYER FRANCIS – Propositions III

creation : 21 June 1984 – Festival d’Angers (France)
composition : 1982
commission : Ministère de la Culture (Direction de la Musique)
musicians : 6 percussionists
duration : 16′

Propositions 3 for six groups of percussion instruments, is the third piece in a series of compositions all bearing the same title, and each in its own way, attempts to explore a specific sound territory, in relation to a research more particularly focused on the question of timbres.
The work is presented in the form of a vast dynamic curve of four linked sections that are played in one piece. Each of these sections corresponds to the use of a figure of unique intensity (fortissimo, diminuendo, pianissimo, crescendo), the exclusive priority given to one of the four major families of percussion instruments (skins, metals, keyboards, woods), and the use of a particular type of musical writing, organically linked to the intensity and instrumental color chosen for each section : Thus, for example, in the first section - fortissimo, entrusted to the skins - it is the rhythmic aspect that predominates, thanks to the presence of a counterpoint of four rhythmic themes played several times in superimpositions and successions of different times.
The second section - diminuendo, entrusted to the metals - could be defined as a series of color and timbre variations on a musical idea that remains invariable and always uses the same instruments (cymbals and tam-tams) for its sound realization. The third section - pianissimo, entrusted to the keyboards - is characterized by the creation of a new harmonic and expressive climate, made possible by the constantly attenuated dynamic nuance of the passage and the exclusive use of instruments with specific pitches. As for the fourth and last section - crescendo, entrusted to the woodwinds - it rests entirely on the gradual and continuous acceleration of a rhythmic ostinato within which other sound figures, sometimes new, sometimes already heard, attempt to incorporate themselves in turn.

Francis Bayer



BIANCHI OSCAR – Aqba, Nel soffio tuo dolce

creation : 28 August 2005 – Abbaye de Royaumont (France)
musicians: 6 percussionists
duration : 14′
publisher : Universal

"A singer from Mozambique, with whom I often collaborated in Italy, used a kind of phoneme during his improvisations, a full, round and rhythmically unique sound. Aqba is my literal perception of this phoneme, whose beauty has always intrigued me.

Aqba is the poetic reference that runs through the whole work: a plastic sound that swings between the depth of timbre (first section) and the excitement of rhythm (second section). An idea, an ideal of beauty that passes through the ancestral to return to the silence of a breath, nel soffio tuo dolce.

Writing for percussion means entering the universe of X, the space of the unknown, where the alchemy of timbre constantly dialogues with the exuberance of rhythm. In this dialectic, the work Aqba, nel soffio tuo dolce pays homage to the first silence, to the intimate dimension in the experience of sound. »

Oscar Bianchi



BIRTWISTLE HARRISON – For o for o

creation : 10/04/1978, Tokyo 
music : Harrison Birtwistle 
ordered by : Les Percussions de Strasbourg
musicians : 6 percussionnists 
duration : 30 mn
publisher : Universal

« Belike this show imports the argument of the play. » — Ophelia, Hamlet, III, 2

In his literally unlimited ability to repeat differently, to spin out new ways of saying from old words, Shakespeare is perhaps a kindred spirit for Harrison Birtwistle. No one’s saying they’re brothers in attitude or orientation, mind you, but both have a stunning penchant for « recursive invention, » with minds like thesauruses for their respective media. In the case of Birtwistle’s 1976 « ceremony for six percussionists, » For O, for O, the Hobby-Horse is Forgot, the composer actually meets the bard head-on, and on similar terms. The result of one of the more fascinating and ingenious examples of « musical theater » in recent times, especially because the linking metaphor is so striking: it is the « play within a play, » that archetype of recursive invention itself.

Behind this meeting of minds was the « ceremony’s » fortuitous occasion: in the year Birtwistle composed the score, he was working with the English National Theater on incidental music for a production of Hamlet. It was that famous scene in Act III, when Hamlet gets traveling players to perform a pantomime, that Birtwistle decided to use as the founding stone for an extended composition — and thus did Birtwistle take his title from Hamlet’s bitter lines « …he shall suffer not thinking on, with the hobby-horse, whose epitaph is, ’For O, for O, the hobby-horse is forgot. »

Hamlet’s vicious irony is perhaps less the subject of Birtwistle’s score than the dumb-show itself, a wordless play of antagonistic forces which symbolically enacts the murder (of Hamlet’s father by Hamlet’s uncle) around which the entire play revolves. A banal and vulgar operation in itself, the pantomime prophecies the tragedy’s ultimate trajectory whose end, yielding a poisoned queen and pierced-through king caught in the eyes of a dying, epiphany-shaken Hamlet — he’s seen the scene before. The play and the « play » are reversed, the « within » inverted, and a vicious cycle of repetition closed.

With his penchant for brilliant « dumb-shows, » in which musical performers execute a vigorous, skeletal theater of sounds and positions, Birtwistle creates in For O, for O… a gripping symbolic ritual of pulses. He mutates the self-reflective element in Shakespeare’s theatrical scenario into a purely pulse-driven world of interrelated tempi. Two of the six percussionists are labeled « king » and « queen »; their movements carefully choreographed, they control the ceremony for the « chorus » of the remaining four players; all playing on a wide range of unpitched percussion, the performers revolve cycles of simpler rhythmic cells around an elaborately embellished central pulse; developed to cacophonous heights in the work’s middle section, the pulse returns in the austere last section.

Some listeners might feel that very little of Shakespeare remains in Birtwistle’s score, and to a certain degree the composer intended this as measure of his dedication to formal musical aspects. But in its self-spiraling menace, Birtwistle’s score is perhaps a deliberately emptied and silenced tragedy, a Birtwistlian « secret theater » tacitly mirroring « the argument of the play. » All Music Guide



BLONDEAU JULIA – Théâtre d’ombres

creation : 28.05.2015 at Théâtre de Hautepierre, Strasbourg (France)
duration : 15'
musicians: 6 percussionists
commission : Percussions de Strasbourg

« For this piece I imagined a large shadow theater performed around a central percussionist. Each percussionist plays a specific percussion family (for the center metal, wood or leather for five percussionists). Then are created, through the polyphony, synchronizations of more or less independent temporal layers, or by the more conventional liners, a drama in which each character is hiding behind another or comes to the « front » to make his speech more directly.

They are playing on the idea of ​​resonance and on life that the latter can reveal from a simple attack, a « coup de theatre » so to speak! The shadows that act in the central percussionist’s resonances form a counterpoint that sometimes take ascendancy over him. The work of the same name created by artist Christian Boltanski has been a strong inspiration, a poetic perspective. The « stories » are performed in many ways while giving an impression of great cohesion.

More than a theater, a constellation of shadows playing, with respect to each other, a parable about what can be polyphony. « 

Julia Blondeau



BOEUF GEORGES – Six chants pour la terre

creation : 16 January 1992, Théâtre de la Criée, Marseille (France)
dedicated to Percussions de Strasbourg

There is indeed the Song of the Earth by Gustav Malher. But can this Earth still sing today? Shouldn't it be appropriate to sing for it, to evoke its beauty at the very moment when it is threatened?

If it is appropriate to speak of man's dramas, torments and death, it is obvious to express the same feelings for this Earth that gives us life.

In romantic expression, she was the generous inspirer, the inexhaustible source of all man's happiness. Today, we exhaust it until death.

  1. Lost Waves: The Aral Sea
  2. UIRAPURU: Amazonia
  3. IMPALA: The African savannah
  4. OLD FAITHFUL: Yellowstone Frozen Bison
  5. SIAL,SIMA, NIFE: The magmas
  6. CONFLICTIONS: The Mediterranean forest

Lost waves :

I evoke the Aral Sea which is drying out and has lost 70% of its volume of water. The vision of a puddle instead of a sea: not enough water to make waves.

Uirapuru :

The Uirapuru is this bird, an extraordinary singer, which can be heard in the endangered Amazon rainforest.
Marimba song accompanied by Maracas, Claves, Guiros, Wood-Block… etc. François Bayle had already used a song by Uirapuru in "Three Bird Dreams".

Impala :

Evocation of the fast animals which are the Gazelles, the Antelopes which belong to the "Cavicornes" family. I see these animals on the African Plateau of the Seringuetti whose speed is the means of survival; in participation, in particular, the "added values" evoke their ability to change direction instantaneously.

Old faithful :

Yellowstone Park, with its vivid and colourful spring, and its icy, motionless winter. During the winter, the heavy Bison, almost frozen in the square, covered with snow and ice and, paradoxically, the hot water geysers. One of them: the "Old faithful".
Here, a "Chant de timbales" (and not a solo with all the virtuosity that this entails) accompanied by the quivering of studded cymbals, marimba, and light melodies of "covered" Toms. All this is at the limit of the audible, without dynamics, to evoke heaviness and sadness.

Sial, Sima, Nife :

At the beginning of the score is written: "Innig" (Innerness - as Brahms did in his last works for piano).
Here, the same idea of penetration into the interior of man (in the realm of thought) and into the interior of the Earth. A sound path that goes from the boxes with "timbre" to the deep rolls of the Grosses - Caisses and Timpani.

Conflagration :

Forest fires. Violence. Destruction. A polyrhythm based on the pulse of the cicadas? Bright light. Essentially the keyboards (Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Vibraphone, Marimba) punctuated with Cymbals, Thai Gongs, Cencrros … etc.

Georges BOEUF



BOIVIN PHILIPPE – Big bug

creation : 16 février 1989 at Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
musicians: 6 percussionists
duration
 : 20′
publisher : Salabert



BONNET ANTOINE – 5 esquisses

state command for La Fondation Royaumont
creation : 23 September 1998, festival Voix Nouvelles, Abbaye de Royaumont
duration : 17′
publisher : Amphion, Paris

5 pieces for choirs and 6 percussionists



BOONE CHARLES – Weft

creation : 1982
musicians: 6 percussionists
duration : 10’
publisher : Durand-Salabert

For 6 drummers playing timpani, tenor drum and bass drum.



BOUCOURECHLIEV ANDRÉ – Archipel III

commission : State command (Ministère des Affaires culturelles)
creation : 26 October 1969, Semaines Internationale de Musique Contemporaine de Paris
musicians :
 6 percussionists, 1 piano
publisher : Alphonse Leduc, nº AL25362

Archipels is a series of five chamber music works by André Boucourechliev. The composer inaugurates a new approach to interpretation based on the musician's free and responsible choice of form, duration or articulation of the music. The author specifies: "the choice made by each performer at each moment determines the unforeseeable course of the work; that is to say, it is a function of an infinity of constantly renewed collective situations that mutual listening appreciates, provokes and leads".

Composed in 1969 for the Percussions de Strasbourg, the ensemble is made up of six percussion groups associated in pairs, with a stereophonic effect resulting from their spatialization.

Source: François-René Tranchefort, Guide de la musique de chambre, ed.Fayard 1989, p.147



BURZYńSKA NIKOLET – Altered States of consciousness

creation : 15.03.2018 at Théâtre de Hautepierre, Strasbourg (France)
duration : 10'
musicians : 4 percussionists

This piece for four percussionists deals with variations of four altered states of consciousness.
"For each part of the piece, I chose a specific altered state of consciousness and looked for a rhythm that could evoke it. By 'altered state of consciousness' I mean a state of consciousness that differs significantly from the usual or normal state. It can occur during meditations, trance, hypnosis or dreams, … it can be spontaneous or provoked by particular events - such as the birth of a child - or by specific movements or a musical motive.
In some religious ceremonies, specific rhythmic cells are used to achieve this type of state of consciousness. The origin of certain percussion instruments such as drums, shakers, bells and gongs is linked to rituals in which these instruments play an important role in changing our state of mind. This aspect of percussion instruments inspired the writing of this piece in which repetitive and hypnotic rhythms are interspersed with constantly evolving rhythms. »


Nikolet Burzyńska



CAGE JOHN – Credo in US

creation : 1942, Bennington College - Vermont
musicians : 4 percussionists, 1 piano 1/4 queue (& sound broadcasting from computer)
duration : 12'
publisher : Peters

Credo in US is a musical composition by the American experimental music composer, writer and visual artist John Cage. It was written in July 1942[1] and revised in October of that year. In the wake of Pearl Harbor, this piece avoided the populist tendencies of fellow American composers at the time, while the piece’s title is thought to be a call to collective unity.

Styled as « a dramatic playlet for Two Characters », Cage described Credo in Us as « a suite with a satirical character ». It was composed to accompany a piece of contemporary dance choreographed by his partner and collaborator Merce Cunningham and choreographer Jean Erdman, who performed the piece at its premiere in Bennington College, Vermont on August 1, 1942.

Instrumentation

One of a number of Cage’s percussive works, Credo in Us is unusual in using sound samples from recordings of other works, fragments of radio broadcast, popular music, tin cans and tom toms.

The instrumentation for the original performance included four performers: a pianist; two percussionists playing muted gongs, tin cans, electric buzzer and tom-toms; and a fourth performer operating a radio and a phonograph. For the phonograph, Cage suggests using something « classic » such as Dvořák, Beethoven, Sibelius or Shostakovich; and for the radio, to use any station but avoid news programs in the case of a « national emergency ». Jean Erdman recalls that for the first performance a ‘tack-piano’ was used—one of Cage’s prepared pianos, though the pianist is also called upon to play the soundbox of the instrument as a percussionist.

Structure

Four tutti “Facades” are separated by three “Progressions.” The Facades feature the use of polyrhythms that create a dense and, especially when the phonograph or radio is sounding, cacophonous sonic landscape. The First Progression, a cowboy song (and the first of two extended piano solos), was a solo for Cunningham. The Second Progression, a solo for Erdman, uses an “Indian” tom-tom rhythm as its background. The Third Progression, a duet for the dancers, is set to an extended “boogie-woogie” piano solo. The work ends in the same manner in which it begins – a solo for the phonograph/radio player.

Historical Context

Looking at Credo in Us though the lens of history, we are able to view Credo as a sort of microcosm of Cage’s output. Many typical Cagean aspects are found in this work: the use of piano and percussion (both standard and found instruments) to accompany a dance; the use of radio and electronic sounds (foreshadowing many later works, including Radio Music and Imaginary Landscape No. 4); and the inclusion of random events (whatever happens to be playing on the radio) are all representative of the Cage aesthetic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Credo_in_Us



CAGE JOHN – First construction in metal

creation : 1937
music and conception : John Cage
musicians : 6 percussionists
duration : 10 mn
publisher : Peters Editions

In the year of the creation of First Construction in metal, the American composer John CAGE, inventor of the prepared piano, declared: Percussion music is a revolution. Sound and rhythm have for too long been subjected to the restrictions of the music of the XIXth century and, today, we must fight for its emancipation. Tomorrow, with our ears full of electronic music, we will hear freedom … At the present stage of the revolution, a healthy anarchy is justified. Necessarily, the experiment must be continued by banging on anything, by banging, hammering, by producing sounds in every possible way. In short, we must explore the materials of music. What we cannot do ourselves must be done by machines » ….

We are therefore entitled to think that « First Construction in metal », the work of a musician aged twenty-five, written exclusively for metal percussion instruments (gamelans, steel sheets, drums made of car brakes, etc …) represents one of the first stages in this liberation of sound, in this wish to abandon any distinction between musical sound and noise, to consider silence as a musical element and randomness as the very basis of life.



CAGE JOHN – She’s asleep

creation : 1944, New York
Durée : 4′

This work was premiered at the Studio Theater in New York City. It is the last of a series of plays written between 1934 and 1944 (First Construction in Metal, Double Music, Amores…). It consists of two parts: a quartet of toms, a voice duet and a ready-made piano.



Cage John – Third Construction

Musicians : 4 percusionnist
Edition : cf Peters

Third Construction was composed in 1941 and dedicated to Xenia Kashevaroff-Cage, to whom Cage was married at the time and who played in his percussion orchestra. Third Construction is scored for four percussionists.
The rhythmic structure of this work is 24 times 24 measures. In each part, the phrase structure follows a different proportion series, each being a rotation of the other, i.e. player 4: [8, 2, 4, 5, 3, 2], player 1: [2, 8, 2, 4, 5, 3], player 3: [3, 2, 8, 2, 4, 5] and player 2: [5, 3, 2, 8, 2, 4]. The instruments used are rattles, drums, tin cans, claves, cowbells, lion’s roar, cymbal, ratchet, teponaxtle, quijades, cricket caller, and conch shell.



CAGE JOHN – What about the noise of Crumpling Paper

creation : 16.11.1986
music : John Cage
musicians : 6 percussionists
duration : 17 mn
publisher : Perter Editions

« In celebration of the work of Jean Arp on the occasion of the centenary of his birth ». The title comes from a letter written by Greta Ströh, manager of the Arp Foundation. This letter is part of the correpondence between Ms.Ströh and John Cage, concerning this project. There are 10 parts of which between 3 to 10 may be used in a performance. Repetitions may be made. Each player chooses 2 slightly resonant instruments (or more) of different materials played in unison. In the parts these are notated as + . The o in the parts stand for water, paper or other unidentified sounds. Dynamics are free, but should be varied. A performance should be without conductor, very slow, each player following his or her own beat. Each performer plays his part twice, but as each player keeps his own time, the second performance will be different, since things coccur at different moments. Performers may be stationed around the audience, or among them, or on stage. If the works is performed on a stage, the players should not be too close together.

