Author Topic: Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)  (Read 17483 times)

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Sean

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Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)
« on: June 28, 2009, 12:55:18 AM »
Just got hold of a disc with a few pieces on including his Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil- looks like forbidding stuff, but I haven't listened yet. Anyone know this composer?
« Last Edit: July 04, 2009, 12:31:23 PM by Sean »

Offline UB

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Re: Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2009, 04:43:35 AM »
Sean - What other pieces besides his final work is on the disc? As far as I know the only commercial recording of Quatre chants is the Kairos one and it is the only work on the the cd?

I can not say that Grisey is among my favorite late 20th century composers but he and Murail certainly help start a style of music that has produced some very absorbing music. I would say my favorite Spectral composer is Luc Brewaeys.
I am not in the entertainment business. Harrison Birtwistle 2010

greg

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Re: Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2009, 05:45:45 AM »
Check out Les Espaces Acoustiques. That's his masterwork (or one of them, at least).

Offline edward

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Re: Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2009, 08:17:00 AM »
Just got hold of a disc with a few pieces on including his Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil- looks like forbidding stuff, but I haven't listened yet. Anyone know this composer?
Yep.

The Quatre chants is one of my favourite late-20th-century works, a kind of spectralist Das Lied von der Erde that I find extremely directly expressive. I don't find a lot of his earlier work appealing, but the late pieces provide me (at least) with a very interesting synthesis of tradition and spectralist experiemntation.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
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Offline CRCulver

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Re: Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2009, 10:04:47 AM »
I don't find a lot of his earlier work appealing, but the late pieces provide me (at least) with a very interesting synthesis of tradition and spectralist experiemntation.

Grisey's late music is much less interested in spectralist experimentation and much more in how the listener perceives musical time. Time became Grisey's overriding concern in the mid-1980s, and for the rest of his life he was often frustrated at being labeled a spectralist composer.

Sean

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Re: Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2009, 03:05:46 PM »
Sean - What other pieces besides his final work is on the disc? As far as I know the only commercial recording of Quatre chants is the Kairos one and it is the only work on the the cd?

I can not say that Grisey is among my favorite late 20th century composers but he and Murail certainly help start a style of music that has produced some very absorbing music. I would say my favorite Spectral composer is Luc Brewaeys.

Hello folks, nice to see some well listened people around, as usual. UB, the disc I have is the WDR Kairos, with only the Quatre chants on it, about 41 minutes; I heard it for the first time this afternoon and I don't think it's going to materialize into any masterpiece, needless to say, but it's serious and committed enough and the singing is dead on the note.

I know one or two microtonal glissando type pieces by Murail (and saw him play the Ondes martinot in Turangalila once) but don't rate him much either- a bit grandiose and syrupy.

Don't know if you know The Mother by Haba- tremendous work...

Offline UB

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Re: Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2009, 10:00:49 AM »
I know Mother - love the instrumental parts, but really dislike the screeching soprano. I do enjoy his suite for clarinet and piano, nonet #4 and other of his music. My favorite microtonal composer is probably Ivan Wyschnegradsky.

As to Murail, do you know his solo piano piece Les Travaux et les Jours I would think if you like Haba's quarter tone piano pieces, you would like this piece.
I am not in the entertainment business. Harrison Birtwistle 2010

Offline Brewski

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Re: Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2009, 10:45:48 AM »
Although I have yet to hear Quatre Chants, I have heard Talea and Vortex temporum (the latter twice live), and enjoyed both immensely.

Just this past year I heard Les Espaces Acoustiques (the Asbury recording on Kairos), and thought it was mindblowing music.  I also heard a live performance of one of the sections, Partiels, that reinforced initial impressions.  But then, I am eating up spectral music as fast as I can hear it. 

I also love Murail (have been listening to his Gondwana on repeat lately), but am not familiar with Luc Brewaeys, so thanks for that mention.

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Sean

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Re: Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2009, 12:35:57 AM »
The few pieces by Murail I've tracked down are the orchestral L’Esprit des Dunes, which was quite evocative of deserts, and Partage des eaux, a kind of tour de force of added Messiaenic/ Scriabinian harmonics and microtones; I also had a couple of piano pieces recorded from the radio, Cloches d’adieu, et un sourire… and Territories de l’oubli. And I was at the first performance of his Time and again in the late 80s.

Works like Boulez' Repons or Exposante-fixe are in a similar, and to me ultimately unconvincing mould. Academics and famous music institutions like to go on about how important these minor post-war developments really are and of course many still flog straight Schoenbergianism, but you need to have real musical insight to begin to make things work in these idioms, and I doubt whether regular tonal divisions can ever be meaningfully replaced for art music. There is much value in them, so I like to listen and cover the ground, but I'm under no illusions either.

Offline CRCulver

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Re: Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2009, 03:38:03 AM »
Works like Boulez' Repons or Exposante-fixe are in a similar, and to me ultimately unconvincing mould. Academics and famous music institutions like to go on about how important these minor post-war developments really are...

A few of the electronic techniques heard in Radiohead's In Rainbows record for example can be traced back to activity at IRCAM in the 1970s and 1980s. Certainly the noodling of a few academics there was not done in a total vacuum and did trickle down into pop music, which makes those works worthy of attention.

