super [P|PE(s)] -
A musician once told me that performing my work, he felt like playing a dexterity game on a console: ever newer but irregularly repetitive gestures, grips, fast changes of pressure and dynamics, a new metre in each bar... is reminded me of the original Super Mario Bros. game, whose jagged rhythms and simplified melody inspired an entire family of compositions, my moment of respite and fun between larger works. In Super Mario Bros., the main character, a plumber, uses pipes to move. In super [P|PE(s)], I decided to introduce "pipes" into the ensemble as boomwhackers. They are distant echoes of classical wind instruments, and their tuning facilitates their integration; at the same time, I require flutes to play without corks and clarinets without mouthpieces. Apart from baroque reinterpretations, I am lately interested by a phenomenon I call "phantom harmony", after the medical term for feelings in an amputated limb such as pain, shudder, or even trying to touch objects with it. Blowing into woodwind or boomwhackers, playing harmonics on the piano or string instrument creates a sensation of definite pitch and related harmonies, but it is never a simple allusion or even deconstruction of the tonal system, rather a distant echo. I see [P|PE(s)] as a family of related ludic compositions, with the string quartet [P|PE(s)], written for the wonderful Lutosławski Quartet, as the ancestor, succeeded by a miniconcerto or pocket concerto for violin and small ensemble, titled super [P|PE(s)] DEMO, commissioned by Radio France, and super [P|PE(s)], directly derived from the former. A series of light rhythmic preludes makes up the subsequent levels of the same game, with some recurring (though never literally!) dexterity figures, leading to the main section that comments on and contextualises them. Is it a master level available after exploring the whole world or entering a special code I leave these questions to the listener.
super [P|PE(s)] was written on a commission from the New Music Orchestra (OMN) and is dedicated to my dear friend Ashot.