Sources: Paul van Emmerik: Thema’s en Variaties; New York Public Library online catalog; Richard Kostelanetz: John Cage writer – Previously uncollected pieces; David Revill: The Roaring Silence



CAGE John/HARRISON Lou – Double music

Musicians : 4 percussionnists
Edition : Peters

Composition in 4 parts for percussion quartet. - Parts 1 and 3 are by J. Cage; parts 2 and 4 are by L. Harrison.

Double Music (1941), for four percussionists, was composed jointly by John Cage and Lou Harrison, each writing two of the four parts. The work’s rhythmic resources are narrow, consisting entirely of eighth notes grouped in twos and threes within a steady eighth-note pulse. The superimposition of two or three rhythmically active parts creates a kaleidoscope of minute shifts in accent, while the timbres of various instruments (water-buffalo bells, muted gongs, sleigh bells) lend the work the jangling, joyous air of a town celebration.

Source : www.newworldrecords.org



CAMPION EDMUND – Ondoyants et divers

Creation : 26 november 2005
Music and conception : Edmund Campion
Number of musicians : 6 percussionists
Duration : 15'
Publisher : Billaudot

Ondoyants et Divers is a piece concerned with total cooperation, a practice that can lead, on one hand, toward militarism, and on the other hand, toward a balanced, healthy community. The piece calls for five non-pitched percussion instruments per musician: one skin, one wood, one metal, one pitched metal, and one auxiliary. The music depends collectively on the six musicians at all times. To remove one part is to destroy the whole. Ondoyants et Divers depends on space and physical placement of the musicians. The composite sound of the six musicians creates an invisible 7th player, a musical part which dances above and between the six musicians. The focus is on the players and not the timbres, it is a concerto for six.

The words of the title originate with one of the essays (27/book I) of the French writer Montaigne « on friendship. » Before I discovered the origin, I heard the phrase Ondoyants et Divers used in several different places and under different circumstances. I heard a scientist describe the universe as Ondoyants et Divers. I heard a sociologist describe human behavior as Ondoyants et Divers. All of this has nothing whatsoever to do with how Montaigne himself used the words in his essay, nor the subject of the essay itself. The words of Montaigne have catapulted away from his essay and have taken on a life beyond their original intent. I have used these words as a title for a piece of music because they are evocative of my musical goals, not as a reference or homage to Montaigne .

The piece was commissioned by the Percussion de Strasbourg and was funded by a Commande d’Etat from the French Ministry of Culture.



CARCANO CARLO – Disteso (Lullaby)

Premiere: 16 September 2000, France, Royaumont Abbey, Voix Nouvelles festival
Choreographic and musical show for 5 singers, 4 percussionists and 3 dancers
Duration: 43′
Command of the Royaumont Foundation



CATTANEO AURELIANO – Ossido

Creation : 06 February 2015 at Théâtre de Hautepierre, Strasbourg, FR
Commissioned by the French state for les Percussions de Strasbourg
Musicians: 6 percussionnists
Duration : 18′
Edition : Edizioni Suvini Zerboni – Milano 

« Ossido » is written for and dedicated to the musicians of Percussions de Strasbourg. The word “Ossido“ (oxyde in Italian) evokes the metal, the 6 percussionists play in fact exclusively metal instruments (except a surprise!). The choice of reducing the instruments only to metals has been done for several reasons. The sound world of percussion is virtually infinite, the diversity of forms, materials is very wide. It was necessary to establish a limitation.

The metals fascinate me because they can be tuned, they can have long and unharmonius resonances. I am surprised by the accumulations of these unharmonius resonances that occur when instruments tuned to the same pitches are beaten and left resonate. « Ossido » is focused on a E proposed on several octaves by different instruments: bells suspended on water containers in which they are immersed, thai gongs and bronze plates, tubes of aluminum tuned microtonally.

The metals fascinate me because they point to other sound worlds: again the cow bells (mountains and Mahler!), the sounds of the foundries.

The metals fascinate me because they are part of popular music: steel drums from metal cans; pots,”sartenes”, and spoons, “cucharas”, of the Cuban popular music.

The sound world of « Ossido » comes from two specific ideas: on one hand the rejection of spazialisation, the dislocation of the instruments in space; on the other hand the distortion, the buzz, the rattle created by small metal elements (triangle stick, 5 euro cent coins) laid on the beaten instruments. Even the shape of « Ossido » responds to this need for compactness: a single long mouvement, although structured in different islands of speed, wants to articulate the infinite qualities of sound of these mysterious hums.



CELLA CARMINE-EMANUELE – Kore

Creation : 09 october 2019 at Hangar Bicocca, Festival Milano Musica
Musicians : 6 percussionists
The composer has received a grant for the writing of an original musical piece from the French Ministry of Culture      
Duration : 25′

Kore is a piece of 6 percussionists using smart-instruments scattered around the audience. 
It takes its inspiration from the Xenakis’ masterpiece Persephassa and aims to extend the possibilities found by Carmine-Emanuele Cella when he created Inside out, performed by Les Percussions de Strasbourg at IRCAM in 2017.
In Persephassa, the musicians use a large range of instruments and sound effects during the piece, among which wood blocks called simantras, that were conceived on purpose for this piece. 
In Inside out, many changes of paradigms have been made in the continuation with Xenakis’ research. With the help of new electronic devices used on large size instruments, Carmine-Emanuele Cella managed to create a new global and physical instrument around the audience, played collectively by all the musicians. These devices still had a primitive form then, but they presented an extreme potential in terms of conception of the timbre and interaction man-instrument. The piece was a big success.
With Kore, Carmine-Emanuele Cella develops ce process. The percussions should be big enough to make the system efficient (such as timbals, bass drum, tam-tam, etc.) and the percussionists should be displayed around the audience, in the spirit of Xenakis’s Persephassa.
In addition, again inspired by Xenakis, Kore deploys 6 new instruments called Xulon based on the technology developed for Inside out. The main characteristics of Xulon are that they can completely transform the sound and the interaction of the musician depending on the gesture. This process creates augmented instruments that can fully integrate the listening space, merging the immersiveness of the global electronics with the location of the source and creating a new paradigm for listening to the electronic sound.



CENDO RAPHAEL – Refontes

Creation : 08 April 2008 at Arsenal de Metz
Musique et conception : 
Raphaël Cendo
On stage : 
6 percussionnists and electronic
Duration : 
10'
Edition : 
Billaudot

Program Note Refontes – Raphaël Cendo

Essentially based on metallic sounds, Refontes (“Recastings”) continuously develops a mate¬rial, dense and saturated. The primary rhythms governing the principal axes of the form gradually diminish, giving way to colliding masses of different sonorities in which a complex sonorous volume surges, in close relation to the electronic processing.
In effect, rhythm is here envisaged as an ultimate consequence of the developments of saturated sounds invading the sonorous space. The primary task of composition consisted in discovering solutions for timbral fusion between the different percussion instruments, and in defining the complex electronic sonorities that exist in permanent relation to the instruments. Gestures and dynamics—closely linked in this score—proceed by conjunct movement to the interior of a musical discourse that never ceases intensifying. Refontes attempts to affirm a form of direct composition in which the instrumental gesture and its physical implication become the principal parameters of musical execution. Refontes is dedicated to Les Percussions de Strasbourg.

Raphaël Cendo (trans. Rebekah Ahrendt)



CHAVEZ CARLO – Toccata

Composed in 1942
Duration: c. 12 minutes
Orchestration: Percussion I (Indian drum, glockenspiel, small Indian drum); Percussion II (side drum, xylophone, Indian drum, tenor drum); Percussion III (side drum, suspended cymbal); Percussion IV (tenor drum, chimes, claves, one maraca, suspended cymbal); Percussion V (timpani, small gong); Percussion VI (bass drum, large gong)

In the 1930s, avant-garde composer John Cage approached Chávez and asked him to compose a piece for the percussion ensemble with which Cage was touring the West Coast. Chávez obliged, composing the Toccata that we hear tonight. Unfortunately, Cage’s ensemble found themselves unable to play the opening section, which calls for long, sustained drum rolls by all players, and therefore never performed the piece. It was not until 1948 that the Toccata received its premiere, with members of the Orquesta Sinfónica de México (of which Chávez was founding director) as soloists. Since then, the piece has become a staple of the percussion repertoire, regularly performed on collegiate percussion ensemble programs (with the roll section intact).

Traditionally, a toccata (derived from the Italian word tocarre, or “to touch”) was a virtuoso piece for a keyboard or plucked instrument, designed to showcase the player’s facility. Instead of fast-moving melodic passages, Chávez’s Toccata utilizes advanced rhythmic interplay and extended techniques on multiple drums and gongs. The first and last of the Toccata’s three movements follow a sonata form in which Chávez explores the sound potential of the battery, writing long, layered rolls, interlocking syncopated patterns, and a section in which the players are instructed to cover the drum heads with a cloth or chamois (denoted coperto or “covered”). The slow inner movement – scored for non-pitched metallic instruments, plus glockenspiel and xylophone – is rhythmically simple, featuring small broken intervals on the two melodic instruments. In Chávez’s own words, the Toccata “was written as an experiment in orthodox percussion instruments,” and makes for an enduring example of melodic, thematic writing for a seemingly non-pitched instrumental family.

Source : http://www.laphil.com/philpedia/music/toccata-for-percussion-carlos-chavez



D’ADAMO DANIEL – Die Runde Zahl

Creation: 25 June 1999 at Villa Medicis, Roma, Italia
Musicians: 6 percussionists
Duration: 12'
Edition: Billaudot

Die Runde Zahl - the round number - refers to the particular arrangement with which the piece was conceived from the outset: the musicians arranged in six equidistant points around the audience, forming an imaginary circle. The space is therefore master of the game, and the practicable possibilities that emerge from it are almost infinite. The composition of the piece is totally based on the calculation of a limited number of combinations - fixed space - and trajectories - temporal space - between these six points. The composition of this piece would have been much more difficult without the working encounters we had with the musicians: speculation requires, at some point, being confronted with the real possibilities of executable writing. The last conclusion is paradoxical: the constraints necessarily disappear when space becomes matter, writing and listening forms.



DALBAVIE MARC ANDRé – Chant recitation dance

creation : 08.09.2007, Abbaye de Royaumont (France)
musicians : 6 percussionists
dedicated to : Les Percussions de Strasbourg

The piece is inspired by different African and Asian rituals. Each percussionist has two groups of percussion instruments: a set of 5 skins and a set of metallophones or a keyboard. The beginning of the piece develops around metallic and resonant sounds. Gradually, these tones will transform into a predominantly "wood" sound with the wood-blocks and then the marimba. At the end of Recitation, the sound evolves towards the skins. This "interpolation" will also provoke a loss of the feeling of pitch, and the harmonic world of the beginning will progressively dilute into the world of rhythm at the end. This score is dedicated to the Percussions de Strasbourg.

Marc André Dalbavie



DALL’ARA-MAJEK ANA – Là-bas, ici

creation : 30.03.2016, MSH Paris Nord - Université Paris 8 (France)
duration : 13'
musicians : 6 percussionists

Over there, here

This piece offers the musical version of a letter. The one Hans addresses to Sophie, freely inspired by the literary work Petits Fantômes Mélancoliques: Contes autistes by Quebec author Louise Bombardier. Hans does the "dysfunctional" and waits "here, in his country" while Sophie "who never bends" lives in the windowsills. Miles away, they both watch the rain falling outside, whose strange musicality makes their imaginations wander.
The work explores the rhythmic and timbral correspondences between the whispered voice, the percussion playing and the electroacoustic part. It seeks to highlight areas of ambiguity between real and virtual sources. The instrumental play is articulated between wandering and systematism, as an illustration respectively of the dreams and obsessive troubles of the two characters. The real-time treatment poses itself as a metaphor for the autistic's perceptive extension, that is, those things that exist, that they perceive, but that we are unable to see. Finally, the voice is treated as a wind and percussion instrument: snippets of phrases are used to create games with the formants, and mouth noises generate a kind of human beatbox that counteracts the percussion.



DALLAPICCOLA LUIGI – Canti di prigionia

creation : 11.12.1941 at Teatro delle Arti, Rome (Italy)
duration : 25'

Titles of the parts
 Preghiera di Maria Stuarda 
– Invocazione di Boezio
– Congedo di Girolamo Savonarola

Luigi Dallapiccola, speaking about the genesis of these three parts of the Canti di Prigionia (Songs of Captivity, 1938-1941) explained: "The dodecaphonic system fascinated me, but I knew so little about it! Nevertheless, I established a series of twelve sounds at the bass of the entire work and added a fragment of the old church song "Dies Irae, dies illa" as a symbol of counterpoint.

The twelve-tone series (which is not the only one in the work) is used with great freedom and generates a certain type of harmony in which the diminished fifth predominates. Written for mixed choir and a small instrumental ensemble comprising two harps, two pianos and percussion, the work occupies a special position in terms of its language: diatonism (from "Dies Irae" in particular) and dodecaphonism coexist, two radically different universes are confronted in an exceptional aesthetic situation which will nevertheless still be worth several successes at Dallapiccola in the 1940s. The counterpoint here, like other parameters, progresses towards a certain complexity and often contains new elements of language: the central part of Jerome Savonarola's Farewell, for example, is made up of canons on three "levels", one of which (the one concerning the instruments) returns, so to speak, to itself in retrograde movement. The songs of captivity constitute one of Dallapiccola's most developed works, which later took up similar themes of inspiration in Il Prigioniero and in the Canti di Liberazione.
Pierre Michel.

Canti di Prigionia Chants de Captivité
– Preghiera di Maria Stuarda
O Domine Deus ! Speravi in Te
O care mi Jesu ! Nunc libera me.
In dura catena, in misera poena, desidero Te.
Languendo, gemendo, et genu flectendo,
Adoro, imploro, ut liberes me.
- Prayer of Mary Stuart
O Lord God! I have put my hope in You.
O my dear Jesus! Today set me free.
In my hard chains, in the misfortune of my sorrow, I desire You.
Pining, groaning and bending my knee, I beg and implore:

– Invocazione di Boezio
Felix qui potuit boni
fontem visere lucidum
Felix qui potuit gravis
Terrae solvere vincula.
Invocation of Boëce
Blessed is he who has been able to do good
See the light source,
Blessed is he who has been able to free himself from the weight of the Earth.

– Congedo di Girolamo Savonarola
Premat mundus, insurgant hostes, nihil timeo,
Quoniam in Te Domine speravi,
Quoniam Tu es spes mea,
Quoniam Tu altissimum posuisti refugium tuum.
The farewell of Jérôme Savonarole
May the universe crush me, may the enemies rise up against me, I fear nothing,
Since it is in You, Lord, that I have placed my hope,
Since thou art my hope, since thou hast set the refuge that thou hast opened for me so high…

Traduction du latin : Jean Barré



DARASSE XAVIER – A propos d’orphée

creation : 13.03.1978
duration : 15'

On a fragment of Virgil's Song IV of the Georgias for Mezzo-Soprano (cel) and violin also playing percussion (gong, trgl, cel, metallophones).



DAZZI GUALTIERO – Gammes élans

creation : 17.01.2002 – Hall des Chars, Strasbourg (France)
commission : Les Percussions de Strasbourg
musicians: 6 percussionists
duration : 15′
publishing : Chelter Music LTD

Ritual music for six percussionists.

Which ritual is it? I couldn't say… By the title, one could refer to Balinese music and to the mutliplicity of nuances that the term Ritual takes on in such a context: at once spiritual, festive and theatrical… Gamelan evokes to my ears an almost exclusive colour of metal. Thus my choice was made from the outset to use almost exclusively metal instruments, and to dig musically into the constraint of monochrome. But here the monochrome is sculpted by four different temporalities, possible from the inside of this unique bronze colour.

Other exotic references point to the horizon: polyrhythm… isochromy… and the intrusion of unusual instruments further blurs the lines…



DAZZI GUALTIERO – Résonances en archipel

creation : 17.03.1996 - Orchestre des élèves du Conservatoire de Strasbourg. Switzerland, Genève, festival Archipel
musicians : 8 spatialized percussionists
duration : 10'



DE MEY THIERRY – Musiques de table

creation : 1987
duration : 7'

Three percussionists each have a small table as their only instrument. The variety of tones is ensured by the different striking modes. The positions of the fingers and hands and the rhythmic figures are codified in a repertoire of original symbols used in the score. The challenge of Musique de tables is to cross the sensitive line between music and the gesture that produces the sound, to put the finger on the line between dance and music: the visual and choreographic aspect in perfect balance with the sound and musicality of the interpretation.

