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Rodolphe Alma

►La Fourmi

For bassoon, xylophone, vibraphone, harpsichord and children’s voices


For clarinet, cello, piano and soprano voice

►Laanscht Fënsteren
Pascal Lorenzini

For flute, bass clarinet, violin, viola, piano and percussion

The short story “Like the Phoenix” particularly highlights the love/hate duality as a structuring element of the human being. Humanity carries within itself its capacity for self-destruction (exacerbation of hatred) while having the power to rebuild itself and move forward (magic of love). I designed my piece as a musical journey around this ambivalence.
This journey begins with the representation of dawn after chaos. The soundscape opens with a long pedal from which emerges a melodic line with irregular and flexible rhythms on the piano. A stripped-down melody on the flute is superimposed, joined by the clarinet.
The particular timbre of this then evokes a complaint, dotted with quarter tones, the atmosphere of which is made oppressive by an ostinato of the strings in the high register: painful awakening of humanity, which has difficulty getting up, from the angel overwhelmed by this spectacle of desolation?
The tempo gradually becomes faster, the return to life becoming progressively more dynamic. A thematic element, rooted in the ostinato of the complaint, is developed there. It first appears vague and mysterious (thanks among other things to the use of harmonizers) then returns in retrograde in the form of Klangfarben Melodie. We are moving towards a climax depicting a cataclysm (polyrhythm vibraphone/piano against a stressful background of semitones on the strings in the treble, split sound and teeth on the reed on the clarinet, flute flatterzunge in the extreme treble, clusters in the extreme bass of the piano, etc.)
The cycle begins again with a new dawn, still in the troubled and ambivalent atmosphere of the beginning, then the elements of life and its struggles reappear in varied form. But, instead of leading to the previous climax, we arrive at a sentence remaining suspended, like a question.
This question, taken from the text of the Short Story (“if you are hatred, I am love?”) finds its answer in the last part of the piece: the musical elements of the initial dawn are taken up there but transfigured, in such a way as to attract us little by little towards the light and, like a symbol of reconciliation, they are repeatedly juxtaposed and superimposed. Thus, no doubt remains as to the positive message on which the piece ends, a message of love.


For alto saxophone and percussion

The idea for this piece came to me following the giant forest fires which devastated Australia a few months ago. I wanted to highlight how Man’s inconsistency could lead to such a situation: hence the title ”Sweet Burning Home”, the ”sweet house” in which our comfortable life takes place burning before our eyes having looked elsewhere for too long.
The piece is in three parts which follow one another without interruption. The first constitutes a prelude, based on an Aboriginal legend. The saxophone and percussion make their entrance on didgeridoo sounds reworked with Logic software. Sounds mimicking Australian fauna are heard while the video revolves around cave paintings, witnesses to the presence of the first inhabitants of this island continent.
The second, more lively, is announced by multiphonics from the saxophone supported by percussion and by crackling and distorted sounds on the tape. We thus enter head-on into the fires and the tension they generate. The saxophone strings together staccato lines to which a vibraphone responds. Some quotes from Jean Giono’s novel ”Colline”, where fire is compared to a beast, echo the music.
The third part is slow. It develops according to a process of augmentation of the thematic elements of the first. The saxophone unfolds a melody descending little by little towards the bass. The tape gives voice to the sounds of gongs reprocessed with Logic which, in synergy with the acoustic instruments, depict both the desolation following the fires and the bitterness due to the observation resulting from the guilt coupled with the impotence of the Man faced with the situation.


For soprano voice and oboe/English horn
This work was produced as part of an exhibition dedicated to the visual artist Eva Aeppli (1925–2015), organized in 2022 by the Center Pompidou, Metz (France). She therefore
was designed to be played in the exhibition hall in the presence of visitors and should not include more than two musicians for reasons of available space. However, I
wanted it to echo the artist’s works not only within the strict framework of the exhibition, but to remain consistent with their spirit in a broader sense. And therefore, do
meaning as such.
Eva Aeppli grew up in Basel, Switzerland. The period of the Second World War had a lasting impact on the young artist who followed with anguish the progress of the Nazis across Europe. This traumatic experience is at the origin of her unwavering activism, embodied in 1968 by the installation she created in tribute to Amnesty International, then by the creation of her own foundation, to fight oppression, poverty and ignoring. The human being and the universality of the human condition are the constant common denominator of his creations. If his first self-portraits reveal the artist’s personal feelings, the emotions inspired by the outside world are subsequently expressed in large oil compositions. Described by the artist as true “extensions of his paintings”, the first fabric figurines made in the 1960s followed the canvases.
Each one, with its striking silent cries, its simple but very expressive features, its scars formed by seams, floods the viewer with ambivalent feelings. These human-sized fabric sculptures were then brought together in large installations, such as The Seven Judges, seven seated sculptures in a row, representing those who judged the
crimes against humanity. In one of his major works, where thirteen figures are seated around a table, reminiscent of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, the figure of Christ is
replaced by that of Death “to represent the crimes that were committed in the 20th century”, as she wrote in a letter sent to a student in 1999.
The title of my work comes both from the ambivalent feelings that my first visit to the exhibition left me with, a strange encounter indeed, and from the poem Strange Meeting by Wilfred Owen, taken up by Benjamin Britten in his War Requiem. The text sung in my work is in fact partly composed of my own French translation of Owen’s poem. We find him at the heart of the very tormented first part. This imaginary meeting, beyond the grave, between a British soldier and a German soldier, the latter having killed the first in combat, seemed to me to correspond perfectly to the spirit of Eva Aeppli’s works.
But Eva Aeppli was also known for being cheerful in her circle of friends. Thus, the text of the second part of the work is that of the Song of Hope, written in March 1944, in the camp
of Mauthausen, by the poet Jean Cayrol, awakened to his art in the surrealist movement. The song does not directly evoke camp, and even it hides the reality from us.
The essence of the text designates a hospitable, idyllic elsewhere, as if the poet were engaged in a “gathering of dreams”. Here again, this ambivalence resonates with the work of Eva Aeppli.
Whether in the first half of my work, a long recitative, or in the second, which adopts a verse/chorus strophic form, in connection with Cayrol’s poem, the timbre of the
oboe, then the English horn, and that of the soprano voice respond in counterpoint or combine in heterophony.
With my deep thanks to the creators and dedicates of the work: Mary–Lee Jacquier (soprano) and Serge Haerrig (oboe/English horn)

Eric Rebmeister

For violin


For piano


For traverso, flute and percussion (vemes)