• 1. LA BELLE SULTANE (04:23)
  • 2. OEILLET PARFAIT (04:50)
  • 3. SOMBREUIL (08:54)
  • 4. CATO'S PINK CLUSTER (04:50)
  • 5. BOULE DE NEIGE (02:33)
  • 6. ROSA MOYESII (07:22)
  • 7. ZÉPHIRINE (03:54)
  • 8. MINNEHAHA (04:49)
  • 9. THALIA REMONTANT (10:30)
  • 10. NOVA ZAMBLA (07:06)
  • 11. DOUBLE DELIGHT (07:49)
  • 12. THOR (05:59)

Bouquet

Piano – Frédéric Blondy
Viola, Voice – Charlotte Hug

Both Charlotte Hug (viola and voice) & Frédéric Blondy (piano) use extended techniques on their respective instruments making their duo sound like no other. The feeling varies from agitated and fast to calm and still, and the sound world from acoustic to electronically mysterious even though no electronic manipulation is used. 73 minutes.

Excerpts from sleeve notes:
Swiss violist Charlotte Hug and French pianist Frédéric Blondy, being acutely aware of the history and repertoire – both composed and improvised – of their respective instruments, well understand that once one goes beyond the traditional boundaries of 'normal' technique, the question of compatibility is of little or no importance. There are moments on BOUQUET where I really don’t know who’s doing what, and it hardly matters. From a purely technical standpoint, the instrumental innovations are numerous – from the steely drones Blondy summons forth from his piano by bowing its strings and the eerie glissandi he produces with rosined chopsticks to Hug’s 'soft bow' technique, which allows her to play all four strings of her viola simultaneously – but what impresses most about these twelve pieces is their sheer musicality: how the sounds are produced, intriguing though that may be, is of far less importance than what they do and how they’re combined to produce music of formal rigour and extraordinary emotional power.

Half a dozen clicks on a mouse will summon up all the biographical information you’re ever likely to need on our protagonists, not to mention several splendid videos of them in action, but it’s worth pointing out that as performers and teachers they both have wide experience of contemporary classical music (an odd appellation contrôlée, that, as the music in question neither corresponds to the definition of 'classical' as proposed by Charles Rosen in The Classical Style, nor is hardly 'contemporary' anymore, since a lot of the stuff I see in contemporary classical bins was written over half a century ago). I haven’t had the pleasure of perusing Charlotte’s record collection, but I can tell you that there’s as much Lachenmann and Ligeti in Fred’s as there is free jazz, and I suspect BOUQUET is more likely to appeal to connoisseurs of Grisey, Xenakis, Cage and Feldman than to listeners weaned on Coltrane, Sanders and Ayler.

So the line 'all music composed and performed by' (my italics) is significant in my mind, especially since in recent years I’ve had to revise my own preconceptions about what does or does not constitute composition. I used to think there had to be something on paper, but I’m not so sure any more. Even assuming you could transcribe this music accurately and end up with a more or less traditionally notated score, any detailed analysis you then went on to make using standard new music set-theory tools would only end up telling you what you can already hear: that this is top-notch music made by two outstanding performers with exceptional ears for pitch, rhythm, timbre and structure at the micro and macro level.
DAN WARBURTON (2011)

Album label: 
Release date: 
01.01 / 2012
Recording date: 
23.03 / 2008
Recording location: 
Paris
Credits:
Artwork design : Charlotte Hug
Executive producer : Martin Davidson
Mastering engineer : Martin Davidson
Recording engineer : Augustin Muller

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