CLAUDE LEDOUX (b.1960): Japanese e-mail 1-3, Courbes d’étoiles I-III and VI, Shô…(z) - from L’album à la jeunesse.
Catalogue Number: 12X049
Description: Last time we offered a Ledoux CD (01M086) we noted that his travels in the East had influenced the æsthetics of his works more than their musical language, and this is true of the powerful, immersive piano works here. Momitori is the composer’s wife, allowing him to write music of sometimes extravagant virtuosity with no apparent reservations. Shô...(z) intersperses massive gong strokes with ritualistic figuration in consonant or mildly dissonant intervals. The "emails" are tributes to Japanese colleagues of the composer, the title suggesting instant communication and contact, but the scope of the works speaking to the depth and complexity of the relationships. The first, to Dai Fujikura, is a whirlwind of energy in coruscating roulades of chords with a tonal basis, while evoking Messiaen’s coloristic harmonies. The second, dedicated to a young musician from Tokyo, initially suggests Debussy, and incorporates a few passing pentatonic phrases, one of the few suggestions of actual Japanese music in any of these pieces. The central section presents a burst of jazzy energy, before a return to impressionistic delicacy. The third piece is based on a three-note musical monogram derived from the name of the dedicatee, Toshio Hosokawa. Delicate bells and an impressionistic shimmer pervade the music. Corbes d'étoiles is an ongoing series in which imagery of stars is used as a metaphor for various forms of human interaction. The first, an in memoriam piece, is the most explicitly astronomical, suggesting a narrative of whirling through space, vast distances calmly traversed at incredible speed. A sudden cataclysm, a musical supernova, erupts, and then we pass on our way, traveling tinto the limitless void, in geometrical figures that unfold like a fractal pattern. The clash between two harmonic series in Étoiles doubles produces saturated chromatic chords that again recall Messiaen, as do the irregular rhythmic patterns. The third piece, L’étoile sombre de Kobe, with its veils of gently oscillating figuration is at once a memorial to the composer’s mother, and a tribute to his wife, joining him in mourning. No. VI is dedicated to Momitani, and was written in the aftermath of the Fukushima tragedy, but its resonant ritual bells and slow traverse from darkness to the luminosity of the firmament are its only, occult, references to any kind of Japanese program. Nan Momitani (piano).