«La houle à l’assaut des récifs»

The swell attacking reeves

for cello solo

Dedicated to Aurélienne Brauner

Composition in 2010

Duration: around 6 mn 15

First performance: December 18, 2012 at 12 H 30, in Paris, Salle Cortot, by Aurelian Brauner (concert of the Ecole Normale de Musique to celebrate Franco-Japanese relations, in partnership with the National University of Arts Nagoya)

Publisher: Henry Lemoine


I was incited to compose this work thanks to my stimulating meeting with the cellist Aurélienne Brauner.
As a departure point I chose an evocation of the sea, found inside the famous Arthur Rimbaud’s poem “Le bateau ivre”: “the swell attacking reeves”.
However it is not imitative music. I retained the idea of unrest, with discontinuous movements which always converge to the same centers of attraction. The changing light creates subtle shimmers in a rather dramatic atmosphere.

Musically a simple four note cell serves as a basis for the whole construction, with a will for saving means. This cell shows intervals of minor sixth and perfect fourth which are widely exploited. All over the piece, the harmonic treatment is carefully controlled, as well as the melodic lines which ensue, and the large range of tone colors offered by the cello.