PIERRE BARTHOLOMÉE (b.1937): Oraisons for Cello (Ophélie Gaillard), 2 études for Harp (Francette Bartholomée), Face à face for Viola (Dominica Eyckmans), Livre d'orgue (Jean-Philippe Merckaert [Wstenfelder organ of Maredsous).
Catalogue Number: 08N108
Description: The impressive Livre d'orgue is a set of six contrasting pieces of unequal length, making ample use of the organ's sonorous capabilities. Writing modern organ music without invoking Messiaen is a task almost not worth attempting, and the fast, rhythmically incisive toccata-like movements certainly suggest the influence of the French master; the spare, glacial textures of the third piece, Lune, for instance, less so. Harmonically and contrapuntally, too, there is a certain similarity, though Bartholomée occasionally employs a level of clustered dissonance closer to Ligeti, in the first or the jagged disjointed fourth pieces, for example. The two pieces for stringed instruments, Face à Face' in memory of Henri Pousseur, are both essentially monodic monologues, vehemently active, suggesting words tumbling over one anther in the urgency of expression, gradually lowing down and achieving a kind of resignation. The two studies for harp were originally competition pieces, and are musically as readily accessible as they are technically intricate, more consistently tonal than much of the composer's music.