Paris ; City of Music. 11-V-2022. Pierre Boulez (1925-2016): Memorial (… explosante-fixe… Originel), for flute and ensemble: Matthias Pintscher (born in 1971): beyond (a system of passing), for flute; Éric Montalbetti (born in 1968): Caves; Suns, concertino for mezzo-soprano; chamber orchestra on three poems by Andrée Chedid (CM); Irini Amargianaki (born in 1980): N 37° 58’21. 108 E 23° 434 23.27, Athens, for three flutes and ensemble (CM); Michael Jarrell (b. 1958): … a time of silence … for flute and ensemble. Christina Daletska, mezzo-soprano; Emmanuel Pahud, Sophie Cherrier, Emmanuelle Ophèle, flutes. Ensemble Intercontemporain, direction: Matthias Pintscher
One, two and three flutes for the concert of the Ensemble Intercontemporain which invites for the first time Emmanuel Pahud, first solo flute of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
The program was developed in collaboration with the guest flautist, close to Matthias Pintscher, whose flute concerto he created Transit in Lucerne in 2006. Emmanuel Pahud intervenes in the two pieces of the second part, namely the world premiere by the Greek composer Irina Amargianaki, commissioned by the EIC, and the concerto for flute by Michael Jarrell heard in a French premiere.
It’s the iconic Memorial (…exploding -fixed…Original) by Pierre Boulez, for solo flute and eight instruments (two horns and six strings with lead mute), which opens the evening. The work has been part of the ensemble’s repertoire since its creation in 1985. This five-minute gem is played, and with what voluptuousness in sound, by soloist Emmanuelle Ophèle. Around her, her eight partners create a kind of electronic halo, but without electricity however. His colleague Sophie Cherrier is alone on stage in the second room, beyond (a system of passing) by Matthias Pintscher, a dazzling flute solo, taken from the concerto Transit already mentioned and created in 2013 by Emmanuel Pahud. It is a real physical performance demanded of the performer, in the projection of the sound and the playing modes which constantly vary the emission; an exploration “beyond” (beyond), through the breath, the energy and the virtuosity of the game, an irradiating zone of light towards which Sophie Cherrier transports us with her only flute in hand!
The two flautists have regained rank in Caves and Suns, a world premiere, commissioned by the EIC from Éric Montalbetti. The half-hour piece is subtitled “Concertino for mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestra”, ” with the idea of making the entire Ensemble ring in an orchestral way and of associating soloist and orchestra in the same breath, nourishing each other », says the composer. Following the model of the concerto, the piece is in three movements, each borrowing from a poem from the collection Caverns and Suns by Andrée Chedid. ” What touched me the most is the way in which each poem goes through a thousand different climates, and at the same time brings them together and reconciles them, opening onto a profoundly luminous perspective. », Emphasizes Montalbetti again. It was the Ukrainian mezzo-soprano, Christina Daletska, who was discovered in the opera Kein Licht by Philippe Manoury, who replaces at short notice Marianne Crebassa, suffering, for whom the vocal part was designed. The chiselled and profuse writing of the instrumental ensemble carried by the poetic impulses of the text – it appears in the background – unfolds in all its richness under the committed gesture of Matthias Pintscher; but the voice of the mezzo struggles, alas, to reach us, absorbed by the timbres of the whole except for a few welcome passages allowing us to appreciate the long and flexible voice of the singer. When she returns to the stage to greet her audience at the end of the play, Christina Daletska, who is also an Amnesty International ambassador, is wearing the Ukrainian flag.
The three flutes (including the bass flute by Emmanuelle Ophèle) are on the edge of the stage in the piece by Greek composer Irini Amargianaki, commissioned by the EIC also given as a world premiere. The strange title N 37° 58’21.108 E 23° 434 23.27, Athens, and difficult to remember – the work is also interested in memory – corresponds to the GPS coordinates of a district of Athens, “a very precise geographical point which evokes a living memory”, confides the composer installed today in Berlin. The piece immediately establishes a space of struggle surrounded by the rhythms of the bass drum which puts the ear on alert. The music is eruptive, harsh and even aggressive, which does not leave anyone indifferent, dominated by the “projectiles” (breath, voice in the instrument, saturated sound, etc.) of the three pugnacious flutes alongside a united ensemble under the direction Energy by Matthias Pintscher.
The best is yet to come …a moment of silence…, the concerto for flute and ensemble (reduction of his concerto for orchestra) by Michael Jarrell, a piece premiered in 2017 at the Berlin Philharmonic by Emmanuel Pahud and the Scharoun ensemble. It engages from the beginning an incredible virtuosity, assumed with a no less exceptional commitment by the soloist. Its boosted flute launches its lines of light, always assisted/enhanced by the timbres of the ensemble which color and nuance its splinters. The work evolves in different temporalities, tightened to the extreme, in a vertiginous tension, then distended, in moments “out of time” which gradually slide towards silence.
With its fleshy sounds in the bass, a staggering projection and absolute control in the treble, Emmanuel Pahud’s flute is nothing less than bewitching. Jarrell’s music is too, opening very emotional poetic and silent spaces, such as these last almost motionless minutes, on the pulsation of the high-pitched woodblock and in the resonance of three Tibetan bowls, where the last strokes of wing of a bird’s flute.
Emmanuel Pahud and the EIC will fly the next day to Berlin, welcomed by the Pierre Boulez Saal where they will give this same prestigious concert.
Photo credit: © Ensemble Intercontemporain
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