katie young (bassoon)
lou mallozzi (TURNTABLES, electronics)
benoit delbecq (prepared piano)
claudia solal (voice)
Improvised songs for an imaginary quartet, from the collection of poems by James Joyce, Chamber Music (1907, 1st edition).
At first, my intent was to associate timbres. The logical extension to that, was to think about the musicians who would seize an imaginary and improvised score, suggested, finally, by a connecting thread, which came to my mind a little later in the conception of the project: the collection of poems by James Joyce’ « Chamber Music », ideal for a chamber music kind of group.
What instruments, which musicians?
Initially, I had a strong desire for cello and clarinet. I thought of Tomeka Reid, who I rushed to listen to on CD, but had not met yet (since then, we organized a jam session in Paris). Then the clarinet gradually turned into a bassoon, and the name of Katie Young emerged. Besides, I had for a pretty long time (since the beginning of Kartet, more than 20 years ago!) felt like offering Benoît Delbecq an opportunity of playing.
The three of them have a strong artistic personality and are beautiful musicians; they are versatile in the best sense of the word, on the lookout, and their music, moving, protean living material! For our next tour, in France, in february 2019, Lou Mallozi (turntables, electronics) will replace Tomeka.
This project is the possible meeting between singular worlds, with very different poetic and musical expressions (electroacoustic music, contemporary improvisation, pop, jazz and more), based on what I can glimpse of our ability to have them interpenetrate, each instrument becoming a textural or narrative chant…
We will take advantage of the variety of timbres : smaller forms will arise and develop within the structure of the quartet (different solos, duets, trios), playing on density, space, time…
What words ?
An excerpt from the release note of the book « Chamber Music », published in 2012 by the Editions La Nerthe in the initial layout desired by James Joyce, summarizes its movements (his brother Stanislaus Joyce had the poems published for the first time in 1907, according to a different arrangement): "Here is the perfect little novel: from the birth of love, and its spiritual significance to its carnal fulfilment which will lead, while the passion declines, to a possible new friendship between the lovers, to a nostalgic and tender brotherhood."
Most of these poems have already been set to music (especially by Luciano Berio), but I am not sure a composer has ever worked on the whole collection, let alone from an improvisation process.
My wish is to let us choose the order of the poems, knowing that we will not necessarily use them as they are : some might be sung (by me, but not only), some others spoken (taking maybe only fragments), or suggested by the instrumental discourse, leaving us full freedom of form and content, in real time ... a kind of an Ariadne's thread, a pre-existing frame to our improvised story.