From end pin to peg

Fredrik Gran – altered grey

Altered grey, for cello and tape, evolved from the development of an anterior work called grey matters, from which it retains the same playing techniques as well as many electroacoustics elements. The result of a close collaboration between performer and composer, altered grey opens to whoever plays it a vast space of freedom, mirroring Émilie Girard-Charest’s approaches as an improviser and composer. Only the regions of the instrument to be explored in the course of the work are determined, pin, peg, fingerboard, with or without the bow, while the playing on the strings intervenes only at the very end of the process, and without any specific pitch.

This concrete approach to the instruments, also found in the music of Helmut Lachenmann which was heard in that same recital, aims to liberate the instruments from bearings accumulated through centuries of repertory. One seeks to rediscover, through playing techniques that leave ample room to intuition, the initial wonderment, the primitive fascination for the created sound, where, to cite the visionary Hector Berlioz, every sounding body musically moulded by the composer is a musical instrument.

If this attitude, which one can term concrete, originates from the desire to hear sounds for themselves, distanced from their obvious structural significance, the path that Fredrik Gran has taken stems from a will to synthesize, in which fixed sounds find their correspondence in the cello playing: the human voice and the cello sounds transformed to the point of becoming heavy motives with deep frequencies, the mute percussion and the residual sounds of a vinyl disc stuck in its groove, as well as waves of white sound which constitute the electroacoustic framework of altered grey are here quoted by the instrument, itself fused to the tape due to the close-recording by two microphones. The delicate formal and sonorous equilibrium that mixed music requires is here masterfully realized, the electroacoustic score unfurled by large sequences differentiated by their rhythmic articulation: those articulations frame the cello’s improvisations by signposting it with clear supports without however disturbing the hierarchy of the perceived sonorous planes.

The recourse to improvisation as well as the organisation of the tape in broad temporal sections confers upon altered grey a suppleness sometimes escaping processes used in live electronics, since the latter’s relative heaviness, now audible, impedes the performer’s freedom. Beyond any means, any formula, the liberated ear will find the path to surprising sonorous combinations.

Program notes – altered grey

altered grey is the result of a sustained collaboration between cellsit Émilie Girard-Charest and composer Fredrik Gran.

The work’s electroacoustic score is elaborated following different operations based on sampling frequencies, unfolding speeds as well as transformations made to soundfiles themselves. Among the sonorous origins one finds a turntable, a tape recorder, the sound of an electric fence as well as cello recordings.

One hears in the spoken introduction various excerpts from a text by Howard Philip Lovecraft translated in Swedish:

…grey…
…decay…
…fragile…
…small pieces…
…crack and fall off…

…all the while…
…body…
…could not bring…
…touch upon…
…but he looked at what had once been…
…a face…
…his friends…
…face…
…what was it…

Fredrik Gran – Biography

Swedish composer born in 1977, Fredrik Gran obtained his diploma in composition from the Royal College of Music in Stockholm as well as the University of Göteborg. Active both as an instrumental and as an electroacoustics music composer, he took part in numerous internships in Scandinavia and in Canada, and has received numerous scholarships awarded from various musical organisations of his country.
Fredrik Gran – altered grey

Altered grey, for cello and tape, evolved from the development of an anterior work called grey matters, from which it retains the same playing techniques as well as many electroacoustics elements. The result of a close collaboration between performer and composer, altered grey opens to whoever plays it a vast space of freedom, mirroring Émilie Girard-Charest’s approaches as an improviser and composer. Only the regions of the instrument to be explored in the course of the work are determined, pin, peg, fingerboard, with or without the bow, while the playing on the strings intervenes only at the very end of the process, and without any specific pitch.

This concrete approach to the instruments, also found in the music of Helmut Lachenmann which was heard in that same recital, aims to liberate the instruments from bearings accumulated through centuries of repertory. One seeks to rediscover, through playing techniques that leave ample room to intuition, the initial wonderment, the primitive fascination for the created sound, where, to cite the visionary Hector Berlioz, every sounding body musically moulded by the composer is a musical instrument.

If this attitude, which one can term concrete, originates from the desire to hear sounds for themselves, distanced from their obvious structural significance, the path that Fredrik Gran has taken stems from a will to synthesize, in which fixed sounds find their correspondence in the cello playing: the human voice and the cello sounds transformed to the point of becoming heavy motives with deep frequencies, the mute percussion and the residual sounds of a vinyl disc stuck in its groove, as well as waves of white sound which constitute the electroacoustic framework of altered grey are here quoted by the instrument, itself fused to the tape due to the close-recording by two microphones. The delicate formal and sonorous equilibrium that mixed music requires is here masterfully realized, the electroacoustic score unfurled by large sequences differentiated by their rhythmic articulation: those articulations frame the cello’s improvisations by signposting it with clear supports without however disturbing the hierarchy of the perceived sonorous planes.

The recourse to improvisation as well as the organisation of the tape in broad temporal sections confers upon altered grey a suppleness sometimes escaping processes used in live electronics, since the latter’s relative heaviness, now audible, impedes the performer’s freedom. Beyond any means, any formula, the liberated ear will find the path to surprising sonorous combinations.

Program notes – altered grey

altered grey is the result of a sustained collaboration between cellsit Émilie Girard-Charest and composer Fredrik Gran.

The work’s electroacoustic score is elaborated following different operations based on sampling frequencies, unfolding speeds as well as transformations made to soundfiles themselves. Among the sonorous origins one finds a turntable, a tape recorder, the sound of an electric fence as well as cello recordings.

One hears in the spoken introduction various excerpts from a text by Howard Philip Lovecraft translated in Swedish:

…grey…
…decay…
…fragile…
…small pieces…
…crack and fall off…

…all the while…
…body…
…could not bring…
…touch upon…
…but he looked at what had once been…
…a face…
…his friends…
…face…
…what was it…

Fredrik Gran – Biography

Swedish composer born in 1977, Fredrik Gran obtained his diploma in composition from the Royal College of Music in Stockholm as well as the University of Göteborg. Active both as an instrumental and as an electroacoustics music composer, he took part in numerous internships in Scandinavia and in Canada, and has received numerous scholarships awarded from various musical organisations of his country.

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