"(…) My early pieces played rhythm in figures, each figure having a particular quality of movement, a kind of motor state of the body, or a dance step. This is particularly clear in Musique de Tables, written in 1987, which is a piece for percussion as much as a small ballet of hands. It is constructed as a baroque suite, overture, rondo, fugato, gallop, recapitulation and coda. The whole rhythmic counterpoint uses a limited number of figures, which are described precisely, but also metaphorically, to the performers: the volte, the dactylo, the wipers, the pianist, the chiquenaude, the spikes, etc. (…) But already, in this piece, I use more or less savagely the notion of "rhythmic imprint" : in a given figure, I replace the silences with impulses, and vice versa, to create complementary rhythms, one implying the other. (…) »

Extract from an interview with Thierry De Mey, Interview by Jean-Luc Plouvier, 2001
Source: Charleroi danse.



DE MEY THIERRY – Silence must be

création : 2002
duration : 6'

In this piece for solo conductor, Thierry De Mey pursues his research on movement at the heart of the musical "fact"…

The conductor turns towards the audience, takes the beat of his heart as his pulse and starts to play increasingly complex polyrhythms: …3 out of 5, 5 out of 8, … Approaching the golden proportion, he traces the contours of a silent, unspeakable music…

Silence must be is the anagram of the Ictus ensemble, with which the composer regularly collaborated.



DE MEY THIERRY – Timelessness

Composition & concept : Thierry De Mey                                                                                            
Musicians: Flora Duverger, Alexandre Esperet, Minh-Tâm Nguyen, François Papirer, Enrico Pedicone,  Rémi Schwartz, Thibaut Weber, Hsin-Hsuan Wu                                                      
Assistant to musical creation: François Deppe
Gestural coach: Manuela Rastadi                                                                                                    
Detailed pieces: Affordance, Pièce de gestes, Timelessness*, Floor patterns, Hands**, Frisking, Pièce de gestes,Musique de tables, Silence must be !                                                                                           
*New piece                                                                                                                                       
**Concept & choreography : Wim Vandekeybus / Concept & music : Thierry De Mey            

Total Duration : 1h30
Production & Commission : Les Percussions de Strasbourg / Coproduction : Festival Musica 
The composer has received a grant for the writing of an original musical piece from the French Ministry of Culture                                                                                                                                        With the support of Francis et Mica Salabert Foundation and the Aquatique Show Foundation.World Premiere : 29 .09..2019 @ Festival Musica

With Timelessness, Thierry De Mey has created a sort of self-portrait, combining old and new pieces in the same show. It is a project that took shape over time, which he describes as an «artistic and political manifesto». His angle as a composer centres on the body in musical practice, as illustrated by his masterpiece, Musique de tables (1987).



DE PABLO LUIS – Fiesta

creation : 10.02.1988, Les Percussions de Strasbourg, Orchestre de Rennes, direction Claude Schnitzler. France, Rennes, Maison de la culture
commission : City of Rennes for the Percussions of Strasbourg
musicians: 6 percussionists
duration: 20'
publishing : Suvini Zerboni



DENISOV EDISON – Concerto piccolo

creation : 28.04.1979, Bordeaux, by Jean-Marie Londeix (saxophones), Les Percussions de Strasbourg
musicians : 6 percussionists et 4 saxophones
duration : 21'
publishing : Alphonse Leduc



DENISOV EDISON – Naissance du rythme

creation : 04/10/1995 au Festival Musica (Strasbourg, France)
duration : 14′
publishing : Billaudot

The title explains the idea of composition: the birth of sound, the search for pitches and rhythmic cells, elementary at the beginning, which become more and more complicated. Simultaneously with the development and deformation of rhythmic structures, the sound space is enlarged by the introduction of new timbres and changes of pitch. Metal percussion (campania, rattlesnakes, cowbells) appears for the first time in the central part and gradually replaces skin percussion. In the last section, the structures of two instrumental groups are synthesised by crossings of colours and rhythms.



DENISOV EDISON – Trois Pièces

creation : 14 avril 1989, by Mark Pekarsky Percussion Ensemble
musicians: 3 percussionists
duration : 25'
publishing : Breitkopf & Härtel

Three Pieces for percussion instruments :
Black clouds,
Appearances and disappearances,
The Rays of distant stars in curved space



DONATONI FRANCO – Darkness

Creation : 18.09.1984 – Festival Musica in Strasbourg. 
Music and conception : Franco Donatoni 
Number of musicians : 6 percussionists 
Duration : 10 mn
Publisher : Ricordi/Salabert

Darkness was written in 1984 and is dedicated to the Percussions de Strasbourg.

« The number of instruments used is relatively limited; frequently used, they are the ones which offer the greatest interest from the point of view of the rhythmic articulation. Each of the five sections is marked by the use of instruments with a homogeneous timbre which gradually give way to the new instruments: they creep in progressively, and their timbre will dominate in the next section. To the homogenous timbre of each section corresponds the monoform structure of the articulation: the continuum, phonically sparkling, exposes gesturally static passages, even if the overall pattern is none other than a crescendo. »

Franco Donatoni



DROUET JEAN-PIERRE – Autres contacts

creation : 10/12/94, Festival « 38ème Rugissants », Grenoble (France)
musicians : 6 percussionists et 1 djembe 
duration : 20 ‘

Autres contacts were composed for Les Percussions de Strasbourg and the African griot Adama Dramé.

This meeting is a challenge: to combine two musical practices that are as foreign as the cultures from which they originate. On the one hand the oral tradition (music is transmitted by ear, imitation and improvisation play a predominant role), on the other hand the contemporary expression of the "learned" Western tradition (music is written, the work is signed by a composer).

The aim is not to achieve a fusion but a conversation within a cohabitation, with the surprises, disagreements, arguments and agreements that this entails.

The title alludes to the desire to meet cultures other than one's own, but also to the search for other forms of contact with the instruments one plays.

"While the melodies or harmonies inherent in one culture sometimes have difficulty blending with other musical cultures without losing some of their essence, rhythm, on the other hand, or the division of time into equal or unequal spaces, allows for many encounters.

Rhythm and percussion being first cousins, the idea of making African culture and contemporary European culture converse through percussion seems relevant!

And when it comes to musicians like Adama Dramé and Les Percussions de Strasbourg, all hopes are high! For they have in common not only the drum and the infinite network of rhythms, but also the high variety of sounds and, an invaluable quality, enthusiasm. Because on these elements the projected work would like to build on in order to try to achieve the happiness of playing and communicating to the listeners. On the instrumental level, the lesson of the Djembe will be learnt: to obtain from a single instrument a maximum of sounds through the variety of techniques. So very concentrated material for the group, and virtuosity in the changes of attack. As for the Music, the aim will not be to achieve a fusion, but a conversation within the cohabitation, with the surprises, disagreements, arguments and, hopefully, the chords that this entails".

Jean-Pierre Drouet



DROUET JEAN-PIERRE – Bis

creation : Percussion Festival of Taipei, 1996 (Taïwan)
commission : Les Percussions de Strasbourg
musicians : 6 percussionists, without instruments, with voice
duration : 4’

It was on the occasion of the Percussion Festival in Taipei, and after having given a recital, that the percussionists friendly expressed to Jean-Pierre Drouet their wish for a piece to be performed at the end of the performance. Following this, Jean-Pierre Drouet composed Bis, a short piece intended for the Percussions de Strasbourg, involving the percussionists with their bodies and voices as their only instruments, taking turns performing gestures and onomatopoeia. The idea was to make a radical break with what the audience usually hears during their concerts. Since then, this piece has been performed many times, and even today the percussionists still choose to perform it when the atmosphere seems favourable and the show allows it.

An Bis full of humour…



DROUET JEAN-PIERRE – Soyez prudents

creation : Strasbourg, 9 décembre 1988, pedagogical version with the participation of the C.F.M.I. and the French Ministry of Education.
commission : Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, 1985
musicians: 6 percussionists and child
duration : approx. 25'
dedicated to : Percussions de Strasbourg

This piece was written for Les Percussions de Strasbourg and a group of children.

The excerpt presented in the school concerts shows a use of toms (western instrument - cylindrical wooden barrel on which plastic skins are stretched). This use is largely influenced by African or indus modes of playing (hitting the barrel, changing the pitch of the sound by hand pressure on the skin, etc.).

"To have dozens of children participate in the same music, more, less, or not at all, to familiarise them with the musical performance and the most virtuoso percussion group in the world. Not to give up this notion of virtuosity, to offer the children things that are feasible and yet with complex results, all the while trying to produce something that will interest my friends in Strasbourg, children everywhere and, I hope, passive listeners!

For the children, I thought it would be clearer to respect the three great groups of percussion: skin, wood, metal. So we have three sections each devoted to one of these families, separated by small recesses where the six percussionists indulge in individual amusements. Within the sections, on the other hand, the rigour is extreme: virtuosity is highlighted by its synchronisation, the rhythmic unison. In the wood, we have three groups of two synchronised musicians, in the metal, two groups of three and in the skin, the six musicians find themselves welded together on complex rhythmic formulas. The children's play is based on paying great attention to what the percussion group is playing, from where the signals for their interventions come from. These are sometimes forms of activity where listening sensitivity and care in the treatment of the instruments used are the essential discipline or, sometimes, rhythmic formulas based on counts between 1 and 10, whose mixture can give a sufficiently rich effect.

Attentive listening, sensitivity and precision will give children the opportunity to respond "head high" to the proposals of their virtuoso elders! »

Jean-Pierre Drouet



DUFOURT HUGUES – Brisants

creation : 30.11.1968, Genève (Switzerland), les Percussions de Strasbourg 
duration : 18'
musicians : 6 percussionists, 1 piano
publishing : Una Corda



DUFOURT HUGUES – Burning Bright

Commissioned by the French state and les Percussions de Strasbourg. 
Coproduction :
 Percussions de Strasbourg / Musica, with the support of ADAMI.
Lights creation : Enrico Bagnoli. Coproduction : Percussions de Strasbourg / Philharmonie du Luxembourg.
World Première : 25.09.2014, Festival Musica, Strasbourg, FR
World Première of lights creation : 27.11.2014, Festival Rainy Days / Philharmonie du Luxembourg, LUX
Team : 6 percussionists
Edition : Lemoine

Written to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the percussion ensemble Les Percussions de StrasbourgBurning Bright borrows its title from William Blake’s famous poem The Tyger, published in 1794.

This incandescent poem celebrates the collision of opposites which gives the truest representation of the world and is the source of all creative power. The age-old conflict between “innocence” and “experience”, those “two contrary states of the human soul”, courses through all of Blake’s work, lending his poetry both its tragic aspect and its visionary tone. A non-conformist freethinker who was vehemently opposed to all forms of moral, theological or political oppression, Blake supported the French Revolution and denounced the enslavement of African-Americans. Despite his worldly engagements, he did not abandon his mystic quest, which – in the tradition of Dante and Milton – he considered the only feasible way of articulating the splendour of one’s inner illuminations. The wild and eruptive fury of his visions inspires fear and terror. Yet, from the abyss of misery, mankind can perceive the rise of a burning light, which indicates, without any promise, a possible alternative to the savage rule of force.

Composed as one single piece, like an immense adagio in the manner of Bruckner, Burning Bright’s poetic vision breaks with the traditional techniques of demarcation, with all its contours and closures. The music rises in layers, or unfolds in abundant and meandering surges. The varying depths of the timbres, fading towards an indeterminate horizon, create their own resonant space. Sounds – swelling, diffusing, writhing – blend like fluids or gases. Working on timbre is but the art of retouching. The drift of coloured masses replaces the interplay of formal arrangements beloved of the last century. Friction takes over from customary percussion techniques.

Following Blake’s example, Burning Bright rallies elementary energies: a drama with neither narrative nor anecdote, its unity emerges through telluric rumblings. Not unlike the films of Stanley Kubrick, it uncovers a vast space, which could well become, despite the hopes of our times, a space of eternal confinement.

Hugues Dufourt

Traduction : Rieke Trimcev 



DUFOURT HUGUES – Erewhon

Creation : 02.04.1977 at the Royan Festival, conducted by Giuseppe Sinopoli 
Music and conception : Hugues Dufourt 
Number of musicians : 6 percussionists with conductor 
Duration : 70'
Publisher : Henry Lemoine

With Erewhon, Hugues Dufourt embarked upon a potent new dynamic form of expression, veering in a new stylistic and conceptual direction, dramatically changing the treatment of musical parameters – i.e. temporality, space, form, energy and density. His explorations led to the discovery and integration of the percussion section of instruments (Erewhon), followed by electronic stringed and bass wind instruments (Saturne) and finally a full symphony orchestra (Surgir). Erewhon’s four movements encompass sound-noise concepts, examining acoustic volumes and their scope for permutation. With a fresh approach to composition that is resolutely avant-garde, the composer besets formalism with jolts and fractures, creating explosive patches of contrast, areas of intuitive or formal turbulence with outlying dynamic fringes, producing instinctive, genetic or refractory reactions (via harmonics and non-harmonics), zones of emergence, resurgence and persistence with twisted, stretched and compressed outlines and layers of conflicting temporality and tectonics joins. His craftsmanship involves combining traditionally Western assets (a player’s routine gestures and traditional playing styles) with a determined drive for musical emancipation.

The cycle which originally comprised five movements was created at Royan’s 14th International Festival of Contemporary Arts (during the Hugues Dufourt Sessions for the « Perspectives du XX siècle ») on April 1977 at the Théâtre du Casino Municipal. The Percussions de Strasbourg featured Jean Batigne, Gabriel Bouchet, Claude Ricou, Georges Van Gucht, Jean-Pierre Petermann and Olivier Dejours. The sextet was conducted by Giuseppe Sinopli.

Erewhon received great critical acclaim at its first public performance, and was performed by the same ensemble at the Donaueschingen Festival in 1977, the Strasbourg Festival in 1978, the Venice Biennial Festival in 1979 and again at the Musiques Nouvelles Festival in Lyon in 1980.



DUFOURT HUGUES – L’Ile sonnante

creation : 25.09.1990, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris , par Thierry Miroglio : percussion, Claude Pavy : guitar.
duration : 7'
musicians: 1 electric guitar, 1 percussionist
publishing : Salabert, Paris, nº EAS 18944
dédicaced to : Rolf Liebermann on his eightieth birthday



DUFOURT HUGUES – Plus oultre

creation : 15.08.1990, Festival Musica Nova, São Paulo, Brésil, by Thierry Miroglio : percussion
musicians : 1 percussionist
publishing : Salabert
dedicaced to Thierry Miroglio

Programme note

More than that: to go beyond, to force the Columns of Hercules.

Disregarding the professions of humility and impotence that encumber centuries of ancient wisdom, Bacon takes the side of the foolish. Extending the limits of human empire, affirming the creative efficiency of technology, changing the world order rather than making virtue out of necessity, this is the motto of a Modern. In these disenchanted times, the work exalts the spirit of inventions, the wandering of research. Is the sound discovery a secret stolen from Nature or the fruit of a happy foreboding, of a subtle disposition of mind? Beyond the inventory of unusual sonorities, I wanted, in writing for percussion, to bring out the Promethean gesture of the percussionist, who is attached to dance and statuary.

Hugues Dufourt, éditions Lemoine



DUFOURT HUGUES – Sombre journée

creation : 01.03.1979 
musicians : 6 percussionists
duration : 12′
publishing : Jobert

This piece was originally part of the Erewhon series, created by the Strasbourg Percussions at the Royan Festival in 1977, under the direction of Giuseppe Sinopoli. Hugues Dufourt cut it off from the cycle because it did not fit in with the other parts of the work, which already formed a complete set. Now independent, the old « Erewhon III » will be called « Sombre Journée ». It is an attempt of instrumental poetics, with reduced means: skins and metals mainly.
« Sombre Journée » is the middle between the concept of sounds-noises inherited from Edgar Varese and the hybridization of the musical obtained through the use of electro-acoustic and computer techniques. « Sombre Journée » plays on the deforming mirroring of flows, densities and acoustic volumes.



ELIPE JAVIER – 9413: The Life and Death of a Hollywood Extra (1927)

creation : 12.11.2015 at Théâtre de Hautepierre à Strasbourg, FR
cinema screening with live music, based on the film by Robert Florey, 9413 / The Life and Death of a Hollywood Extra, 1927
for 6 percussions and real time electronics
state command of Percussions de Strasbourg to Javier Elipe
duration : 13'

9413: The Life and Death of a Hollywood Extra, is an experimental film, with a very critical and sarcastic vision of Hollywood, it tells the story of an actor who arrives in Hollywood to fulfil his dream, only to find himself faced with the cruelty of the industrial production system of Hollywood cinema.

The tension consists of a relationship between the dream of Hollywood glory and reality. The sound textures of the "dream" part will have a more continuous and regular evolution, and those of the "reality" part will behave according to a more abrupt and discontinuous evolution. The film develops along a characteristic line: from dream or hope, which little by little will turn to reality (the failure of the dream - or the fall). This will also be seen in the images, where the shiny and splendid buildings of Hollywood are gradually transformed, until they become a kind of jungle. From the point of view of sound representation, it will first be necessary to focus on certain visual elements such as the composition of the shots, the materials, light and shadow, visual rhythm, etc. And secondly, on elements such as the creation of sound atmospheres, in order to introduce the spectator to the strange and surreal world of the film.

