Baptiste Trotignon, In Petroleum Veritas
At first glance, the word may not elicit much enthusiasm, considering, of course, the damage it causes to our planet Earth, but I found it interesting to reflect upon the energy it implies, the deployment and violence it provokes in humans, which can be paralleled with musical violence, which is a source of creativity and invention, and also musical exhilaration: from Beethoven to Bartok in European music or from Parker to Coltrane in jazz (or even simply rock ‘n’ roll), the uncompromising expression of an intense emotion – which only manifests itself through a shout – has always shaken men and in the end, fortunately, fuelled a lot of artistic movements.
Meanwhile, writing for two pianos has allowed me to have within my reach a very wide range of tones where, in fact, outbursts and motoric violence are easier to manoeuvre than with a single piano because the load is split between two pianists and the possibilities become very orchestral and exciting for a composer.
I have sometimes in this piece also wanted to draw my inspiration from the piano playing styles of contemporary pianist Philip Glass, not only for my personal practice because I have always found the repetition of certain motifs and their obsessive story meaningful, but also because Glass’s music itself is often a subject of controversy between an audience who adores him for his modern and simple style and critics who accuse him of taking the easy option. Ambivalent feelings...
Finally, the title In Petroleum Veritas is obviously a reference to the world of wine and oenology in which the sublime – which can stir us with emotion – may be found alongside the worst! So I humbly tried to create a dialogue, as the piece unfolds, between moments of subdued emotion and more brutal and earthy intents, but always with a certain sense of euphoria, especially at the end.”
Baptiste TROTIGNON, April 2017
World premiere, France
In Petroleum Veritas
For two pianos
11 March 2018, Guidel
Commission by Nathalie Darche & Carine Llobet
Piano, Nathalie Darche & Carine Llobet