ANDRÉ RIOTTE (1928-2011): Météorite et ses Métamorphoses.
Catalogue Number: 11Q068
Label: Grand Piano
Description: This piece is quite a good example of why admittance to the 'composer's workshop' can be less than helpful in appreciating the products that emerge from it. A composer with a parallel career as electronics engineer, Riotte researched the patterns and permutations of music from a data processing standpoint, and developed a serial system that contained all possible permutations of twelve notes and the intervals between them, calculating all the possibilities with a (1962) computer. But then he seems to have selected the ones he liked the sound of, with tonal or modal implications. The idea of a meteorite, with its cosmological implications, its crystalline patterns, and uncertainties of its origins and fate also appealed to the composer. So, all that having been said, what the work sounds like is a huge set of brief variations (31 plus a coda) on a theme consisting of a sequence of rather Messiaen-like chords, the meteorite. The variations contrast hugely in their rhythmic complexity, number of parts (from 2-part inventions to varying degrees of polyphonic density), and subjectively perceived relation to tonal harmony. The work as a whole has a definite shape and sense of progression, with a compelling flow, more organic than mathematical, although the relationship of the variations to the theme is always more or less perceptible despite the huge range of character that the transformations encompass. Thérèse Malengreau (piano).