Javier ELIPE GIMENO



ELIPE JAVIER – Entr’acte (1924)

creation : 12.11.2015 at Théâtre de Hautepierre à Strasbourg, FR
cinema screening with live music, based on René Clair's film, Entr'acte, 1924
for 6 percussions and real time electronics
state command of Percussions de Strasbourg to Javier Elipe
duration : 20'

Entr'acte, a Dadaist, pre-surrealist short film, structured by a series of different cinematic tableaux (without apparent connection), describes a series of absurd situations, musically structured by sound tableaux. With original music by Erik Satie, this new musical adaptation presents itself as a new, more up-to-date look, which will reinterpret the problems of the 1920s, adapted to our thinking today. Thanks to new technologies and the possibilities offered by digital tools, we can today simulate the editing techniques and special effects used in film, in order to create new relationships between music and film.

The score will take advantage of the creative power of the film, by musically reinterpreting the clash of opposites or visual dissonances present in the film.

The play of convergences and divergences between the musical and visual planes can be summed up as a game of extremes: the relationship between the association of cinematic figures on the one hand, and the transgression of this correspondence on the other. This "sound dissonance", both in terms of timbre and narrative, will have its equivalent in the non-conformist and provocative style of the film, allowing a new, more daring and open imagination.

Aided by the multiple possibilities offered by percussion instruments, the different sound tableaux will explore the different types of interactions as well as the play of coincidences, resonances, attacks… The use of electronics will allow to widen the range of percussion timbres, but also to enrich and transform these timbres, playing at the same time with the surrealist and delirious poetics present in the film.

Javier ELIPE GIMENO



EMLER ANDY – Childhood journey

creation : 04.04.2007, Festival Banlieues Bleues, Gonesse (France)
composition, conception : Andy Emler 
musicians : 6 percussionists + MegaOctet by Andy Emler (piano, tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, cornet, flugelhorn, voice, tuba, double bass, drums, marimba and percussion)
duration : 80'

The MegaOctet and Les Percussions de Strasbourg are two entities aiming at transversality in terms of writing and they question, each in their own way, the contemporary musical language. Andy Emler had the opportunity to meet the Percussions at the Festival Musica de Strasbourg, when he was presenting works written for the Ars Nova ensemble.

A mutual desire to work together was born, an opportunity had to be found. Andy Emler's residencies at L'apostrophe, scène nationale de Cergy-Pontoise and that of the Percussions de Strasbourg at Royaumont Abbey, two venues for art and culture in the Val d'Oise, made this possible. Finally.

The Banlieues Bleues festival and the city of Gonesse offer them the opportunity to create an ambitious musical work, commensurate with these two outstanding ensembles, which will be performed at L'apostrophe. And elsewhere.

Original scores by Andy Emler, whose refined and jubilant art is known to shake up aesthetics, and a piece of "quotations" in homage to Frank Zappa will be the backbone of this creation where the flying soloists of the MegaOctet will meet the alchemists of timbres that are the instrumentalists of the Percussions.

A rare and astonishing encounter of today's music, placed under the sign of artistic demands and the pleasure of playing and giving. To make people hear that emotion is as much a matter of reflection as of sensitivity.



EMLER ANDY – Obsisens

creation : 9.11.12, Le Maillon (Wacken), Strasbourg (France)
musicians : 6 percussionists
duration :  15′

Jazz pianist, Andy Emler likes nothing more than original collaborations: during the residence of his MegaOctet at the Abbaye de Royaumont, he set up polycultural projects with Indian, Malian, Amazigh musicians… A concert with the Percussions de Strasbourg could not but pique his inspiration: the result is more than an hour and a half of music where MegaOctet and Percussions de Strasbourg pass the quid. On the occasion of the ensemble's fiftieth anniversary, Emler extended the original programme by one number: Obsisens only requires the six percussionists and can be played separately.

Written for keyboards ( three marimbas , xylophone, vibraphone, glockenspiel ) , the piece presents the Percussions de Strasbourg as a true Big Band , far from the contemporary world , but no less demanding musically and rhythmically . The opportunity for the  musicians to mix  groove of the modern jazz and contemporary music as well as improvisation – they improvise random agreements series on tanks notes, source of many surprises in the moment. For his part, Andy Emler has allowed some experiences – hybrids of jazz rhythmic one hand and on the other , of a writing made ​​of enriched textures, bitonality , series , although rare in jazz.



ERIKM – Drum-Machines

Joint work for percussions and electro live, 50 ‘
Commissioned by Percussions de Strasbourg and GMEM
Composition and music production:
 eRikm
Artistic team: 4 percussionists and eRikm (electronic)
Video system (camera in network): Stéphane Cousot
Production : Percussions de Strasbourg
Coproduction : Co opérative, GMEM, Musica, Cité musicale – Metz. With the support of CNC / DICREAM.

(photo)
CD (release 03.30.18) & Double-LP (release 06.22.18) available here
Percussions de Strasbourg 2018 / Outhere & Believe Digital

Drum-Machines is a premeditation on the exchange between two musical areas of the XXIst century  : contemporary and electronic musics.

This is a dynamic composition where the process creates form. Speed, pulse, timbre and instruments are subject to numerous distortions by real or virtual machines.

Sound and instrumental materials recorded or (re-) interpreted reflect as much the memory as the imagination of musicians, they are the result of the gesture embodied by each one, that is renewed and transformed in contact with the machine.

On stage, a collective instrumental device is in the center of the stage: it represents the agora, the point of impact and meeting, the eye of the maelstrom to which each musician brings his energy. A video device reveals on a big screen the invisible details of this timeless domestication between man and his tools.



ESSYAD AHMED – Ombline ou Le volcan à l’envers

Création : 18.12.1998, Radio France, Paris
Durée : 60'
– Corinne Sertillanges, Sylvie Sulle, Michael Bennett, Arnaud Marzorati, Daniel Mesguich, ensemble Musicatreize, Percussions de Strasbourg, Instrumental Ensemble of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, direction Dominique My. France, Paris, Maison de Radio France.

Oratorio for four soloists, reciter, mixed choir and instrumental ensemble, set to music by Ahmed Essyad in 1998.

Libretto by Boris Gamaleya, based on his theatrical work, Le Volcan à l'envers ou Madame Desbassyns, le Diable et le Bondieu.



ESTRADA JULIO – Eolo Oolin

creation : 18.09.1984, Festival Musica (Strasbourg, France)
musicians : 6 percussionists
duration : 40′
publishing : Salabert

The new acoustics highlight how close the low-frequency rhythm is to the high-frequency sound, as if the latter were part of the harmonics, while the former would be the fundamental. Eolo'oonlin is an adventure in time that excludes rhythmic formulas and harmonic divisions of duration to allow for a continuous design: the rhythm is then represented in the form of curves, in which the low-frequency is constantly transformed, as if it were an underground melody, in a space of duration that obeys the speed of change. As far as the performance is concerned, the instruments in this work are generally portable, to allow movement around the periphery and radii of a pentagon: the audience can be placed inside or outside this stage. Eolo'oonlin was designed for the interpretative qualities of the Percussions de Strasbourg.



FEDELE IVAN – Stabat Mater

commission : Mécénat Musical de la Société Générale avec le Choeur de Chambre « Les Eléments » (direction Joël Suhubiette)
creation : 23.11.2007, Odyssud, Blagnac (France)
composition, conception : Ivan Fedele 
musicians : 6 percussionists + 24 singers + chef 
duration : 12'
publishing : Suvini Zerboni Milan

In Milan, where he now teaches, Ivan Fedele (born in 1953) studied music and philosophy in parallel. A world premiere, his Stabat Mater, unsurprisingly, uses a moaning and plaintive song that ends with exclusively female voices accompanied by a gong. Throughout the piece, the percussion will be muffled (timpani, bass drum, marimba), brightened up by a few metallic accents (tubular bells).

Chronicle Anaclasse



FILIDEI FRANCESCO – Il funeralli dell’ anarchico Serantini

creation : 07.12.2006 – Stuttgart
commission : Fondation Royaumont
musicians: 3 or 6 percussionists
duration:  11′
publishing: Edizioni Musicali Rai Trade

The work
Commissioned by the Royaumont Foundation, the work pays tribute to one of the many victims of police repression in a democracy, who died in May 1972 in Italy.
The six musicians observe the audience; the trial begins. Without any instruments other than their own bodies, they let their masks and hands be heard …

The composer
Francesco Filidei is one of the most promising composers of his generation. Born in 1973, he still has stories, memories and tragic political events from his native Italy, particularly from the period of the "leaden years". He wanted to perform the funeral of Franco Serantini, a popular anarchist beaten to death by the police during a demonstration in Pisa.

Commissioned by the Royaumont Foundation , the work is an homage to one of the many victims of police repression in democracy , who died in May 1972 in Italy.

The six musicians observe the public; the trial begins . No other instruments as their own bodies, they uttered their masks and their hands …



FINEBERG JOSHUA – Speaking in tongues

Commissioned : Les Percussions de Strasbourg, pour leur cinquante ans
Creation : 10 mars 2011, États-Unis, Boston, Tsai Performance Center, par Les Percussions de Strasbourg et le Boston University Symphony Orchestra, direction : John Page.
Duration : 19 minutes
Team : 6 percussionists
Editor : Billaudot

Speaking in Tongues was written for the 50th anniversary of Les Percussions de Strasbourg. The piece features the 6 soloists of Les Percussions de Strasbourg with full orchestra. Four of the percussionists are placed in the Hall, surrounding the audience, while the other two are placed in front of the orchestra on opposite sides. Each of the offstage percussionists is joined by one instrument from the orchestra, creating washes of sustained tones from all directions. The broad palette of the orchestra combined with the virtuosity and flexibility of the percussion soloists allows the creation of a complex sonic environment in which the constantly re-contextualized foreground is deployed.

The music grows out of this configuration like the breath and voice of a virtual body, but a body of vast proportions and a voice speaking in something not quite like any language ever heard. The audience is plunged into the middle of this body where sounds ebb and flow and move, patterns gradually emerge, then start to shape memory and expectation and ultimately begin to evoke sense and meaning.  

Joshua Fineberg 



FOURèS HENRI – Sommerbericht

creation : 30.09.2001, Festival Musica (Strasbourg, France) 
composition and conception : Henry Fourès 
musicians: 6 percussionists et un soliste 
duration : 16′

Like Gegenlicht (Backlight), Vom Blau (Au bleu), Kristall, pieces for bass clarinet, double bass and alto saxophone premiered at Musica 1999,Sommerbericht is one of Paul Celan's poems where language most expresses the conquest of an endangered stability. Stability of the poet as well as of the poem. Der nicht mehr beschrittene, der / ungangene Thymianteppich. / Eine Leezeile, quer / durch die Glockenheide gelegt. / Nichts in den Windbuch getragen. /Wieder Begegnungen mit / wereinzelten Worten wie: Steinschlag, Hargräser, Zeit. Emptiness of step / circumnavigated, the carpet of thyme. / Line of white, laid / across the heather moor. / Nothing carried in the windfall. / Encounters again with / isolated words such as: scree, gorse, time. It seems - as Armand Robin has found in other poets driven by the same desire to purify language - that sometimes the poem starts out from an emotional chaos and ends up in a language where only the finest molecules of the original tohu-bohu remain. It is also a path that music often takes in its dual relationship of form and meaning: a path that the use of percussion, the "original instrument", makes even more sensitive. These poems, read more than twenty years ago and reread over and over again, appear to be unsurpassable texts, devoid of any aestheticism, essential, in a light strangely close to those of Attila Joszef discovered at the same time. It has taken all these years for these texts that accompany me to become "pre-texts" for the writing of a music that does not illustrate, does not comment on the poem but has simply been awakened by it.



FUENTE DE LA BENJAMIN – Télépathie sur un Fil – Up and under

commission : state command and Radio-France
creation : 02.02.2002 Festival Présences 
composition : 2001
musicians : 6 percussionists
dedicated to : Les Percussions de Strasbourg
duration : 20 ‘

Above all, it seems to us perhaps more meaningful to specify the context in which the singular elaboration of this music took place.

We must go back to that day in April when Jean-Paul Bernard, artistic director and instrumentalist of the Percussions de Strasbourg, suggested that each of us write a piece for the ensemble.
We immediately felt the desire to unite our musical affinities in a common project. This came about naturally because we have been friends for a long time, we have collaborated on many projects and we founded the Sphota ensemble in 2000.
The 1500 km that separated us during the composition period made it possible for us to work together more intuitively, based on a common set of experiences and trends, and a little bit of telecommunication.

Samuel SIGHICELLI



GARCIN GéRARD – Cinque per sei

commission : Les Percussions de Strasbourg
creation : 12.02.1983 at Nice (France)
duration: 25'

This work can be considered as a suite for percussion ensemble. In the first, second and fourth parts, the choice of instrumentation has been deliberately limited to instruments of the same family:
1st part: 6 keyboards
2nd part: rattlesnakes, glockenspiels
Part 4: pipe bells, cowbells, Philippine gongs
These three movements define a kind of "sound geography" of the musical space constituted by the percussion instruments.
This sound geography is totally "exploded" in movements 3 and 5 where each of the groupings of instruments is partially used.
The writing of each part constantly puts in parallel or in opposition a dense material spread over 5 voices to an independent voice, solitary but complementary and necessary to the 5 others.
Hence the title "Cinque per sei".

Gerard Garcin



GAUSSIN ALLAIN – Colosseo

Dedicated to : Percussions de Strasbourg
creation : 1er juillet 1978, Italie, Rome, Villa Médicis, by Les Percussions de Strasbourg, direction : Allain Gaussin
musicians :
 6 percussionists
duration : 20'
publishing : Salabert, Paris

It was during my stay at the Villa Medicis (77 - 79) in Rome that I composed Colosseo. The Colosseum had impressed me greatly at that time with its extraordinary dimensions, its elliptical construction and its relatively satisfactory state of preservation compared to its 19 centuries earlier. The choice of percussion instruments was immediately obvious in order to convey the image of the ancient battles and struggles that were taking place; but with Colosseo it is neither programme music nor descriptive music, at most it is a personal musical metaphorical evocation.

As far as the instrumental treatment is concerned, I wanted to give clear and sharp colours, essentially using a principle of writing by tone families.
Composed in a single piece, this work is made up of five parts which are fused into each other, except between the second and third parts:

1 Moving metal mass.
Here the image of the Coliseum is particularly sensitive:
unique material: metals (tams tams, gongs, cymbals)
writing in curved space (elliptical shape of the Colosseum)
intensity of nuances (blood play, earthly hell)

2 Keyboard counterpoint.
Cohabitation of three distinct musics :
expanding harmony with the three vibraphones,
counterpoint of xylorimba and marimba,
long sentences with Tibetan rattlesnakes.

3 Fractures.
(Skins, cymbal pizzas, skins)

4 Ascent of distant bells.

5 Ritual.
Rhythmic exuberance and abundance composed of short repetitive cells (wood, metal) against a background of mobile skin bearings.

Alain Gaussin



GERVASONI STEFANO – Bleu jusqu’au blanc

Creation : 21.01.1996 – Roma (Italia)
Music : Stefano Gervasoni 
Number of musicians : 6 percussionists 
Duration : 17'
Editor : Salabert

Order of state for the Percussions de Strasbourg

« Attractive emptiness in which the look finds no repose, invisible thread that separates and recomposes balances, unreachable threshold of permanent transmutation. Transparent and airy blue of the sky, which imperceptibly, becomes the earth and remains the sky. Metaphore for perception: ’for something to look interesting, one must simply look for a long time. » Gustave Flaubert



GERVASONI STEPHANO – Limbus Limbo

creation : 22.09.2012 at Théâtre National de Strasbourg, festival Musica. France.
composition : Stefano Gervasoni
directing : Ingrid von Wantoch Rekowski
libretto : Patrick Hahn
scenography : Laurence Bruley
lighting : Felix Lefebvre
musicians : 6 percussionists, 3 instrumentalists (flutes, horns, cymbalum), 3 baroque-contemporary singers (soprano, countertenor, baritone), 3 actors

The feast: the table

What if the percussionists' instruments were the table? Can we envisage a show where the instruments are invisible? Can our gestures, our attitudes generate original and radical situations?

The dishes, glasses, cutlery, bottles, cooking, smells, and above all everything else will remain! On stage, six percussionists, three other instrumentalists, three singers, and three singing actors for an explosive cocktail.

It should have been an operetta or a buffa opera, in the end it will be neither or both at the same time. But we are sure it won't be an opera.

We are reassured, we still have the surprise.

Jean-Paul Bernard

Presentation file to download :



GIRAUD SUZANNE – Au commencement était le verbe

creation : 21.12.2002, Guebwiller, Chr de ch. & Les Percussions de Strasbourg 
commission : Noël en Alsace
musicians : 12 mixed voices and 6 percussionists
duration : 23’ 
publishing : Jobert

"Au comment était le verbe", the first work of a religious nature by Suzanne Giraud.

