year:2008, revised 2010
commissioned by:De Bijloke for Jean-Guihen Queyras
dedicated to:Jean-Guihen Queyras & Pieter Matthynssens
Recording: Sub Rosa portrait cd "Fremdkörper"
place:De Bijloke, Gent
ensemble:Jean-Guihen Queyras
remarks:Composed for the "Bach+" project, in which Jean-Guihen Queyras played all of Bachs Suites for Violoncello Solo during a three-day Bach-marathon and confronted these with two compositions written especially for this occasion (Daan Janssens wrote the second one).


Live-performance by Séverine Ballon of the revised version (14th of October 2013, CNSMD Lyon, France)
Live-performance by Séverine Ballon of the revised version (6th of April 2013, Paine Hall, Harvard University)

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Live-performance by Pieter Matthynssens (25th of January 2010, Logos Foundation, Gent, Belgium). Click here to see the second part of the recording.

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Live-performance by Jean-Guihen Queyras of the premiere (23rd February 2008, de Bijloke, Gent, Belgium). Click here to see the second part of the recording.

Program notes

When the Bijloke told me that they had selected me to write a composition for their "Bach +" project, I was reigned by two different sensations: excitement that my composition would be premiered by nobody less than Jean-Guihen Queyras and a mild concern that it would be confronted with Bachs un-earthy suites for cello solo.

I decided to take up the challange, and that I would search for this confrontation, , rather than avoid it, by trying to answer in a contemporary manner, the same musical question that Bach answered so brilliantly in his time: "How to compose polyphonic music for a monodic instrument"?
To do so, I worked out a "fysical polyphony", rather than a melodical or harmonical one. In this "fysical polyphony", different "voices" are characterised by different fysical ways of playing the cello.

Inspired by the granular-synthesis techniques that I'm using quite regularly in my electronical compositions wright now, I had the image of two sonic clouds, each one existing of small sound particles with specific properties and generated by a specific fysical act , that would continuously melt together at one moment, and separate an instant later, of which the densities first increase, in order to decrease immediately after, like two flocks of birds that meet eachother, form one big flock and then separate again. In "Ensuite", one such sonic cloud exists of "hitting" sounds, generated by hitting the string in different ways with the wood of the bow. The other exists of "rubbing" sounds, generated by rubbing the strings in all kind of varieties with the bow. Very soon in the composition, all kind of differentiations, combinations and changes of perspective come into being within these sonic clouds, changing the polyphony and perspective continuously.

Once a more or less stable texture has been achieved, it seems as if the two sonic clouds melted together for good into one swarming mass, stable if you look at its surface, unstable and dynamical if you look at its interior. Then, several temporal equilibriums, in which the basic material is approached differently from a polyphonic point of vue each time, succeed eachother rapidly, after which a final state of temporal equilibrium is reached: silence.

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