Three premieres by Philippe Hersant
Photo : Talos Buccellati
The news surrounding Philippe Hersant is traditionally very rich during the season of summer festivals, and 2019 is no exception to the rule.
Firstly, Daniel Barenboim‘s Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin will present on 10 June the composer’s Quatuor à cordes No 6, performed by the very talented Quatuor Modigliani, who originally commissioned the work. As precise in his written language as in his music (the composer was also a presenter at Radio France for many years), Philippe Hersant describes the new quartet as “made up of a dozen sequences that follow one another without interruption. Each of these episodes pivots around one of the twelve notes of the chromatic scale, held in turn by one of the four instruments. Their succession forms a series similar to that of Arnold Schönberg’s String Quartet no.4.”
Four days later, (on 14 June), Nevermind, one of today’s most virtuosic baroque ensembles, will perform La Harpe de David at the Froville festival in Lorraine, a work dedicated to the ensemble. Yet again, it is best to let the creator speak, his voice always filled with humility and a touch of history: “Healing melancholy with music? The idea goes back at least to the Book of Samuel in the Bible. Countless ancient healers used this therapeutic treatment, and it became very important to artists during the Baroque period. According to the Affect theory, Baroque musicians were convinced that the musical melody was capable of altering the state of mind with the same power as hallucinogenic drugs, and appeasing the passions just as easily as it could provoke them. In response to the request by Nevermind to write for their ensemble, I positioned myself therefore in this tradition, not only calling upon instruments of the Baroque period but also borrowing certain motifs from Couperin and Kuhnau.”
Finally, on 22 June, aficionados in Lyon will be able to hear the premiere of In exitu Israel, a work commissioned by the Olivier-Messiaen Organ Competition, the imposed work for the final stage of the competition. The composer of the Vêpres de la Vierge Marie, who honoured with greath dignity the 850th anniversary of the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, will surely gratify the finalists with his unique art in writing for the instrument of instruments.