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Very enterprising

Music by
Guillaume Connesson,
reviewed by

BMG France    82876 662722

Guillaume Connesson: Techno Parade. © 2005 BMG France

If you have not yet come into contact with the music of 35-year old Guillaume Connesson, here is an exciting opportunity to do so. The music is colourful, quirky, exhilarating, very French, and unlike anything much else going on now, although it is easy enough (any fool can do it!) to list the music of which it may perhaps be reminiscent -- Stravinsky, Couperin, John Adams, Messiaen, Ravel. But why go on? This is music to be appreciated for what it so cleverly is rather than what its critics may liken it to -- that evasive technique of displaying what one knows without betraying a dearth or complete absence of opinion.

A screenshot from the DVD performance of 'Techno-Parade'. © 2005 BMG France
A screenshot from the DVD performance of 'Techno-Parade'. © 2005 BMG France

With Eric Le Sage leading an evidently accomplished and highly polished ensemble of instrumentalists, the CD contains eight titles. The first, Techno-Parade, is for flute, clarinet and piano, a breathless series of patterns that adds up to an invigorating sense of happiness [listen -- track 1, 0:00-1:00]; three Initials Dances for piano reflecting respectively Rameau, a Minuet that goes wild and a Funk rhythmic piece; Double Quartet -- a brooding contrapuntal tapestry for flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, and string quartet; two pieces for flute and piano and a Disco-toccata for clarinet and cello.

A screenshot from the DVD performance of 'Sextuor'. © 2005 BMG France
A screenshot from the DVD performance of 'Sextuor'. © 2005 BMG France

There is a suite of 'seven prehistoric miniatures' called Jurassic Trip which includes a mischievous homage to Boulez called Petit carnivore [listen -- track 6, 0:00-1:01] and a highly appealing Sextet for flute, oboe, clarinet, viola, bass and piano, the finale of which (called Festif) typifies the sheer joy of the Connesson musical experience [watch and listen -- track 11, 1:20-2:40].

A screenshot from the DVD interview with Guillaume Connesson. © 2005 BMG France
A screenshot from the DVD interview with Guillaume Connesson. © 2005 BMG France

The accompanying DVD features extracts from Techno Parade, all three Initial Dances, the Sextet and an interview with the composer. A very enterprising production, beautifully recorded, which deserves to win a great many friends.

Copyright © 4 February 2006 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


Guillaume Connesson: Techno Parade

82876 662722 CD+DVD5 Pal All Regions 16/9 Compatible 4/3 Stereo NEW RELEASE 63' (CD) + 40' (DVD) 2005 BMG France

Eric Le Sage, piano; Mathieu Dufour, flute (except the Double Quartet); Paul Meyer, clarinet; Frank Braley, piano (Jurassic Trip); Xavier Phillips, cello (Toccata Nocturne and Disco-Toccata); François Meyer, oboe; Quatuor Parisii (Jurassic Trip, Sextet and Double Quartet - Dominique Lobet, viola; Jean-Michel Berrette, violin; Arnaud Vallin, violin; Jean Philippe Martignoni, cello); Philippe Berrod, bass clarinet (Double Quartet); François Miquel, bass clarinet (Jurassic Trip); Virginie Reibel, flute (Double Quartet); Dominique Desjardins, double bass; Emmanuel Curt, percussion; Fabrice Coccitto, sampling piano

Guillaume Connesson (born 1970): Techno-Parade for flute, clarinet and piano (2002); Initials Dances for piano (2001) (R Dance; S Dance; F K Dance); Double Quartet for clarinet, bass clarinet, oboe, flute, two violins, viola and cello (1994); Le rire de Saraï for flute and piano (2001) (La plainte d'Agar; Bénédiction de l'Alliance); Disco-toccata for clarinet and cello; Sextet for clarinet, oboe, flute, viola, double bass and piano (1997) (Dynamique; Nocturne; Festif); Toccata-Nocturne for flute and cello (2002); Jurassic Trip - seven prehistoric miniatures for ensemble (2000) (Paysage marécageux; Chasse marine du Plésiosaure; Attaque des Raptors; Petit carnivore (Hommage à Pierre Boulez); Vol en rase-mottes des Ptérodactyles; Déjeuner du Brontosaure; Combat des tyrannosaures). DVD contents: Techno-Parade; Initials Dances; Sextet; Intervew with Guillaume Connesson




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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular series of shorter CD reviews