[thewire] Spectral Composition [was "Luc Ferrari (and Gerard Grisey)"]
- On the "spectral" front, what are the crucial releases/composers. The only
real focus on the style/substance of spectral composition I can recall from
past issues of the wire was the feature on Jonathan Harvey (if I'm not
mistaken) ... long been meaning to pick up some of his work. Others?
>From: "Steeples Paul (Mr PW)" <paul.steeples@...>_________________________________________________________________
>To: "'firstname.lastname@example.org'" <email@example.com>
>Subject: RE: [thewire] Re: Luc Ferrari (and Gerard Grisey)
>Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2001 11:02:44 +0100
>Thanks for the recommendations so far. Just for the record, the Grisey
>I've heard is "Partiels", which was played at a late-night Prom last year
>and appeared to be one of his spectral compositions, in that it dealt with
>slowly shifting tissues of sound. The two Ferrari pieces were "Presque Rien
>No.4 - La Remontee du Village" (a tape piece of ambient sounds) and "Les
>Emois d'Aphrodite" (a piece for ensemble with a supposedly erotic text,
>which I couldn't really hear) at the wonderful Other Minds festival in San
>Francisco back in 1999. I'll certainly follow up all your suggestions (or
>all the ones I can actually get hold of).
>From: Guillaume Grenier [mailto:gollum@...]
>Sent: 30 September 2001 03:01
>Subject: Re: [thewire] Re: Luc Ferrari (and Gerard Grisey)
>On 29/09/01 21:47, Ryan Whitehead said in living color:
> > Nobody's jumped on the Gerard Grisey side of the equation? What's he all
> > about? Any takers?
>Well, as far as basic info goes, he's one of the founder of the spectral
>movement. Was part of the "L'Itin�raire" group which include[d?] Tristan
>Murail (and some others I'm forgetting) among other members.
>As for recommendations, I won't be of much help as I have no CD with works
>by him... I do know some titles ("Les espaces acoustiques" seems to be an
>important one), but never actually heard them. Several of the releases are
>on Accord, a label that is hard to get by on the American continent.
>Guillaume Grenier - gollum@...
>in space there is no north in space there is no south
>in space there is no east in space there is no west
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- On 02/10/01 10:21, Ryan Whitehead said in living color:
> On the "spectral" front, what are the crucial releases/composers. The onlyI was starting to write a reply, but found an interesting message from a
> real focus on the style/substance of spectral composition I can recall from
> past issues of the wire was the feature on Jonathan Harvey (if I'm not
> mistaken) ... long been meaning to pick up some of his work. Others?
> Advance thanks,
discussion list through Google. It does not address some important
points/names, though. Namely Radulescu, who started writing spectral music
slightly before the French group. Also, the younger generation of Romanian
spectralists, including composers like Dumitrescu and Avram. Another big
omission for me is Claude Vivier, one of Quebec's greatest composers,
tragically murdered at the age of 34. Do seek out a CD on Philips conducted
by Reinbert de Leeuw. There is also a German school, which emanated from
collaborators of Stockhausen: the Feedback group, apparently led by Johannes
Fritsch. I don't know much about them; the only composer I am somewhat
familiar with from this group is Peter Eötvös.
Now, here is the post (hope the original author doesn't mind):
Spectral music is a term invented in 1979 (see biblio) by the french
composer and theoretician Hugues Dufourt, to caracterize the works and
aesthetics of five young french composer, Gérard Grisey, Tristan Murail,
Michael Levinas, Huges Dufourt and Roger Tessier, who founded the collectif
"l'Itinéraire" in the middle of the 70's. Those composers (particularly
Murail and Grisey), were refusing the dominant on that time "post serial
mouvement" and, after having strongly studied psychoacoustics, and deeply
influenced by Ligeti, Scelsi, and Stockhausen 's Stimmung, made pieces where
the "becoming of the sound" (devenir des souns) is the main preoccupation of
their compositions. The term "spectral music" is quite reducted and wrong,
as Grisey and Dufourt recognised few years later. Because this music has for
preoccupation the sound and the time, the first material offen used in the
first spectral pieces are a spectrum precautionly orchestrated through the
orchestra. But the spectral school is more concerned with the "arrow of the
time" than only using spectrum in their music, and therefore for the concept
of processes. The major difference with the american repetitive school,
using also processes (Reich, Riley, etc...), is that when repetitive offen
use a "tonal material" (in fact classified chords), european spectral music
uses as primar material a spectrum (harmonic or inharmonic), a simple
motivic curve (for example a sinusoide, or a more complex material: for
example in Grisey's Vortex Temporum), or a noise. Those composers have also
deduced from this principle a lot of rules and gramatics to organise the
form and note together, like the "ring modulation" applied to the orchestra,
the "interpolation", the differential sound", etc... Today, those
considerations on sound and time organisation had had an enormous impact in
Europe (except in Germany), and younger composers, like Hurel, Leroux,
Dalbavie in France, Saariaho and Lindberg in Finland, and more younger (I
was myself, like many others, Grisey's Student in composition in Paris
Conservatorium) are influenced by this works and aesthetics. Murail is now
teacher of composition at Columbia University. Grisey died prematurly on
short bibliography : * H. DUFOURT [1979, rééd.1991] : « musique spectrale »,
Musique, pouvoir, écriture, Christian Bourgeois éd., Paris. * Review
Entretemps n°8 consacré à Grisey et Murail, sept. 89, Genève. * J. BAILLET
 : Gérard Grisey, fondement dune écriture, lItinéraire-lharmattan,
Paris. * F. LEVY  : « Le tournant des années 70 : De la perception
induite par la structure aux processus déduits de la perception. »
LHarmattan/LItinéraire, (to be published).
First spectral Works : Gérard Grisey: Les Espaces Acoustiques (cycle of
pieces, from solo until big orchester : prologue 1976, périodes 1974;
partiels 1975, modulations 1976/77, transitoires 1980/81, Epilogue 1985)
Tristan Murail : Gondwana
Other major works : Works by Saariaho (du cristal à la fumée, Amers),
Lindberg (Cinetics), Dalbavie (Seuil, violin Concerto), Hurel (pour Luigi,
Leçons de choses, 7 miniatures en trompe l'oeil), Leroux (AAA, PPP). I
advise also the two last works of Grisey : Vortex temporum and Les quatre
chants pour franchir le seuil, which are (for me) two real master pieces of
the XX century music.
fabien.levy@... ou fabien.levy@...
Pages web personnelles, résumés d'articles et compositions :
Guillaume Grenier - gollum@...
in space there is no north in space there is no south
in space there is no east in space there is no west