6 percussions, congas and electric bass

Commission: Ministère de la Culture et de la Francophonie (France)

To Barbara and Luigi Polla

Composed after Hurel’s La Célébration des Invisibles (1992), a work for percussion and choir and first performed by Les Percussions de Strasbourg in 1992, the four sections of Kits serve as commentaries and interludes for La Célébration des Invisibles, but can also be played separately. Furthermore, parts 1, 2 and 4 can be played alone as miniatures.

When Les Percussions de Strasbourg approached Hurel to write this work, his challenge was to create music that could coexist on a concert program also featuring works by jazz composers. As a result, Kits unfolds with rhythmic and harmonic development starting with small musical cells, influenced in turn by jazz (kits 1) and funk (kits 4).

“For this work,” Hurel writes, “I had to find a way of integrating disparate elements: the harmonies come from calculations (for example, spectral compressions and interpolations) while the rhythms are more freely treated and make reference to jazz idioms. In this sense, the electric bass can be heard as a type of bridge, a link between two musical worlds.”

In composing Kits, Hurel always kept in mind the desired tone of the piece: ludic, playful, non-theoretical; and, first and foremost dedicated to the performers of the Percussions de Strasbourg.

Philippe Hurel