Guebwiller (Upper Rhine). Dominicans. 21XII2002. Suzanne Giraud, Au commencement était le Verbe (world premiere) (+ works by FB Mâche, J. Cage, and F. Poulenc). Strasbourg Chamber Choir; Percussions de Strasbourg. Conductor: Catherine Bolzinger. This same programme was repeated in Mulhouse, Temple SaintEtienne, on 22XII2002].

For her first work of religious inspiration, Suzanne Giraud set to music the Prologue of the Gospel according to Saint John. This famous passage had been submitted to her by the theologian Jean-Louis Hoffet, a member of the board of the Noël en Alsace association, which commissioned the score. Particularly beautiful and strong in itself, this text had never been set to music, at least in all of its most recent known verses, Hoffet having subtracted those of probably earlier origin relating to John the Baptist. The initial verse gave the work its title: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was turned to God, / and the Word was God. …] And the Word was flesh / and he dwelt among us / and we saw his glory…". It is a brilliant return to the very sources of Christianity that the composer paints in this large, twenty-five-minute page combining two rarely-heard ensembles, mixed choir and percussion. The raw material of percussion, which can also sing, combined with the human voice through which the divine Word that each of us carries within us expresses itself, and which can be as raw as primitive instruments, forms an unusual alloy that Suzanne Giraud has melted with remarkable mastery to create a profound and lyrical score with dazzling contrasts of light and life. But it is above all a matter of grace, mystery and accomplishment, with this taut and compact harmony that creates a silky fabric that is constantly shifting with the constant and natural use of the quarter-tone.

Bruno Serrou



GIRAUD SUZANNE – Envoûtements VI

Creation : 08/10/2003, Festival Musica, Strasbourg 
Music : Suzanne Giraud 
Musicians : 6 percussionnists 
Duration : 15 mn
Publisher : Jobert

In ’Envoütement VI’, Suzanne Giraud calls upon the soloist to imbue her structure with different vocal expressions, vocal gestures and imitations of the score for percussion, as well as, wherever possible, the play of lighting. The construction of the piece brings into rhythmic relationship the perspectives of composer, performers and public, including, by turns, several provocative devices. The work includes also a humorous dimension, in particuliar, through its use of the ’lion’s roar’ instrument, which marks turning points of the work like the blink of an eye, or the shout of protest of the composer.



GOEBBELS HEINER – …Même soir

Creation : 28/09/2000 – Münchner Kammerspiele 
Scenography : Klaus GRUNBERG 
Sound : Yves KAYSER 
Light : Jean-Luc BAECHLER 
Music and conception : Heiner Goebbels 
Number of musicians : 6 percussionists 
Duration : 54 mn

Rather than a performance, it ill be a conjunction of actions imbued with dramatic effect (with theatrical backin) but marked by an absence of actual theatricality. Many actions which will be scenic as such or set off by circumstance rather than by any intention to be played ; there will be calm meditative scenes and moments of movement and agitation. The key criteria for the music remains the scenic meaning behind the creation and the climate, colour, and overall impression offered by the layers of music. First and foremost, questions : how can the percussionists use their instruments without actually playing them in the traditional sense ? Setting into motion something that has been provoked by the instruments, while depriving them of their usual powers, perhaps playing on areas of their instruments that were not intended for that purpose ?



GöTTE ULLI – Naissance

creation : 1999
duration : 10'
musicians : 4 percussionists

The title Naissance means the gradual development of the system of 12 tones. At first only a is used, later on e, d and so on until all 12 tones of our chromatic system are realized (bar 194). At the end of the piece this process will be inverted.

Some more processes can be mentioned: for example the combination of fixed pattern in the inner voices (marimba) on the one hand and melodic structures in the outer voices (vibes and percussion) on the other hand. A combination which can be identified all over the piece.

There is sometimes a kind of interruption of the dominant musical flow.

Naissance will be realized by

  • vibraphon
  • marimbaphon I
  • marimbaphon II
  • percussions :
    – small cymbals (without long reverb)
    – big cymbals (with reverb = w.r.)
    – bongos 
    – other percussion sounds can be used as well



GOUGEON DENIS – Un train pour l’enfer

commission : Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and Percussions de Strasbourg
creation : 29.09.1993 at festival Musica de Strasbourg
duration : 15′
musicians : group (piccolo, bautbois, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, two violins, viola, cello, double bass, piano, percussion) and six percussion instruments
partners :  with the help of the CAC (Conseil de Arts du Canada)

The composer tells us that we are in the presence here of a "music of metamorphoses" and that, "this work evokes an awareness of human tragedy. The music is therefore both an actress and a spectator in that it proposes the evolution of the way we look at human tragedies at the same time as it evokes them, like an incessant back and forth between cause and effect, between the outside and the inside.

An inescapable journey, this "train of recklessness" (or unconsciousness), although later shaken by two "vertigoes", will continue its course towards the abyss ("the train to hell"). The music thus follows an increasingly dramatic trajectory, until the final tragedy in which purity (innocence, beauty, childhood) is murdered".

This "instrumental tragedy" is a work of remarkable intelligence and maturity. Here Gougeon demonstrates a skilful skill in marrying percussion instruments with other instruments, with the help of a writing of true technical skill. The lyricism and almost classical harmonic colouring associated with this composer are of course present, as in most of his other works.

Excerpt from the programme notes of the concert of May 10, 1995 written by Sophie Galaise.



GRISEY GéRARD – Stèle

creation : 1996
duration : 7'
musicians : 2 percussionists
publishing : Ricordi

"How can the myth of duration, a cellular organisation of a flow obeying other laws, emerge? How to sketch out in conviction and at the edge of silence a rhythmic inscription that is at first indistinguishable and then finally hammered into an archaic form? While composing an image came to me: that of archaeologists discovering a stele and dusting it off until they uncovered a funerary inscription. »

Gérard Grisey, programme of the 4th Italian contemporary music festival, Centre Georges-Pompidou, Thursday 4 April 1996.



GRISEY GÉRARD – Tempus ex machina

creation : 04.12.1983 at Bruxelles (Belgium)
musicians
:  6 percussionists 
duration : 22′
publishing: Ricordi/Salabert

Tempus Ex Machina is essentially a study of time. The heights of skins, woods and metals, schematised to the extreme and quickly spotted by the ear, allow an acute concentration on the temporal structure. It is a blueprint from which the colour is reduced to the bare essentials: only the form emerges, and the slightest error is fatal. The material is almost sublimated into a pure sonic becoming. Thus, the rhythms of the initial sequence are not to be taken as a cell, but rather as a vehicle of time: periodicity, acceleration and deceleration are only three poles between which the discourse shimmers, making its way between the similar and the different, towards the very interior of the sound…

This slow journey from microphone to microphone determines the shape of "Tempus ex machina", a real time-dilation machine, whose zoom effect lets us gradually perceive the grain of the sound, then the material itself. Thus, the last sounds perceived are only the blows of the bass drum and the wooden drum at the beginning of the score, but dilated to the extreme, allowing us to apprehend the inaudible: transients, partials, beats… the very body of the sound.

After many meanders, we reached the goal of the journey: the other side of the mirror.

Gérard Grisey



GUBAIDULINA SOFIA – Glorious percussion

creation : 2008
duration: 25'
musicians : 5 percussions and orchestra

According to the composer, two features distinguish this work from those composed previously:

1. The central theme here is the concordance between the sound intervals and its resulting sounds. The structure of the form results in this way: the sound movement reaches silence three times. Before this static background is reached, only the pulsation caused by the intervals of the preceding chord remains. Such episodes occur at specific points and subject the form to the law of the golden ratio.
2. Solo percussionists have seven episodes in this work during which they perform in front of the orchestra and improvise without a pre-set text. It is, so to speak, reminiscent of the instrumental practice of a time when there was only an oral culture. »



GUINJOAN JOAN – Hommage à Carmen Amaya

commission : Studium / Toulouse (France)
dedicated to : Les Percussions de Strasbourg
creation : 15.04.1987
composition : 1987
musicians : 6 percussionists
duration : 15 ‘

Written in 1986 at the request of the organisers of the "Soirées Catalanes du Studium de Toulouse", this work was given its first performance the following year by the Percussions de Strasbourg, to whom it is dedicated.

Carmen Amaya was one of the greatest flamenco dancers and this "Tribute" aims above all to reflect, through the personal vision of the author, the most outstanding features of this great artist.

Inspired by the disc 'In memoriam-Carmen Amaya', certain sequences have been transformed into a modern language. The morphology is free and the only movement can be considered as a Fantasy, with three main intertwined sections, from which the atmosphere and tension of the first section stand out, the melody-timble side with several allusions to the "cante jondo" of the second, while the third, essentially rhythmic, is based on the typical "zapatsado" and achieves its full scope by using a range of frequencies emitted mainly by skin instruments and "palmas" that underline the elegiac character of the finale.

Cowbells, Thai gongs and tuned wood-blocks were also used to transform the tonal elements into a suggestive climate with exotic sounds, confirming once again this search for a synthesis of cultures that is a constant in Guinjoan music.



HARRISON LOU – In praise of Johnny Appleseed, ode

creation : 1942, San Francisco
duration : 2'
musicians : 3 percussionists

A ballet for three players and dancers. The eight movements are titled: I. The Trumpets of Heaven; II. Seed; III. Coronation; IV. The Battle with Bunyan; V. Fruition; VI. Meeting with the Ancient Days; VII. Ode; VIII. Whoops for Johnny. Instrumentation: vibraphone, 6 lengths of steel conduit pipe, pipe claves, wood claves (Player I); 5 cowbells, 1 pair of sistrums (metal maracas), 1 pair of maracas, wooden box, marimba (Player II); 5 tom-toms, bass drum, clock coils (Player III). Instructions are included in the score.



HERVé JEAN-LUC – Ralentir/Situer

creation : 29.09.2009, France, Strasbourg, Festival Musica, Cité de la musique, by Les Percussions de Strasbourg.
duration: 12'
publishing : Suvini Zerboni, Milan
musicians : 6 percussionists

One of the peculiarities of music (perhaps the most important) is to be able to make us perceive different qualities of time.

The piece explores three qualities of time. A still time, where nothing happens except a regular pulsation like the seconds passing by. It is a time in the image of physics; a time "in the distance". A rotating time, where the same musical formula is always repeated, evoking the automatism of the machine. Finally, a dynamic time, driven by the development of musical material that is always evolving. It is an animated time, like that of our daily life, a time "that surrounds us", that we inhabit. It is the time of the place where we are. But this time of place often escapes us when we allow ourselves to be carried along by the speed of today's world. The speed of communication networks gives us the illusion of being everywhere at the same time and makes us lose the notion of distance. We forget where we are.

The whole room is traversed by a slowing down movement at several levels of musical construction. The music slows down and invites us to slow down. Slow down to escape the speed of the flows, slow down to listen, observe what surrounds us, slow down to regain awareness of where we are.

Jean-Luc Hervé.



HOSOKAWA TOSHIO – Regentanz


Commissioned by Les Percussions de Strasbourg with the support of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.
Musicians : 6 percussionists
With the participation of Rin Otsuka Factory.

This piece was composed for Les Percussions de Strasbourg, and it is my first piece for the percussion ensemble.“Regentanz” means a ritual to pray for rain in German. “Rain-making” which have been handed down at various places around the world are rituals to pray for “rain” as God’s grace when droughts continues. In many cultural regions around the world, people have a sense that “rain is a gift from God, if the rain stops, it is the punishment of God.” The ritual with performing music and dancing is held to gain the interest of God, to entertain God and to win God’s sympathy.This piece is my imaginary rain-making ritual music. It consists of descriptions of various forms of rain with percussion instruments (raindrops, quiet rain, heavy rain, rain showers, a roll of thunder and thunderstorm, etc.), then the final part based on the rhythm of the American Indians’ rain-making dance appears, it evolves into the music which brings excitement and intoxication.

Toshio Hosokawa



HOSOKAWA TOSHIO – Sen VI

Creation : 1993
Duration :
12'
Musicians :
1 percussionnist

"Sen VI was commissioned by and is dedicated to Isao Nakamura for his solo recital in Berliner Festwochen 1993. The word sen of the title generally means “line” in Japanese, but is here used to mean the strokes of the brush seen in Eastern calligraphy and India ink paintings. This work for percussion is sixth in a series for solo instruments, which I began in 1984, entitled Sen. The others are Sen I for flute (1984), Sen II for violoncello (1986), Sen III for sangen (1989), Sen IV for organ (1990), and Sen V for accordion (1992). Brushstrokes gain strength from the empty space behind them. The calligrapher of necessity strokes for balance with this empty space as he applies his brush. This empty space suggests a world that cannot be drawn, a world that cannot be seen, and a world where sounds do not reach our ears. It suggests a world of unreality, of dreams, the unconscious which conceals the unlimited potential hidden within the human being. This blank space is a hidden womb of natural energy, concealing our deepest potential. The blank spaces of music are the worlds of silence and pianissimo. In Sen VI I have tried to open up new sound space by portraying the diverse, never before heard, barely noticeable changes in the world of pianissimo which occur at the very edge of our sense of hearing." Toshio Hosokawa



HOSOKAWA TOSHIO – Windscapes

creation : 28.01.1997 à Milan
composition : Toshio Hosokawa
duration : 9'
musicians : 2 percussionists
commission : Società del Quartetto di Milano

Windscapes
for two percussion players

In this work, two percussion players, while rebbing, striking and touching various percussion instruments, create a wave motion in imitation of the wind. The voices (and breathing) of the performers are also articulated to sound like the wind. The wall separating what is internal to the human being and what is external is continually broken down by the human­created sounds through their suggesting the wind, which is a natural sound coming from outside the human being.
This work was inspired by the following poem from Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus :

Einzige Welle, deren
allmähliches Meer ich bin;
sparsamstes du von allen möglichen Meeren,―
Raumgewinn.

Wieviele von diesen Stellen der Räume waren schon
innen in mir. Manche Winde
sind wie mein Sohn.
Rainer Maria Rilke from « Die Sonette an Orpheus »

English translation
Lone wave, whose 
gradual sea I am;
you sparsest of possible seas―
making room.

How many places in space have already
been inside me! Many a wind
is like a son to me…
(« Breathing, you invisible poem! » in Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus. Translated by David Young)

It was commissioned by the Società del Quartetto di Milano and composed in the autumn of 1996. It is dedicated to its first performers, the Danish percussionists Safri Duo.
Toshio Hosokawa



HUNG CHIEN-HUI – Le chant transfiguré II

Creation : 1999, Taipei International Percussion Convention

"This piece follows from the orchestral work "Le Chant Transfiguré" which I wrote in 1995. It uses the sounds of temple chants, developing their forms and simple melodic lines as a method of producing the tension and magnitude which serve as the foundation for the motives and development of the piece. Percussion was chosen as the medium, because it can deeply exhibit the force in delicacy, the strength in flexibility, and tolerantly admit accidents to express certain eastern ideas and aesthetics both purely and fully. This piece was commissioned by the Ju Percussion Group to be performed by Les Percussions de Strasbourg at 1999 Taipei International Percussion Convention." Chien-Hui Hung



HUREL PHILIPPE – Écart en temps

Creation : 19/01/2002, La Laiterie, Strasbourg 
Musicians : 6 percussionists
Duration : 5'
Publishing : Lemoine, Paris, nº 27692

« When one thinks of the Percussions de Strasbourg, one thinks of the imposing instrumentarium, the powerful sound, the unleashing of timbres and rhythms. However, when you work with these six musicians, you are in front of a real chamber music group. Forgetting the hopeless three-hour service, the composer can finally try, correct, transform and search with the percussionists for the right instrument, the right stick, the right attack, the right pulse, the right timbre. This precise work of chamber music is also similar to the rehearsal practice of rock or jazz bands who don't look at their watch and want to play "together", which is not always the case in music. It is together, again, that we eat our meals, that we joke at night, late after the concerts, waking up the good sleeping bourgeois with a few well watered "oxen". Then, when the percussionists of Strasbourg celebrate their fortieth birthday, one is delighted to write and one is ready to interrupt the piece in progress to pay homage to them, all the more so as the work is collective and good friends have taken up the pen. The challenge was to develop each person's ideas and when Jean-Paul Bernard asked me, almost at the "end of the list", to start writing, he suggested that I move away from the subject to create a break in this "preliminary agreement". It was about time and I made a deviation. Only a reminiscence on the snare drum of Martin Matalon's piece can make the connection with the music that precedes it. But this motif, inserted for a moment and "eaten away" little by little, is also a gap in the time of the piece and changes the way you listen to it. »

Les quarante ans, Écart en temps, écart/ententes. Philippe Hurel  



HUREL PHILIPPE – Interstices

Creation : 2 March 2010 at Théâtre d'Orléans, for the Orléans International Piano Competition
Commissioner : Orléans International Piano Competition and the Strasbourg Percussion Competition, 2009. With the support of the Conseil Régional du Centre and the Francis and Mica Salabert Foundation.
Duration : 14'
Musicians : piano solo and 3 percussionists
Publishing : Henry Lemoine 2011

Written for solo piano and three percussion instruments, Interstices is like a "mini concerto," with the percussion instruments providing the orchestral part. Of course, the piano is not just a soloist, and in some places it can merge with the percussion to create a single timbre. As its title suggests, the piece is constructed in large sections interrupted by intervals of time during which highly identifiable elements appear. These elements, brief rhythmic events or real musical situations, may in turn give rise to a new intelligible discourse, itself interrupted by new events, and so on. For example, the piece ends with a "loop" whose main element had been inserted, as a parenthesis, in the previous section, itself composed of a short homorhythmic motif that had repeatedly interrupted the slow section of the work, placed just before it. As far as the instrumental treatment is concerned, I have retained here a relatively classical piano writing. As the piece was written for an international piano competition, I wanted the instrumentalists to be able to exploit all their technical resources. It is the blurring with percussion as well as the doublings with keyboards or instruments at relative pitches that make it possible to escape the too direct and codified perception of the piano. Interstices is a very energetic and rhythmic piece and the most static and poetic moments are also disturbed by the interventions of very incisive rhythmic motifs. Here, everything is tension and when, at rare moments, one could hope for a little peace and quiet, an event appears that calls into question the calm that one thought one had finally found. Interstices is dedicated to Françoise Thinat.

