NICOLAS TZORTZIS (b.1978): L’étoile de mer, …de ce qui est en lutte, What the wave meant, Les mystères du château du Dé.

Catalogue Number: 11V074

Label: Toccata Classics

Reference: TOCC 0493

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: Tzortzis' vocabulary is made up of very modern techniques, make no mistake about that - everything from microtones to various extended instrumental techniques, multimedia and extra-musical elements. What remains from 'conventional' music, though, is a strong sense of structure, a kind of polyphonic thinking (going beyond pitch relationships to the incorporation of Klangfarben and even extending beyond sounding musical events of any kind), and an unusual link to the past that stems from the composer’s interest in early 20th century surrealism. Two of the pieces here are based on short films by Man Ray (you can find them on YouTube, which is an instructive exercise). L'étoile de mer is a kind of shot for shot remake of the film, but transferred into the medium of music. Images and events on screen are given their sonic analogues, with great ingenuity, including the dreamlike out-of-focus, ambiguous camera work. Les mystères ... is filmed with clarity, but its events follow the illogical sequence of dreams, precisely detailed but meaningless. Curiously, the composer describes at length his use of surrealist techniques to randomize the connection between film and music, but just as on screen there are events that in isolation are perfectly comprehensible - for example, a high-speed car ride, or various athletic exercises - sections of the music have a cohesive, almost narrative quality. What the wave meant is a memorial piece to a close friend of the composer, and goes through stages of grief, from stunned shock via confusion, an outpouring of grief, and anger. The title comes from the song ‘Can't Stop’, by the band Red Hot Chili Peppers, which the composer explains he listened to over and over, helping him through his grief. This apparent incongruity may be explained by the song's last line: 'This life is more than just a read through.' which is also the general theme of the song. ... de ce qui est en lutte... is inspired by a passage in Heraclitus, which suggests that the highest form of harmony results from the opposition of ideas. The music follows this idea, vigorously debating and then trying to achieve a kind of agreement, though with tension always present. Daniel Agi (flute), Das Neue Ensemble; Stephan Meyer.


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