Arashishakar Loading comments… Trouble loading? All our journalism is independent and is in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative. It varies from instrument to instrument, but I can tell you as a horn player sometimes its very difficult to pick up strange intervals out of nothing without some kind of audio cue it or an easily identifiable interval being played in another instrument or there is a line leading up to it. Glad there is finally a complete video of this on youtube.

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There are apocalyptic visions listen to the start of the fourth song , The Death of Humanity, to hear the world implode in a black hole of percussion writing , reflective resignation and spectral stasis in these songs. For Grisey, every single sound was a living, breathing entity; it was only logical that he should want to explore what happens at the end of the sonic life-cycle as well as the start.

Yet the composer had already given the world visionary, inspirational and complete music. The essential idea is the creation of a new way of structuring the parameters of music by exploring the harmonic series, the overtones that are part of every musical note. If you analyse the complexity of the harmonic series of a single note played on a particular instrument — say a low E on a trombone — you find a teeming world of musical possibility.

That E, by the way, is exactly the note that Grisey took as the starting point for his ensemble work Partiels , the third piece of his epic, six-part cycle Les Espaces Acoustiques. For Grisey, the possibilities of this approach were microscopic yet infinite. By atomising sounds in this way, he could structure large pieces of music and spans of time, such as Partiels , that were based on an intense process of listening to an individual sound, exploding the smallest of sonic phenomena, a single note, on to the largest possible scale.

The harmonic implications of the overtone series also allowed Grisey to create a hierarchy within his micro-tonally enriched musical world, which gives his music a monumental dynamism. As he said, "we are musicians and our model is sound not literature, sound not mathematics, sound not theatre, visual arts, quantum physics, geology, astrology or acupuncture". A glittering, shimmering, light-filled chord begins Transitoires ; the music then seems to stop time with its pregnant pauses, and with echoes of sounds — a guttural double-bass growl, a low gong, a mysterious middle-distance drone — that are sustained, seemingly into the infinite.

That music is a bridge to the Epilogue of the whole cycle, with its whooping chords for four solo horns, the sounds of a universe of sound rejoicing in itself.

Grisey himself spoke of the difference between the sort of super-slow time experienced by whales as opposed to the frenetic time-scale of insects. Or, for another kind of mobile time, hear how Grisey makes a solo contrabass clarinet swing, slide and stride with mythic abandon in his evocation of Anubis-Nout , a piece written for the Canadian composer Claude Vivier , who was murdered in Five key links.


Partiels (1975)



Gérard Grisey


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