We’ve had a spell of hot, humid days, and this day was no exception, but there was plenty of shade and a bit of a breeze. Insects abounded. The fish jumped for them, sometimes a good two feet in the air, or so it seemed.
Gérard Grisey: Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil (Four Songs for Crossing the Threshold) (1996-1998)
I was reminded of Quatre chants as the result of taking Lucy Dhegrae‘s clever online quiz “Which Resonant Bodies Festival 2016 vocalist are you?” (Try it! It’s fun. The link is here.) I came up with Alice Teyssier, a singer new to me, and looked her up. She had several videos of performances, and one of them was Quatre chants.
Quatre chants is composed for soprano and (given in the French so as not to mistranslate) flûte (aussi flûte piccolo, flûte alto), clarinette basse (aussi clarinette), clarinette basse (aussi clarinette contrebasse), saxophone ténor (aussi saxophone alto, saxophone soprano), saxophone ténor (aussi saxophone baryton), trompette (aussi trompette piccolo), 2 tuba basse (aussi 1 tuba [ténor] ), 3 percussionniste, harpe, violon, violoncelle, contrebasse
1 Prélude: I. La Mort De L’Ange
2 Interlude: II. La Mort De La Civilisation
3 Interlude: III. La Mort De La Voix
4 Faux Interlude: III. La Mort De L’Humanité
Grisey’s program notes may be found here and more information about Grisey and Quatres chants may be found here.
Bonus Track: Alice Teyssier sings Notte funeste & Ferma l’ali (G.F. Händel: La Resurrezione HWV 47)
Credits: The photographs, as always on the blog unless otherwise indicated, are mine.
Hi Susan – I love coming by and seeing your photos of Innisfree Garden and all the others! Thanks too for listing your listening list – it’s always good to have … cheers Hilary
Hi, Hillary: Glad you enjoyed the photos!
I was delighted to recognize buttonbush in your first photo. We have that, too, and this is the first year I’ve seen some. The trumpetvine’s lovely, too, and another happy addition to our summer. The spectacular last photo suggests there are many, many people kept busy creating that bit of wonder. It truly is beautiful.
I went over to see the quiz, but it’s on Facebook, so that’s a no-go. No matter. I wouldn’t have any knowledge of the choices, anyway. I consoled myself by listening to the music while I cleaned up the kitchen, and then watched my funny, sweet birds take their evening baths.
By the way, today I found a short piece by Oliver Sacks, written about horsetails on the High Line. I know you go there, and thought you might enjoy it.
shoreacres: Buttonbush! I didn’t know the name of that bush, so thanks for that, and of course the name is apt. Indeed there are many people who carefully tend the grounds. I often see them out at work, particularly on weekdays. One time, a fellow was out in a rowboat pulling up plants from the lake that were taking over, and as he did, he sang a sort of lonesome blues. An unexpected pleasure. Thanks, too, for the Oliver Sack article. I’ll look forward to reading that.
So that amazing, insect-friendly flower is buttonbrush? Does it have any other name?
Jurowski championed Grisey’s Quatre Chants with typical aplomb (soprano was Allison Bell). It was a revelation to me. Especially the theatre of the way the instruments were arranged around the singer.
David: Armed with newfound knowledge from shoreacres, here’s what I learned about the buttonbush: “Cephalanthus occidentalis is a species of flowering plant in the coffee family, Rubiaceae, that is native to eastern and southern North America.” Re the Grisey, I seem to recall you wrote on that, no? I think, in fact, it’s how I first learned of the piece. Having the instruments arranged around the singer is a brilliant stroke.