Philippe Hurel



HUREL PHILIPPE – Kits

Creation : 24 April 1996 at Marseille, Théâtre de la Criée
Duration : 18'
Musicians: 6 percussionists and fixed sounds
Publishing : Billaudot

"This four-part piece was composed after La Célébration des invisibles, a work for percussion and choir that Les Percussions de Strasbourg premiered in 1992. When Les Percussions de Strasbourg asked me to write this work, the challenge was to create music that could coexist, in the same concert, with pieces written by composers from the jazz world. Kits is therefore a work of rhythmic and harmonic development based on cells strongly influenced by jazz (kits 1) and funk music (kits 4). The aim was to homogenise disparate elements: the harmonies are the result of calculations (spectral compression, interpolations…) whereas the rhythms refer to jazz and are often freely processed. The contribution of the electric bass recorded in the form of a sequence makes it possible to bring together worlds that would naturally be of a heterogeneous nature. Finally, I wanted this piece to keep a playful and non-theoretical character, and that it be above all intended for the instrumentalists of the Percussions de Strasbourg." Philippe Hurel.



HUREL PHILIPPE – La célébration des invisibles

Creation : 03/11/1992, Théâtre du Maillon, Strasbourg
Comissioner : Ministère de la Culture and Percussions de Strasbourg 
Musicians: Vocal Ensemble, choral, 6 percussionists
Direction : Roland Hayrabedian
Duration : 60'
Publishing:  Billaudot
Text : Philippe Raymond-Thimonga; La Célébration des Invisibles , Mercure de France
Performer(s) of the creation : Percussions de Strasbourg, Ensemble vocal Musicatreize, Amalgame
Shadow theatre : Michel Rosenmann     

Melodrama for percussion, choir and shadow theatre.

Echoing the discovery of the New World in the 15th century, La Célébration des invisibles, composed to a text by Philippe Raymond-Thimonga, evokes the future approach to a new form of life, another form of city, in space… Between the ancient, modern and future conquests a bridge takes shape, the resurgence of the same solar dream, the double face of the fabulous and the tragic. The notion of temporal space is matched by that of sound space, and although on stage the musicians are placed in a traditional manner, the listener can hear real journeys described by the rhythmic or melodic formulas of the percussionists. This is made possible by a script that includes the spatialization of the instruments and thus organizes their diffusion over the loudspeakers at six points in the hall. The play written in 1992 involved shadow theatre and actors. The new version, only musical, includes Kits I and Kits III, which were composed in 1996 as interludes to the Celebration of the Invisibles and therefore naturally find their place here.



HUREL PHILIPPE – Ritual trio

Creation : 08 December 2018 at Marmoutier, France
Musicians :  3 percussionists
Comissioner : Percussions de Strasbourg
Duration : 12'

After having written several long plays for various cast sizes, I turn to miniature for the second time. I am also taking advantage of this return to a certain form of apparent simplicity to focus on instruments of indefinite height (temple blocks, wooden drums, various metals without a fixed height, skins, various percussive objects, etc.), whereas my work for percussion had hitherto focused on keyboards. These Three Miniatures for Three Percussionists will also take on a hieratic character dictated by recent personal events and also by my growing interest, at the age of over sixty, in the realm of the sacred.

Philippe Hurel



INGOLFSSON Atli – Sulphur pulse

Creation : 8 October 2003, at Musica (Strasbourg, France)
State command for Les Percussions de Strasbourg
Musicians : 6 percussionists
Duration : 12'

This piece is dedicated to the memory of Gérard Grisey. The piece is inspired by the sound coming from a steam well of a geothermal power plant in Iceland. This noise, and the force it represents, had greatly impressed Gérard Grisey during a visit to Iceland. Indeed, at the time it was the most powerful light in Iceland (around 55 MW). He asked me to record it but I didn't manage to do it before his death. In 2001 I finally made a recording of this sound. The intention was not to imitate this sound, of the dominant "white" character, but its different components influenced different sections of the work, which thus became a reflection around this subject in its sound, physical, energetic aspect. Since if it is true that white noise contains all the pitches, it is all the more true that it contains all the rhythms, and can be observed from a rhythmic point of view, as well as from the point of view of timbre.

Atli Ingolfsson



ISHII MAKI – Concertante

Creation : 13 July 1988, Sapporo  Tsukisamu GR Dome Fest. Tokyo
Musicians : for Marimba solo et 6 percussionists
Duration : 19'


Op. 79 CD "Marimba spiritual - Keiko Abe and The World's Leading Percussionists"Denon 1989, (P) Nippon Columbia Co., LTD



JARRELL MICHAEL – Incipit (Entente préalable)

Creation : 19 January 2002, at Strasbourg, La Laiterie
Duration : 6'
Publishing : Lemoine

"Incipit sings the collective work written for and with Les Percussions de Strasbourg. I found the idea of this exquisite corpse perfectly original, each composer writing one after the other and taking over the legacy of his or her predecessor(s). Being the first on the list, it is up to me to pave the way, to find a few leads, to create a precondition for what our future agreements would become. As its title indicates, Incipit is meant to be the beginning of a piece on fallow land, the end of which I have no control over. The dictionary says the following: "Incipit, third person singular of the Latin verb meaning to begin, formerly used to announce the title of a reading or copy; it has been preserved in French as a noun for the first words of a literary text or the first notes of a musical text". The six musicians begin with a simple tuning fork. They set the tone: a barely veiled questioning of the future of a few musical figures who are groping around, waiting for the inevitable blossoming…". Michaël Jarrell



JARRELL MICHAEL – Le père

Creation : 3  June 2010, Schwetzingen Festival, Germany
Commission : State Command, Ircam-Centre Pompidou, Les Percussions de Strasbourg and the Schwetzingen Festival.
Duration : 50'
Effectif : 6 percussionists, 3 singers,
Publishing : Lemoine

Musical theatre after the play by Heiner Müller

"The best thing is a stillborn father. Always pushes the grass over the border. The grass has to be pulled up again and again growing over the border. "This is how the autobiographical story of the writer Heiner Müller opens. Beginning under the Nazi regime and ending in communist rule, The Father goes through a life and grasps a history of Germany. In ten fragments, this abrupt and intimate text explores the relationship between a son and his father, or more precisely their immeasurable distance. After the monodrama Cassandra after Christa Wolf and the opera Galilei adapted by Bertolt Brecht, Michael Jarrell encounters the dense and violent language of the German playwright Heiner Müller, one of the contemporary writers who has had the greatest impact on musical creation - as witnessed by the works of Pascal Dusapin, Wolfgang Rihm, Georges Aperghis and Heiner Goebbels. Under the direction of André Wilms, Le Père stages an actor, a vocal ensemble, Les Percussions de Strasbourg, the electronic processing and spatialisation of a musical theatre. A master of minute transitions, Michael Jarrell composes the appearances and disappearances, the shadows and projections of fragments of individual or collective memory.



JODLOWSKI PIERRE – 24 Loops

Creation : 10 February 2007 at Geneva
Duration : 6'

24 Loops is part of a cumulative music cycle, which began in 2006 with a piece for string quartet and which I am currently developing in the context of various projects. The principle of cumulative writing consists in using electronic resources to stack sequences played live. In the pieces that I have composed on this principle, everything that is played by the musicians is progressively frozen in time by a looping system. The music thus created is the result of the stacking of successive elements. In this piece, a scenographic process is added, proposing to the musicians to create a kind of round, each one coming, in turn, to "fill" the sound space. At the end of the 24th cell, an improvisation phase extends the musical space more freely.

Pierre Jodlowski  



JOLAS BETSY – Etats

World premiere at the Festival des Arts, Shiraz-Persépolis, Iran, by Gérard Jarry (violin), Les Percussions de Strasbourg.
Creation : 1969 at Persepolis
Duration : 17'
Musicians: 1 violon, 6 percussionists based on the "Missa de Beata Virgine" by J. d. Pres



JOLIVET ANDRÉ – Cérémonial

Comissioner : State for the Percussion Instrumental Group of Strasbourg
Creation : 17 July 1969, Mexique, Mexico (Conservatoire National), by the Strasbourg Percussion Instrumental Group
Musicians : 6 percussionists 
Duration : 12'
Publishing : Billaudot, 1970

Tribute to Varèse for six percussionists.



KABELAC MILOSLAV – Huit inventions, op. 45

Creation : 22 April 1965 at Théâtre Municipal de Strasbourg, France
Duration : 23'

Written for Les Percussions de Strasbourg, the Eight Inventions were performed for the first time on 22 April 1965 at the Théâtre Municipal Strasbourgeois with choreography by Manuel Parrès. Since that date, the Group has included them in numerous concert programmes.

1 Corale. In a very collected atmosphere, deaf chords sing a melody that is not very extensive and freely inspired by the plainchant. Mysterious melodies evolve around these sound axes to culminate in a brief middle crescendo, escaping their attraction only to return to silence.
2. Giubiloso. Brutal contrast with the previous piece. To a bell call, an assured response from the xylos, prolonged on a timpani background by the timbres which borrow, in a fragmentary way, a theme from the Corale, shows that this is a study of contrasting sound colours. The initial rhythmic group, where little by little the play is established between four partners, will assert itself dynamically by the gradual tightening of values.
3. Recitativo. After the jubilation, it is once again the conquest of a more interior universe that the slow, arpeggiated line of Thai gongs offers us, a melodic figure that will periodically interrupt, like an implacable fatality, a rhythmic discourse that hesitates to impose itself. The timbres seem to transpose a purely vocal writing.
4. Scherzo. Rhythmic study. Against a background of elementary snare drum texture, a melody with very frank turns entrusted to xylos, which are supported by cymbal effects. A short relaxation in the intensity, where we reach the figures of the temple-block on the oppressive roll of the bass drum; but it is only a heavy sky between two flashes of lightning. An unexpected and discreet coda punctuates the rest.
5. Lamentoso. This time the playing is organised around a theme exposed to the vibraphone, which borrows its approach from the music of the islands of the Pacific Ocean. The tam-tams iridescent with large beams of brassy colours, while the incantatory character is established by damped and grouped strokes with which the snare drum will dialogue, imposing its shorter durations.
6. Danza. Another rhythmic study which evolves in a very marked oriental atmosphere. The permanence of a simple structure, divided between toms and timpani, serves as a driving force for the simultaneous and accentuated action of various groups of opposite pitches and typical timbres such as these Thai gongs whose archaic melody captures the dream of the desert highlands.
7. Aria. A short melodic meditation of the vibraphone follows the "mantric" search of the previous piece, evolving on a distant quivering of suspended cymbals, tams and tremolos of marimbas. In this forest of timbres, the spiritual preoccupations of the Lamentoso, stripped of their anxiety, take on a more immaterial and serene register.
8. Diabolico. An exotic devil in his derisory works: the theme of the Corale is taken up again in short values by the xylos, this time aggressively distorting the original meaning, encouraged by the hammering of the haunting accents of the timpani and toms. Caricature of the initial inner effusion, the dance settles, until the final accelerando, in a panicky joy.



KISHINO MALIKA – Sange

Sange 散華

Commissioned by the French State and the Percussions de Strasbourg, for six percussionists. Tribute for the 10th anniversary of the death of Yoshihisa TAIRA
Creation : 2016, Teatro comunale, Vicenza, IT
Duration : 15'

Among the many Buddhist ceremonies, there is one in which priests walk around the ceremonial space reciting the Sutra, while spreading petals to bless the dead spirits. Originally, during "Sange" - 散華 , whose literal translation from Japanese means "spreading of petals" (San - 散 = spreading; Ge - 華 = petals), fresh lotus flowers and petals were used. During the ceremony, these are now replaced by coloured papers in the shape of lotus petals and are scattered in the main hall. The combination of the solemn recitation, the dance of the petals and, originally, the smell of fresh lotus, appeals to the hearts of the people through their auditory, visual and olfactory senses and transports them to a fantastic and magical atmosphere at the climax of the ceremony. Yoshihisa TAIRA used to say "that a masterpiece was like a polyhedron that always appeared to us differently depending on the angle from which we looked at it and whose state was constantly and progressively changing".
With few materials, chosen very carefully, he transports us into a deep, rich and living musical universe, through the magic of the sounds of his fascinating piece, "Hierophony V", written for the percussions of Strasbourg.10 years after the death of my first composition teacher, "Sange" is my own polyhedron, based on, a definition of the form of "Hierophony V", the addition of the olfactory dimension representing the fragrance by the volatile emanation of the sounds produced by the six musicians, and an evolution of the sound materials. "Sange" mainly uses the instrumentarium and the implementation of "Hierophony V", and is inspired by its two strong musical ideas. The ostinato of the wooden drum at the end of the piece is one of the materials considered as a starting point for the creation of the sound space of "Sange". The striking energy of the gesture is here restored without the use of the voice. The many new modes of play and their combinations, as well as the creation of various sound layers using several trajectories in space by setting the sounds in motion, inspire an electroacoustic dimension to the piece. The composition is a very intellectual work but must also nourish the heart and the mind. "A piece must be very instinctive" and "Sange" is an organism, coming to life thanks to the sound energies produced by the Percussions de Strasbourg, whose desire is to lead us to the magic moment of infinite joy. Malika KISHINO



KISHINO MALIKA – Vague des passions

Creation : 17 October 2010, Theaterhaus Stuttgart
Duration : 2'

Wave of passions for marimba, vibraphone and rattlesnakes
Wave of Passions was composed for the 25th Anniversary of the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, where I was composer in residence in 2008 and 2009. For the composition of this piece, I had two conditions to fulfil:

  • the piece had to begin and end with the first chord of Tristan und Isolde, Richard Wagner's opera,
  • it was supposed to last two minutes.

In Wave of Passions, I tried to create a new meta-instrument by combining a marimba and a vibraphone. I wanted to express the permanent fluidity of the sound material generated by the decomposition of the Tristan und Isolde chord and to represent the energy curve of the ebbing waves.


Malika KISHINO



KRAUZE SIGMUND – Blanc et rouge

Creation : 29 September 1985, Strasbourg-Mulhouse, Festival Musica, France
Wind Orchestra of Bouxwiller, Dettwilller, Sarre-Union and Sarreguemines; Schiltigheim Mandolin Orchestra; Bruche Valley Accordion Orchestra; Les Percussions de Strasbourg; R. Goepp and R. Siegrist - conducting.
Commissionner : Ministère de la culture
Musicians : pour deux masses orchestrales dont vents, accordéons, mandolines et 6 percussions
Duration: 60'



KUN HUNG CHUNG – Peril III

Creation : 25 May 1996, Tapei

This piece is among a series of the composer's works titled Peril. The title suggests a sense of instability and unpredictability, which the composer tries to seize in these pieces. In Peril III, a drama of percussion ensemble is cast through the interplay of timbre, dynamics, and texture which involves a lot of experimental performing techniques and instrumentation, and which aims at achieving an unstable and unpredictable atmosphere. As a consequence, the central character of the piece is being anxious, insinuating, mystical, eerie, and sometimes ethereal and suffocatingly toneless.



