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Périodes - Gérard Grisey

In Périodes, there are three types of moments (dynamic/growing tension; dynamic/progressive release; static/periodic) analogous to human breathing: inhale, exhale, rest. Periodicity is lived here as actual gravitation—a pole where the absence of new energy forces us literally to go in circles before an anomaly is found: the germ of a new evolution, the opportunity for a new take-off. These periodicities, however, are not similar to those that a synthesizer might supply. I call them “blurred,” just as our heart, our walk—never rigorously periodic but rather with that margin of fluctuation that makes them interesting.

Périodes is an intimate score in which the string quartet plays an essential, delicate role. Note especially the following:

1) the first “inspiration” during which the instruments wrap the

D note in the alto in a spectrum of partials, then distance themselves gradually toward sound complexes more and more removed from the initial spectrum;

2)  the second “inspiration,” which is essentially rhythmic (move from the periodic to the aperiodic), derived from heartbeat;

3)  the passage based on a particular string technique, allowing the instruments to move progressively from a very varied complex of partials to an extremely simple coloration of the fundamental tone.

As to temporal structures, they are entirely deduced from the spectrum of odd-numbered partials used in this work.

Gérard Grisey