8 cellos

Matalon’s …del matiz al color… was commissioned by the Beauvais Cello Octet in 1999. Here is how the composer explains some of his thinking behind the work: “The cello octet, an instrumental combination that has appeared recently on the musical landscape, conceals considerable sound possibilities. The cello is endowed with a voluptuous sound and a wide range. Extremely agile, it offers a broad palette of colours, multiplied by different playing techniques and articulations. An ensemble of eight instruments having such qualities quickly suggested the basic idea of this piece to me: the transformation of the musical material—rhythmic structures, textures and lines—into plastic forms. It is the evolution and composition of these forms, and the dialectic created between them, that shape the piece’s trajectory.”

The first of these forms, an aggressive fortissimo tutti passage that might recall the jagged and relentless perpetuum mobile texture of Boulez’s Messagesquisse, appears at the outset of the work. Another, markedly different passage soon follows. Here the dynamic level drops, and the texture consists simply of pizzicato melody and tremolo accompaniment. These two contrasting sound worlds are initially kept separate, but they gradually become superimposed upon one another. The tremolo accompaniment of the second, for example, begins to take on the perpetuum mobile texture of the first, while the aggressive perpetuum mobile of the first eventually becomes accompaniment to melody, thus assuming the texture of the second.

A Deruchie [ii-07]