LANZA MAURO – Descrizione del diluvio

Creation : le 14/03/2008 - Toboggan de Décines as part of the Biennale Musique en Scène de Lyon
Composition : Mauro Lanza
Vidéos : Paolo Pachini
Commissioner : Commande de l'Etat Français
Coproduction : Fondation Royaumont / Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie / GRAME, centre national de création musicale, GMEM, centre national de création musicale, Le Fresnoy, studio National des arts contemporains, Les Percussions de Strasbourg
With the support of : SACEM, DICREAM, Nuovi Mecenati, Fondation Salabert, Ars Musica Festival and the Fondation Orange
Musicians : 6 percussionists, 6 singers (Neue Vocalsolisten), electronics and video projections on several screens
Duration : 70'

A multimedia performance by Mauro Lanza and Paolo Pachini, for six voices, six percussion instruments, electronics and eight videos based on texts by Leonardo da Vinci, Descrizione del Diluvio follows An Index of Metals (by Fausto Romitelli and Paolo Pachini, 2003) as an attempt at total art where sounds and images merge into a single perceptual bubbling. Leonardo da Vinci's texts are phonetic paintings in which the play of phonemes imitates the whirlpools of water. Although Leonardo classifies, counts and details the misfortunes of the flood with clinical rigour, his tongue is carried away by the fury of the sounds. True sound poetry of the indistinct, echoed by two famous engravings by the master. It is natural that these astonishing texts, claiming to be science but yielding to art, inspired the composer Mauro Lanza and the video artist Paolo Pachini. As with Leonardo, where art seeks emotion through objectivity, contemporary music and video achieve expressiveness through technological discipline. Moreover, in the magma of sounds describing the Flood, we can see the dawn of this overthrow of modern opera, which is no longer Dramma per musica - drama for music - as it once was, but Dramma dalla musica - drama through music. As with Leonardo, from sounds comes history, and from history comes images. The Royaumont Foundation is happy to continue, with two major artists of the young Italian creation, the adventure begun five years ago with Fausto Romitelli in search of an operatic form resolutely turned towards technology, opera-video, but where technology serves poetry. This ambitious work is also the fruit of a long collaboration between the Royaumont Foundation and the Studio National des Arts du Fresnoy, the GRAME and the GMEM Centres Nationaux de Création Musicale, the Monnaie de Bruxelles, and benefits from the internationally recognised talent of its performers: the Percussions de Strasbourg, the Neue Vocalsolisten. Descrizione del Diluvio a d'ors and already has ten performances scheduled in Lyon, Brussels, Marseille, Royaumont, Rome, Milan and Stuttgart. Marc Texier Artistic Director of Voix Nouvelles - Royaumont Foundation



LAUBA CHRISTIAN – Bangka

Commissioned as part of the Percussions de Strasbourg/Espace Rohan touring cycle.
Creation : 29/05/1999, Espace Rohan (Saverne, France)
Musicians: 6 percussionists et 1 Djiembé
Duration : 21'
Dedicated to : Les Percussions de Strasbourg and Adama Dramé

Bangka is a small Sunda island in the Java Sea off the coast of Sumatra…. In this piece, I wanted to make a synthesis of the rhythms and timbres of Indonesian and African music whose influence has become inevitable. The difficulty is to introduce these elements into learned music without betraying the spirit of these powerful cultures, which have become universal. Modes, dynamics, melodies and pulsation are expressive parameters that are constant enough to bring popular music closer together. Written music is merely a stylisation and amplification of these subtle combinations. Bach in his time transcended all exotism in his abstract pieces with such concrete sources (German, Mexican-Spanish sarabande, Scottish gigue, French gavotte, etc…). Bangka is both a poetic and geographical indication, and a rhythmic onomatopoeia played by the djembe at the beginning of the work. The simple and clear motif will be the driving force of the piece where the soloist's improvisations are directly taken from the written parts of the six percussionists.
Christian LAUBA



LAUBA CHRISTIAN – Kupang (Entente préalable)

Commissioner : Radio-France and Les Percussions de Strasbourg for the fortieth anniversary of the ensemble
Creation : 17/01/2002, La Laiterie, Strasbourg, collective creation "Entente préalable"
Musicians : 6 percussionists
Duration : 4'
Publishing : Leduc

"Kupang is the name of a small town on the island of Timor. This piece is a double homage, to the Indonesian music that particularly marked French composers at the beginning of the century, notably Debussy, and to groups such as the Percussions de Strasbourg that transcended and perpetuated this influence. This anniversary is the ideal pretext to synthesize in four minutes the spirit of these musics whose rhythms and instruments have become inevitable. "
Christian Lauba



LEROUX PHILIPPE – De la vitesse

Creation : 24/09/2001 at Festival Musica (Strasbourg)
Musicians: 6 percussionists 
Duration : 17'
Publishing : Billaudot

De la vitesse attempts to bring together two ways of hearing and conceiving music. The establishment and exploitation of "figures" puts the discursive emphasis of composition on what is usually called: writing. On the other hand, the creation of sound continuums in which the notion of matter dominates is a more contemplative approach to sound. Speed is based on a constant to-and-fro between figures and matter which is established through more or less continuous processes of transformation. When a figure changes scale, if it is greatly slowed down for example, it reaches the status of matter. By condensing, it will in turn give birth to a new figure. By propagating to an underlying sound continuum, such as the wave produced by a pebble thrown into water, the figure can influence the destiny of the water. De la vitesse wants to be neither a contemplative work nor the sound materialisation of an abstract writing. It wants to be a sound writing, a writing of sounds, a writing of sounds.
Philippe Leroux



LEROUX PHILIPPE – Rheumics

Creation : 17 January 2002, Strasbourg, France
Duration: 5'
Musicians : 6 percussionists
Publishing : Billaudot

"Rheumics was commissioned by Percussions de Strasbourg and Festival Présences. Part of a joint project by 12 composers for the 40th anniversary of the Percussions de Strasbourg, the work is gradually built up using elements taken from the pieces that preceded it, namely those by Michaël Jarrell and François-Bernard Mâche for the pitches and rhythms, and that of Fausto Romitelli for the timbres. She mainly uses objects that do not belong to the usual range of percussion instruments: kazoo, bottles, tuning forks, harmonica, knitting needles, flower pots… Starting by exploring this sound material, she gradually dramatizes it to the point where this already unusual instrumentarium is tossed into a tinkerer's delirium that pushes the limits even further. Rheumics is a sound reflection on percussion itself, where the verb to percolate no longer represents the activity of the musicians alone, but must be enriched by the words to rub, shake, blow, knead… The piece is obviously dedicated to the Percussions de Strasbourg as well as to Michaël Jarrell, François-Bernard Mâche and Fausto Romitelli".
Philippe Leroux



LEVINAS MICHAEL – Tic-tac caisse enregistreuse

Creation : 19/01/2002, Strasbourg, La Laiterie,
On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Percussions de Strasbourg, by the Percussions de Strasbourg
Musicians : 6 percussionists
Duration: 4'
Publishing : Lemoine, Paris, nº 27724  

"This piece, dedicated to the Percussions de Strasbourg on the occasion of the anniversary of this group which marked the years of Contemporary Music, is organised around the Tic-Tac d'une horloge. This Tic-Tac, which sings the succession of moments, is expressed by a giant rattle that slowly turns its crenellation. Each jerk caused by the movement of the axis of the rattle is prolonged by a series of echoes caused by maracas and a wide variety of white noises. This "orchestration" of "striated time" is accompanied by the maniacal sound of the drawer of a cash register and the pendulum of a "cracked bell". "Michaël Levinas



LEVINAS MICHAEL – Transir – Hommage à Fausto Romitelli

Creation : 28 August 2005 at Abbaye de Royaumont
Music and conception : Michaël Levinas 
Musicians : 6 percussionists
Duration : 16'
Publishing : Lemoine  

This piece written in homage to Fausto Romitelli develops what I call alteration and paradoxical polyphony. 1) Alteration of scales and the Doppler phenomenon in Transir It is about modal scales which evolve by progressive alteration. This principle of slow alteration is inspired by the Doppler phenomenon. It expresses the very essence of temporality which is at the origin of the perception of the TRANSIR form. (beyond the ethno-musicological reference, we can hear this phenomenon of the alteration of scales in Bartok's work, although the formal reference in his work remains the sonata). 2) The paradoxical polyphonies In Transir, the scales are reinterpreted in multiplications of disjointed intervals (the joint movement of the third becoming a tenth etc.) creating polyphonic lines "in contrasting diagonals". These paradoxical polyphonies, which develop a writing style initiated, at home, in my string quintet "Lettres enlacées II", provoke a paradoxical and psycho-acoustic perception of the "steep movements" between registers. This polyphony, which transgresses the "traditional watertightness" of registers and tracks, constitutes "roundabout beams" that are both harmonic and polyphonic. I began to construct this writing and to conceive this auto-genesis between polyphony and "harmonic" from my more strictly instrumental pieces: Rebondset Par delà (1992 and 1994). There is in this conception of alteration and polyphony a "redistribution" of the relationships of the parameters between them, and (for me) an opening of the writing of timbre towards new imaginations. 3) The trance and the process My homage to Fausto Romitelli wants to evoke all those months of nocturnal telephone conversations, while I was writing the overture to The Negroes, and working on the Ligeti studies and The Well-Tempered Keyboard for my recordings at UNIVERSAL. Together we evoked the feeling of "trance", but also the impasses of the overly rigorous spectral process and the limits of the "time limits" of certain Ligeti studies. "The end of these studies are often disappointing", we said. "But what is the cause of these somewhat sad endings?" It is in these exchanges, far from institutional pressures, that I found some of my energy to conceive the "formal time of altered scales" and the interlacing of letters as well as the paradoxical vertigo of the polyphonic-harmonic timbre: a true opening of the writing. If in the opening of the Negroes the polyphony is strictly homophonic on the rhythmic level, in Transir the percussion of the keyboards, allows to introduce in the process of altered scales, desynchronization and a strange mimicry (in this desynchronization) between the harmonic and the inharmonic. It would be a polyphonic mimicry between the tempered timbre and its noisy double. Another modality of alteration. I keep thinking of these nocturnal dialogues with Fausto, between Sanary, Paris, Milan, Gorizia. Trance, he said! In the use of 16th century French, transir also meant to die.
Michaël LEVINAS



LEVINAS MICHAEL – Voûtes

Creation : 27 September 1988 at Festival Musica (Strasbourg, France)
Commissioner : Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication 
Dedcated to : Percussions de Strasbourg 
Musicians: 6 percussionists
Duration: 11'

Isn't percussion the appointed companion of European music? As a companion, it became independent in the 20th century. Ambiguous autonomy. What do we hear in percussion alone? Certainly, all the combinatory richness that is signified by the percussive confinement - as a kind of "abstract" music, an understatement of the musical - but also the euphoria and the sonorous spontaneity of a language that was born in the influence of the first concrete music invented in the studio. We have also witnessed an inflation of particular instruments from non-European cultures. This irruption of percussion in contemporary music confirmed the evolution of several centuries of Western writing, and the liberation of a material apparently too often limited to the role of a rhythm machine, cluttered with memories of virile marches and folklore. Today, however, the progressive mastery of sound through technology might perhaps lead us to reconsider the role of this instrumentarium. How can we apprehend the raw material of instruments often created in musical civilisations that are not based on the thought of writing? Used for their own sake, these instruments also signify the limit of a fundamentally non-Western material, i.e. conceived without any combinatorial technique. This is perhaps the irreducible difference between a violin and a piano on the one hand, and a Balinese gong on the other. Whatever the harmonic richness of this gong, its "malleability" is inherently limited. Unless the sonic virtualities of this gong are made explicit by an orchestra. But isn't there precisely in this raw material offered to composers new ways of exploring the vibration of matter that would no longer be confined to striking? In Voûtes, I worked on the idea of the brilliance of copper caused by swirling falls on reflective surfaces. This is a study of new transients of unrestricted percussive attacks. Moreover, because of its limited character, percussion expresses beyond percussion: what could be called the enigma of sound. Thus the chûue, the brilliance of the brass in the resonance of a vault evokes in me - by acoustic understatement - the brilliance of the voice and laughter. This brass orchestration is supported on the pedal by large Chinese vases that set snare drums vibrating, by sympathy on very precise frequencies. From then on, I rediscover the privilege of the "percussion" material, the interference of one sound body on another, the phenomenon of a shaking and the evocation of breath. Throughout this work, these new transients of attack become like structures of development. The result is a continuous variation on three modes (three short pieces: Copper twirl = sobbing, arching, pulverizing) obtained by the controlled use of metal diameters, characteristics of reflective surfaces, resonance times and speeds of circular chutes. Rhythmic polyphony is no longer limited to scanning. With Voûtes I attempt new writings of "faire-sonner".
Michaël Levinas, Août 1988



LINDBERG MAGNUS – Ablauf

Creation : 1983 at Académie Sibelius
Composition : 1983
Musicians : 1 clarinet and 2 bass drums
Duration : 10'
Publishing : Wilhelm Hansen

Ablauf (Disclaimer), originally written on the occasion of Lindberg's first monographic concert at the Sibelius Academy on 15 April 1983, was played by clarinettist Kari Kriikku, a member of the Toimii ensemble, in the hall of the concert hall during the intermission. The clarinet part (B-flat clarinet for the first movement, bass clarinet for the second) was meticulously described; the two percussionists, at the ends of the hall, accompanied the soloist with bass drums, as in a primitive ritual. There is only one section where the three musicians meet and play in synchrony, between the two movements of the piece. In 1988, Lindberg revised Ablauf on the occasion of his recording of Kari Kriikku and also added a notation for the percussionists. Risto Nieminen, 'Magnus Lindberg', Les Cahiers de l'Ircam, coll. 'Compositeurs d'Aujourd'hui No. 3'.



LONGTIN MICHEL – Lettre posthume de Conrad

Commissioner : Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne
Dedicated to : Les Percussions de Strasbourg 
Creation : 04/10/2000, Festival Musica, Strasbourg
Musicians : flûte (small), hautbois, clarinets, bass clarinets (cl. en sib), basson, cor, trompette (picc), trombone ténor-bass, 2 violons, alto, violoncellos, contrebasse (5 cordes), piano, percussion
Duration: 27'

Pine Dock, Manitoba (Canada)
7 August 1982
My friend, my brother!
I am going to die and I have suffered so much that I am not complaining. Death delivers me from my ordeal. But I never told you about it. I feel that I owe you this last look at my fifty years of life, then… I'm leaving!
Happiness: my mother. Her beauty, her beloved face: my world. Our deep love. Until Baden-Baden, 1947: I am fourteen years old. Troubled times, a country ravaged by the recent war. We return home one evening. Drunken English soldiers, looking for culprits, taking my uniform for that of the former Hitler Youth, want to execute me. My mother stands between the rifle and me. I see the bullet going through her head. My world explodes.
I go mad. Wanting to die, but living in spite of everything. Then to become other. But is that living? Gathered by distant relatives, I survive. Clinging to science. To become the road engineer you knew. Drawing paths for others; but in me, darkness.
1960 is the miracle: meeting Thérèse, my light and my love. Happiness, life, work side by side. Then five years ago, the accident on the building site. Her face crushed under the unstable rock that no one could have foreseen. To live again years of hell full time. Then recently diagnosed with a brain tumour.
My friend, my memory is fading. All that remains are the pains: my two loves torn away, and this violence done to their heads as well as mine. What meaning? I don't know, and I am no longer struggling to understand. I slide towards my end, which is perhaps a new beginning, who knows. But before I leave, I want to tell you: I think of you and in my last breath, I take your extra shadows with me! Live, my brother! Be happy!
Forever your friend,
Conrad Schleker M.L.



LOOTEN CHRISTOPHE – Voeux

Creation : 7 November 1999, Boulogne Sur Mer, France
Musicians : 2 children's choirs and 6 percussion instruments



LOPEZ LOPEZ JOSE MANUEL – Haikus del mar

Commissioner :  State
Dedicated to : Percussions de Strasbourg
Creation : 12/01/2013, Montpellier, Salle Pasteur du Corum, by les Percussions de Strasbourg
Composition : 2010
Musicians :  6 percussionists
Duration : 22'
Publishing : María Sánchez Lucas

From the first page of the Haikus del mar, a polyphony is established which privileges microscopic temporal relations. The initial explosion of sound sparks, comparable to a calm sea illuminated by the sun, aims to parallel sound and light thanks to the light reflections and acute resonances of glockenspiels, vibraphones, metal bars, triangles, bells, etc. The result is an explosion of sound and light. This polyphony in turn shows several levels of speed: resonances of simultaneous attacks by the 6 percussionists, irregular durations that oscillate between 6 s and 12 s - relatively long resonances - to which other textures are superimposed, where one can hear more than 150 attacks per second as well as others between 10 and 30 attacks per second. Let us add to this that the general time of the work constantly changes in a perfectly controlled manner, which allows me to establish particularly precise rhythmic and temporal relationships between the macroform and the microform, between the long and short articulations, between the speeds close to that of light - at least in our poetic sound imagination - and the speeds close to that of sound, in the image of a universe where the infinitely small and the infinitely large remain in close relationship. The course of the work therefore tries to show polyphonic situations and extremely dense sound articulations, as well as others that are perfectly simple, resulting from the filtering of the latter, which allows us to enter into the internal zones of this complex matter, to hear and understand them. During this journey we will also pass through very slow situations, between 25 s and 2 min 30 s, where time stands still, like a calm sea where nothing seems to happen. But, during these seemingly motionless passages, simultaneously, thousands of sound sparks are superimposed: those of a drumstick being struck, those of a small metal bar resting on the body of the instrument, which vibrates for 25 seconds simultaneously with the long vibration of the drumstick; those of ocean drums, rain sticks, bells, etc., etc., etc. The thousands of grains of sand or seeds contained in the latter instruments make their skins and woods vibrate thousands of times a second, creating what are known as granular sounds or textures, which evoke the relationship between the infinitely large and the infinitely small. Finally, I must say that these sound situations, these calculations and mathematical relationships, are only a reflection of the poetic images taken from Japanese seaside haikus. They inspire me and allow me, through their combinations, to place my mind in sound situations otherwise impossible to imagine. A discursive logic and a language on the borderline between science and poetry are thus expressed, in the perfect image of my personal and artistic preoccupations. The work is dedicated to my very dear friends and admired musicians, the Percussionists of Strasbourg.
José Manuel López López, Paris 14 novembre 2012



PESSON GERARD – Ur-Timon

Creation : 08/09/2007, Royaumont Abbey
Music and conception : Gérard Pesson
Number of musicians : 6 percussionists
Duration : 14 mn

Ur Timon is a sort of concerto in which each one of the soloists successively comes to the centre of the set whilst the other five make up what used to be called the ripieno in the Baroque period.