Here in Finland, the music of Kaija Saariaho is widely enjoyed even by a public which doesn't normally listen to modern-classical music. She gets an enormous amount of attention in the popular media. Saariaho's entire mature aesthetic was formed after arriving at IRCAM in the early 1980s, about the same time Boulez was finishing Repons and thinking about the revision of ...explosante-fixe, so again IRCAM wasn't some hermetically sealed academic world.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2009, 03:40:15 AM by CRCulver »

greg

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Re: Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2009, 07:21:30 AM »
That's good to hear about Saariaho, Chris. Btw, somehow I already knew you live in Finland. Oh, yeah, I remember from reading this a long time ago  ;D :

http://www.amazon.com/Teach-Yourself-Finnish-Complete-Course/dp/0071451072/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246375114&sr=8-1

Sean

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Re: Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2009, 02:44:45 PM »
CRCulver

I know what you're saying, though music academia is a remarkably sealed off from the real world of serious listeners. Also Saariaho is among the weakest and most overrated of all contemporary composers (and that's saying something)...

Offline CRCulver

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Re: Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2009, 10:28:58 PM »
I know what you're saying, though music academia is a remarkably sealed off from the real world of serious listeners. Also Saariaho is among the weakest and most overrated of all contemporary composers (and that's saying something)...

Aren't you contradicting yourself? You say that music scholarship and spectralist research has no connection to the real world, but when I point out that at least one composer is has both worked within those quasi-academic circles and found success among the general public, you claim she is overrated.

Sean

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Re: Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2009, 11:50:34 AM »
Well maybe Saariaho has a few followers in Finland, I don't know. But academia's misguided pronouncements throughout the last century have almost destroyed art music, and certainly Saariaho is among those who absolutely don't really know what Sibelius achieved.

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Re: Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2009, 01:11:17 PM »
Well maybe Saariaho has a few followers in Finland, I don't know. But academia's misguided pronouncements throughout the last century have almost destroyed art music, and certainly Saariaho is among those who absolutely don't really know what Sibelius achieved.

She does indeed have "a few followers" in Finland, and frankly many other places as well.   ::)  And as for her being "among those who absolutely don't really know what Sibelius achieved," I would be hesitant to make such a pronouncement--unless you've interviewed her, of course.  ::)

But this thread isn't about Saariaho, it's about Grisey.  I forgot to mention the personnel who played Partiels: composer Matthias Pintscher led the Ensemble ACJW, a group of musicians just out of college, who did a terrific job with what must be a very difficult score.  Not only does Pintscher turn out to be an excellent conductor, but the performance also reconfirmed the extremely high quality of young musicians emerging from schools these days.  It is inspiring to me to see people in their early 20s who are able to navigate these scores with such ease and aplomb.

--Bruce
Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.
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Twitter: @brucehodgesny

Sean

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Re: Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2009, 04:15:17 AM »
Sure thing Bruce. And of course Pintscher is in a similar realm, all wispy quiet timbrous (second rate) stuff.

greg

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Re: Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)
« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2009, 06:25:06 AM »
I've heard a Pintscher work before, and totally understand what you're saying.

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)
« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2009, 07:54:37 AM »
I have a cd by Murail w/ Les Esprit des Dunes, Serendib, and Disintegrations. This is the only "spectral" cd I have, though I'd like some more. I think it's perfect. Absolutely smooth processes woosh and swirl by and acoustic instruments sound like otherworldly synthesizers. I couldn't imagine a better example of spectralism, however...

I think I heard some early Grisey once, and found his processes there very aggressive...or...was it Dufourt "Surgir", or "Saturn?" I hear the Espaces Acoustiques is his big work. Again, all these guys' Amazonography sucks.

I've enjoyed most of what I've heard by Saariaho. I certainly find her sound indentifiable.

I have Pintscher's SQs w/ Arditti. (Rihm+Lachenmann)-maturity. There is one moment towards the end of his major SQ where the Arditti vocalizes a Gesualdo motet for three seconds, very cool, but the rest is pretty standard.

I'm going to bump my French Avant Thread.

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Sean

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Re: Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)
« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2009, 10:48:40 AM »
Fair enough snyprrr, an informed reply anyway. The Murail Dunes is smoothly written though I thought overscored for French music. I know four pieces by Saariaho and I'd describe them as anonymous but I'll try again.

Sure thing Greg.

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Gérard Grisey (1946-1998)
« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2009, 12:38:18 PM »
I have Saariaho's ...a la fumee/du cristal... and Nymphea on Ondine.

Nymphea is, so far, my favorite SQ w/ electronics. I have both the Kronos and Arditti, and they are somewhat different. I tend to prefer Kronos' grittier in-your-face version (though the recording is plush as can be, smoothing it out). The orchestral pieces again are pretty trippy.

The other Ondine disc with solo cello, solo voice, solo flute, and solo percussion, all with electronics... that I sold as soon as I got it: it did nothing for me. The one Ondine disc is all the Saariaho I'll ever need.

I thought overscored for French music.

Do you mind if I find this statement humorous? ;D

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