FRANCK BEDROSSIAN (b.1971): Twist for Orchestra and Electronics (SWR Symphony Orchestra; Alejo Pérez), Edges for Piano and Percussion (Duo Links), Epigram for Soprano and 11 Instruments (Donatienne Michel-Dansac [soprano] Klangforum Wien; Emilio Pomàrico).
Catalogue Number: 02V071
Description: Bedrossian is a practitioner of 'Musique saturée' - saturated music - which in practical terms translates to complex, plastic textural forms in which almost literally anything goes - the most extreme extended techniques, noise textures, electronics, massed sonorities in which the individual components are layered on top of one another, all simultaneously perceptible but not intended to be examined in isolation. There are certainly borrowings from spectralism - Bedrossian studied with Gérard Grisey, Tristan Murail and Philippe Manoury, but also from free jazz (Twist incorporates saxophones, electric guitar, and electric piano), and his studies with Helmut Lachenmann informs his dense, hyperactive orchestral textures; serialism, spectralism, minimalism, musique concrète, improvisation, and new complexity all play their parts. The composer relates ‘saturation' to excess - a good thing! - and the tumultuous, shattering opening of Twist is as excessive as anything the avant-garde has produced. Epigram is based on poems of Emily Dickinson, but Bedrossian's approach is very different from the emphasis on mystery and ambiguity in many musical responses to Dickinson, by - logically enough - pointing to the shocking, death-obsessed, downright weird imagery, at least in his chosen texts. The music is harsh, often aggressive, with the sung poems comprehensible but fractured and distorted. The sonic palette of Edges blurs the distinction between percussion and piano, which is almost always subject to extended, often very extended, playing techniques, to the point where the music sounds electronically processed, though apparently it is not.