«Toute la nature sort de l’or»

(« Toute la nature sort de l’or, elle émerge de son bain d’éternité »)
“The whole nature comes out of gold…” Composition in 2009

Duration : around 7 minutes

Commissioned by the Muromachi Ensemble (Tokyo, Japan)

Instruments required: 15 musicians

shino-bue, shakuhachi, traverso, recorder, baroque oboe, hichiriki, 2 stands of percussion, kotos, harpsichord, positive organ, 2 violins, 2 violas da gamba
First performance: February 24 th, 2010, Casals Hall, Tokyo, Hiroaki Takaha conductor.

Publisher: unpublished (please contact the composer)


This piece was composed by request of Mr. Laurent Teycheney for the Japanese ensemble called Muromachi (half musicians playing traditional Japanese instruments, the other half European Baroque ones).
The prospect of composing a piece related to the « Hundred Sentences for fans » by Paul Claudel attracted me very much, while spontaneously I felt appealed to the idea of combining sounds from these unusual instrumental resources. I was sure that I would discover affinities between those two worlds, and find new textures with delicate and poetical tone mixtures, matching the Claudel’s short poem of my choosing.
Carefully, with Mr. Teycheney’s from-a-distance help, I tried to get a good knowledge of all these instruments. As a matter of fact, with the exception of percussion, I had never had any opportunity to handle these tones yet.
I had to trust my intuition and I set up in this peculiar musical composition.
I decided on a choice of 15 musicians, refering to the structure of a group like the French « Ensemble Intercontemporain », that is: wind instruments of various pitches, percussions, pinched string instruments, keyboards, and rubbed string instruments of various pitches. Among the Japanese instruments, I eliminated those whose tone color could be heard like the very signature of their origin, like shamisen or shô.
In the full list that I was submitted, I noticed a gap to cover the range from low to medium, especially as far as winds are concerned. Therefore I felt it was necessary to have a positive organ and a harpsichord to fill this empty space.
Finally five musicians come from the Japanese traditional music, while ten musicians play Baroque European instruments. The vibraphone, played by one of the percussionists, is the only instrument to be out of these two cultures. All of these tones try to combine with each other in a homogeneous way, and to develop refined musical sounds capable of evoking the meaning of Claudel’s sentence.