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The 5th  Qara Qarayev  international                                                            
contemporary music  Festival          Baku, Azerbaijan, 14-19 April 2013


Concert of the Accroche Note ensemble


Ensemble from France Accroche Note introduced odd program at festival mostly owing to its original structure even for contemporary music: flute, bass clarinet, harp, violin, cello, percussion and voice (soprano). All musicians were involved only in performing one composition, though. Combinations of various instruments including voice were introduced in the remaining ones.

Eco Iib, the work by Swiss composer Michelle Jarrell specially written for Accroche Note in 1993, opened the concert. Its measured movement and meditation nature slowly absorbed the audience into the atmosphere of fancy intonation and rhythmic, into distinctive timbre world. It was not easy at all to follow the twists and turns of musical and dramatic plot however Françoise Kubler’s gentle soprano enabled to deliver numerous gentle nuances thus insistently heading forward.

Placing the piece Solo de vibraphone by French composer Philippe Manoury, who used to be the resident of IRCAM in Paris, as the second performance of the concert was right decision. Beautiful and democratic timbre of vibraphone, no doubt, made perception of modern language more comprehensive. Being less original judging by thematics compared to radical sonority of the play by Jarrell, Manoury’s work was full of acoustic nuances enabling the audience’s ear to be subtly tuned. The audience applauded delightfully to soloist Emmanuel Séjourné for that.

Georges Apergis’ piece Trois Couplets was composed for soprano and bass clarinet. No wonder that musicians were anxious about audience’s reaction: in first part composer used quite tough timbre and intonation constructions, and audience’s alertness was easily perceivable. However the second and especially, scherzo third part broke the atmosphere. Masterly, almost equilibristic figures of soloist in melodized recitative, as well as embedded ensemble with bass-clarinet, distinctive “jugglery” with musical phrases won the audience.

Time, real and imaginary composition by Luca Francesconi performed as a contrast gave the name to the concert. In three parts of the play composer tried to reflect various characteristics of flow of time. The play was written for vocal and instrumental quintet (flute, clarinet, cello, percussion, soprano voice) with abundance of refined details which were put together in complex sound images by inspired musicians.

Before performance of play Time and Motion Study by Brian Ferneyhough for bass clarinet, solo Arman Angster talked to audience having explained the extent of complexity of performance this small composition. He showed the score to the audience noticing that it is truly hard to perform however it is marvelous practice of diverse modern playing approaches bringing true pleasure to the audience.

It should be stressed that musicians perfectly realized the complexities of perseverance brought forward by program. They tried through commentaries and even jokes (sometimes not usual ones within the contest of the program) to reach understanding with the audience for which they deserve special gratitude.

In conclusion the "freshiest" play — «Le complexe de Caïn» by Elmir Mirzoev composed especially for festival was performed. The play is dedicated to Faraj Karaev whose 70th anniversary will be celebrated this year. Composition included citation from "Aus" play for clarinet and vibraphone – one of the most symbolic musical pieces by Karaev according to Mirzoev. Moreover there is citation from Ravel given as a tribute to French ensemble.

Composer himself wrote following about «Le complexe de Caïn». «The main character of the play is Innovator. He is per se a man who made his mind to commit extraordinary deed, the field is of no importance. As a matter of fact Innovator stands closer to the hero however in some cases to another archetypic figure — criminal as it is clear that innovator just like criminal is a breaker of taboos which are sacred to society.

Criminal's portrait originates from Biblical Cain who was doomed to eternal torments for murdering his own brother Abel. Likewise Innovator is condemned for breaking social taboos — be it in art or in science or any other fields. Any Innovator in his undertakings even sometimes defining the future with his ideas experiences Cain's complex. In this sense Cain's complex is eternal companion of any innovator».

The play is based on eternal biblical plot which gave impulse to composer's idea on the clash of the old and new time. Composition starts with gentle ensemble of flute, harp, cello and soprano accompanied by crystal triangle. Ravel's citation symbolizing old however such a harmonious world is heard. Suddenly awkward double-bass clarinet solo intervenes with aggressive dissonance in artistic performance of the head of the ensemble. It is new time, rough and shameless. Composer introduced the element of instrumental theatre in performance. Semi-circle forms the main ensemble on the stage. Double-bass clarinet appears behind the stage and stops out of that "sacred area", drawn by musicians. The second "clash" of antagonists makes double-bass clarinet occupy its place in semi-circle and on the one hand trying to be interweaved into musical material of ensemble and on the other hand deforming it. Two strata are getting closer unless they reach common denominator, compromise. Bas-clarinet emerges in the center of the stage reaching the sacred sphere itself and with the thrill of winner to lead ensemble.

Natalia Surnina,Festival Press Service

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