small ensemble

I Java (bien articulé, dansant)
II Série blême (dans une intensité glacée)
III Rimettes bouclées (très dynamique, explosif!)

MIMODRAME: a dramatic work expressed by gesture and dance, and accompanied by text-less music. SIMIODRAME: a neologism mixing “mimodrame” and “simiesque” …with respect to “dramatic work”… no programme here, except perhaps an ineffable one: images suggesting imaginary situations. … with respect to “gesture”… I often like to refer to various musical habitus; not with quotations, but with allusions to styles and genres. Java is a dance in 3⁄4 that became popular in the 1920s; the one offered here is an amused attempt to do with musical syntax what Boris Vian did with language.1 The 3⁄4 is somewhat twisted, into a 4+5+4/16 meter that itself fluctuates on occasion. One can sense here the full flavour of the “false tonal attractions” that I like to employ. The “swing” spirit of the piece does not stop it from raveling itself in a little, rather classical, canon. Série blême could be taken as a reminiscence of the romantic adagio for strings. The Rimettes bouclées have a lot in common with the main stream jazz standard: the theme is repeated and varied in the chorus, occasional “breaks”, recurring “riff” motifs. The fragmented poly meter typical of my work Comme un silène entr’ouvert is here transformed into a series of constantly changing pseudo-meters, keeping the musicians on edge; the rate of change is so quick that it results in a kind of syncopated music over a ground of virtual pulses. …with respect to “simiesque” The iconography of the middle ages saw the ape as a grotesque distortion of man, and the personification of evil. In the renaissance, the figure of the ape was often used to symbolize the artist who was trying to represent nature: “Ars simia Naturae.” But our primate brother today is most congenial as a pretext for making our vanity and pretension ironic. Commissioned by the French cultural ministry for the 19e Rencontres internationales de Metz-Ensemble Köln.

1. “In life, the essential thing is to make judgements at face value. It appears, indeed, that the masses are wrong, and the individuals are always right. From this we must not deduce principles or credos: they should not need to be formulated in order for us to follow them. There are only two things: love, in all its forms, of pretty girls, and the music of New Orleans or of Duke Ellingten. The rest should disappear, because the rest is ugly, and the following few pages that will demonstrate this draw all their power from the fact that the story is entirely true, since I imagined it from one end to the other. Its material realization itself consists of a projection of reality, in an atmosphere oblique and heated, onto a referential order irregularly rippled and distorted. We see it, it is an avowable procedure, if there ever was one.” (Vian, Foreword to l‘Ecume des jours, 1947)

Performance