This Chandelle game, or Furet*, is applied to a ritual of sounds, in that Ur-timon is performed in a ring in the middle of which both the soloist and his work bench / altar are the focal point. For all that, those soli are no virtuosi. They rather stand for this small theatre of sounds and its circulation where each one, often miscast, enters in turn and speaks according to what he specializes in.

Here the percussion uses only a small part of the impressive material provided for by the 20th Century. The small puppet staged concerto rings the bell for global warming (which happened to be the first title of the piece) at the very moment when there is nothing left- the sounds themselves in the first place – to be either sorted out or thrown away. On the contrary, as music makes its way towards childlike constructions where all can sound, where everything can be cast for the part of the orchestra (plastic bottles, glass, rusks, rubber bands, bird-organs, toys, hunting bird calls, Kway, scratch, etc.), it is definitely poverty that is required. In this recycling workshop, the line between what is most dreamt about and what is most laughed at is never really clear-cut. In that sense, Ur-timon is also a role play.

Ur-timon falls into tableaux and playlets which would tell the story of a Noah’s Ark of the sound as if used like a glove puppet. Marches, fanfares, chimes or other conductus mark each time a soloist walks towards his work bench. Along the lines of some progressive dramatic art dealing with the transformation of elements, each movement of the concerto is devoted to a material which becomes, following the examples of Dante’s Inferno or Sade’s Days of Sodom, a circle as being a step in an initiation.

The title not only refers to the Sumerian city of Ur, today in Iraq near Bassorah, which was believed to be Abraham’s town, according to the book of Genesis, but also to the German prefix which, even though there is no etymological link, means the origin. For the sound makers – the composer as well as the instrumentalists – there is nothing more poignant as this timbre works which seems to keep echoing this breathtaking precedence. The timon in question refers to the soloist as he conducts this ritual, or even better, as he calls the tune.

A motive for this sonorous game of furet is required ("the itchy palm" could also be an ideal subtitle). It could be: more reliability in frailty and miscasting as much as possible.

Gérard Pesson (translated by J-C Beaumont) May 2007

*The Furet (also called the Chandelle) is a French traditional children’s party game. The equivalent would be "Drop the Handkerchief" or "Pass the Slipper". [1] A "Timon" in French is a shaft or a beam.



PREVITE BOBBY – Terminals

Five concertos for percussion ensemble and soloists

Percussions : Les Percussions de Strasbourg
Piano : Benoît Delbecq
Guitar : Marc Ducret
Dj : eRikM
Vocal : Emilie Lesbros
Percussions : Bobby Previte
Composition and arrangement : Bobby Previte
Coproduction : Percussions de Strasbourg and La Filature, Scène nationale de Mulhouse

Composed by the American jazz musician Bobby Previte, Terminals features Les Percussions de Strasbourg and five great French improvisers. Their separate concertos dovetail in a thrilling and prolific meeting of the classical and the improvised worlds.

Terminals places the standard orchestral percussion instruments (timpani, snare drum, triangle), alongside instruments that in the last century were codified into the percussion literature (brake drums, anvils, almglocken), regional instruments highly associated with folk music (cuica, spoons, talking drum, timbales), electronic percussion (drum machine), and unclassifiable elements (bullwhip), to fashion a landscape to each soloist.

"One day on a Delta Airlines flight I was bored, so I reached into the seat pocket and pulled out the magazine. I became fascinated with the "Terminal Maps", graphic representations of those spaces we all pass through so often in modern life. The drawings reminded me of percussion instruments set up on a stage. At this moment, Terminals was born". Bobby Previte



RACOT GILLES – Subgestuel

Creation : 28/03/1992, Paris
Music and conception : Gilles Racot
Number of musicians : 6 percussionnists et electroacoustic sound
Duration : 20 mn
Commissioned by : Maison de Radio France and INA/GRM

Homage to the work of the painter Zao Wou-ki.

When I emerged from childhood I was deeply affected by the works of certain contemporary painters. They marked the beginning of my education in the visual arts and, in a far more personal way, became guidelines and represented an intersection where other areas of the imagination and awareness, such as that of music, confronted each other and merged together. The space and pictorial light in Zao Wou-Ki’s work, its play with transparency, fluidity, opacity, textures, emptiness and the energy the paintings suggest had a major influence on the direction my early musical compositions took and doubtless remain, albeit subconsciously, my guidelines. The title clearly has its roots in the painting style of the master and in the choice of percussion instruments whose playing techniques are particularly physical. Even though Subgestuel may not be an exact equivalent of the master’s works the piece, nevertheless, evokes certain artist’s gestures ; varied ranges of pitch with different intensity of energy that are concentrated, lashed, whipped, nervous, separated, scraped and smoothed out, « light, broad brush strokes ». The initial aim in writing the percussion parts was to move away from their role of « percussive » instruments and to compose in such a way as to render the sound more flexible, fluid and melodious. One of the aspects of work on the sound of the electroacoustic parts involvec accentuating and forcing the instrumental writing beyond the technical possibilities of the instruments, such as the speed at which certain passages were played, reducing harmonics, the line of phrases, etc…

Subgestuel is the second work written in homage to the work of a painter, the first being Noctuel (1987) for bassoon and electroacoustic sound in homage to the work of Pierre Soulages. Following the example of these two painters, who incidentally were close friends, the two compositions are very different in terms of the basic sound material and concept, event to the extent of being exact opposites and representing two complementary aspects of my work : one revolves around energy and movement while the other is an in-depth exploration of sound material.

Gilles Racot



REICH STEVE – Clapping music

Clapping Music is a minimalist piece written in 1972. It is written for two performers and is performed entirely by clapping.

A development of the phasing technique from Reich's earlier works such as Piano Phase, it was written when Reich wanted to (in his own words) "create a piece of music that needed no instruments beyond the human body". However, he quickly found that the mechanism of phasing slowly in and out of tempo with each other was inappropriate for the simple clapping involved in producing the actual sounds that made the music.

Instead of phasing, one performer claps a basic rhythm, a variation of the fundamental African bell pattern in 12/8 time, for the entirety of the piece. The other claps the same pattern, but after every 8 or 12 bars shifts by one eighth note to the right. The two performers continue this until the second performer has shifted 12 eighth notes and is hence playing the pattern in unison with the first performer again (as at the beginning), some 144 bars later. The variation of the African bell pattern is minimal; it contains just one additional beat. However, this minimal addition results in a much more interesting piece from the point of view of the variation of syncopation as the piece progresses.



REICH STEVE – Six Marimbas

Six Marimbas, composed in 1986, is a rescoring for marimbas of my earlier Six Pianos (1973). The idea to rescore came from my friend, the percussionist James Preiss, who has been a member of my ensemble since 1971 and also contributed the hand and mallet alterations that are used in this score.
The piece begins with three marimbas playing the same eight beat rhythmic pattern, but with different notes for each marimba. One of the other marimbas begins to gradually build up the exact pattern of one of the marimbas already playing by putting the notes of the fifth beat on the seventh beat, then putting the notes of the first beat on the third beat, and so on, reconstructing the same pattern with the same notes, but two beats out of phase. When this canonic relationship has been fully constructed, the two other marimbas double some of the many melodic patterns resulting from this four marimba relationship. By gradually increasing their volume they bring these resulting patterns up to the surface of the music; then, by lowering the volume they slowly return them to the overall contrapuntal web, in which the listener can hear them continuing along with many others in the ongoing four marimba relationship.

This process of rhythmic construction followed by doubling the resulting patterns is then continued in the three sections of the piece that are marked off by changes of mode and gradually higher position on the marimba, the first in D-flat major, the second in E-flat dorian, and the third in B-flat natural minor.

Steve Reich

Source : http://www.boosey.com/cr/music/Steve-Reich-Six-Marimbas/132



SARHAN FRANÇOIS – Homework solo

"The main point of Homework II: In The Garage is to show someone reading a generic instruction manual. This action is superimposed with a ritualistic attitude which transforms the reading and action of assembling the device into a trance.
The text alternates between the introspection of the performer and the text of the instruction manual. As the piece progresses, these two concepts merge.
The music does allude to the ritualist aspects and gives all the dramatical direction.  It also shows the destruction of the individual via the paroxysm of physical activity.
I must say, however, that the narrative is quite allusive and doesn't establish a clear plot. My difficult task was to be both precise and allusive…
The idea of body percussion and its short, percussive sounds is linked to the idea of building a mechanical / electronic device, both through the type of sounds and the "DIY" concept (the person in his garage building something produces all the sounds himself). This opposition between the mechanics and the absence of instrument (not so frequent into contemporary music) is the central point of the piece, because it questions the existence and the nature of the thing, of the tool, the object."

François Sarhan



SCHAT PETER – Signalements

The dutchman Peter Schat, born in Utrecht in 1935, studied in The Hague, London and finally in Basel with Pierre Boulez. It was in 1961 that Schat composed his "Signalement" for six percussionists and three contrabasses, for the Percussions de Strasbourg. The title of the piece comes from the signals exchanged by the interpreters to coordinate their interventions. The work, in fact, gradually gives more freedom of choice to musicians and goes from reading a specific musical text to a game where the "chance" occurs within the limits provided by the composer. The coordination signals will therefore become real signs of direction and the interpreters will each in turn have a responsibility at least equal to that of a conductor.

The contrabasses, which only appear episodically, are added to the piano treated in percussion and whose strings have been previously "prepared" by the introduction of various objects. In the last part of the work, the particular timbre emitted by the piano determines the replicas of the other desks on this or that group of instruments. "After we hear a piano string pinched by a coin, stifled by a piece of rubber or struck with chopsticks, the percussionists will play the corresponding sequence only on metal, wood, or skin instruments", says the author.

"Signalement" is therefore an "open" work whose sonorous life does not go away for a moment. Here we can follow not only the thought of the composer, but the most personal reactions of the interpreters who have the opportunity to influence the speech in the direction of their own sensitivity.



SCHERCHEN TONA – Shen

Creation: June 1969 at Vaison la Romaine
Duration: 12'

"Shen" which means depth is an attempt to penetrate the mysterious depths of life (sheng): the rhythms of heartbeats, of breathing. Musically, the work is based on three kinds of elements: sequences of solemn, ritual character, dancing, cheerful, even ironic rhythms, observations resulting from a study of the characteristics and variations of the human heartbeat and breathing. During development, these three basic elements collide, intertwine, overlap and gradually change through their reciprocal influence. The composer is primarily interested in composing "lively" music".



SCHLÜNZ ANETTE – Traces

Creation: 4 october 2014 at Musica festival, Strasbourg
Comissioner: festival Musica
Duration: 10'

Traces is a score written in Percustra mode which was developed over five months in close collaboration with the six amateur musicians of the Lycée Le Corbusier and Claude Ferrier of the Percussions de Strasbourg.
Contrary to the usual work of a composer who creates a score and then plays it, this piece wanted to take into account the sound desires and technical possibilities of a non-musician. From the outset, the search for sound and rhythm according to proposed models was at the centre of the joint work. This led to the choice of instruments, the idea of more sonorous or more rhythmic parts and the integration of movements to become aware of the space and the sounds circulating in it. The instrumentarium is made up of two marimbas, each played by three, and above all instruments with undefined pitches, such as wooden drums, wood simantra, metals (sheet metal plates, brake drums, tam-tams), skins (toms, bass drums) and cardboard. The final score is made up of the written parts and others which leave room for improvisation, with a predefined choice of instruments, a number of actions and a fixed time frame. The aim is to leave sound traces in the space".
Annette Schlünz



SCHLÜNZ ANNETTE – Et la pluie se mit à tomber

Creation: 23 october 1994 at the Autumn festival, Bonn, DE
Musicians: 6 percussionnists
Duration: 11'
Publishing: Bote Bock

" Water in itself does not exist. One conception of water is a river, another is a puddle, a third is rain. The four natural elements: earth, water, fire and air take on their full meaning with the fifth element: the spirit "Wolf Kahlen. Rain takes on very different forms and is, like all other natural elements, an "innocent dependency", just as it is dependent on non-materialised noise. Rain creates sound, only the mind can record it through acoustic perception. The mind can imagine sounds without hearing them… What a marvellous suspended moment, like a foreboding rain. How close is the sound, produced by the rhythms of percussion instruments. Both (sound and rhythms) inspired by the imagination of the mind. Different elements blend inseparably together down to the smallest detail, to become one sound, in its own right. Listening to music or rain, a process in time, time inhabited by numbers, like music.
A piece for 6 musicians - 6, the absolute number, because it is the sum as much as the product : 1+2+3 and 1x2x3. It is also the product of the first male (3) and the first female (2) digits, whose sum is the indivisible 5. This play with numbers in the mathematical and poetic sense (e.g. interpretation of their polarities) becomes audible time in the most varied relations between sounds, dense or almost naked, strong, soft, interrupted by silence, calm… like the imperceptible beginning of a rain".
Annette Schlünz



SCHNELLER OLIVER – Superstructure

Creation: 15 february 2014 at Köln, DE

"Commissioned by the German radio SWR 3 for Les Percussions de Strasbourg, the work was presented in Cologne for its world premiere on 15 February 2014.
A journey to the heart of spectral music, of the structure of sound, through various references to current popular music, which proposes a harmonic construction based on the study of the earth's layers. "The idea for this piece is based on my interest in the methods of stratigraphy applied in the science of geology. It is about "synchronisation" (by dating and correlation) of heterogeneous material making it possible to reconstruct the geological history of the earth. Poetically, it could be formulated as follows: the history thus stratified into different time periods leads to the history of the past (pun Ge-Schichte and Gegenwart(sschicht) both contain the word stratum) Superstructure consists of 66 modules. They are derived from vertical source blocks, which are formed respectively from the middle to the upper regions, from 18 artificial and 18 natural spectra. The fundamentals of the spectra remain absent because they are below the lowest tones of the instruments used. Each performer is assigned 11 modules, which can emerge respectively in 6 different variants within the horizontal (sequential) and vertical (simultaneous) poles. I have taken up the challenge of producing the spectral material mainly through instruments tuned in the tempered range, through the quantification of the tonal pitches as well as through the well-targeted combination of instruments".
Oliver Schneller



SCHOELLER PHILIPPE – Archaos I

Creation: 8 october 2003 at Musica festival, Strasbourg
Musicians: 6 percussionnists
Duration: 6'

"Archaos is a cycle of 5 pieces for 6 percussionists and sound material of "digital lutherie", synthetic material elaborated, forged and realised on these new instruments for composers in the 21st century, which are computers.
Archaos 1 opens the heart of the cycle. However, at present no loudspeaker here, only the living, complex, unstable and subtle qualities of each musician in contact with the sound bodies can be heard. The loudspeakers will follow, afterwards. Feel, the senses on the lookout, hunting and fleetingly capturing sensations and their perceptual contours, then understanding, taking this sensory journey to oneself, metamorphosing it into a mental experience. Thus the archaic universal experience of this so singular perception that leads us from sound to music. Like light leads us to enchantment, when it comes from the stars, or radiates from a child's eyes, for example". Philippe Schoeller



SCHÖLLOM JOHANNES – Red and blue

Creation: 9 september 2000 at Abbaye de Royaumont
Comissioner: State commission for Les Percussions de Strasbourg
Musicians: 6 percussionists
Duration: 15'

Where does this terrible authority of the skies come from? What punch was given to the sheet metal of the night to make it vibrate so radiant, to make it become so radiant, with vibrations that amplify until midday? (Francis Ponge, La Mounine). In the same way that temporal representations are certainly modified in a painting, but that the painting always speaks as if reflecting its temporality, so the pictorial representations that run through the sound world of red and blue undergo modifications, but remain rooted in pictoriality. Supported by strong instrumental colours, where each blow on the instruments says something about the rigidity of the metal that will vibrate, the form must, in this way, paradoxically form in the listener's ear as picture and colour. "In the simple blue of the sky the soul gently glides - and as it leaves the last etiola, it rushes, wings spread, towards the infinite" (Jean-Paul, De la magie naturelle de nos facultés de représentation).