The Ensemble intercontemporain at the digital festival

The Ensemble intercontemporain at the digital festival "Après, demain" - Théâtre du Châtelet

In line with the symphonic ensembles of Radio France, who returned in June to the stage of the Auditorium, and with the recent return of the Orchestre de Paris to the Philharmonie, the Ensemble intercontemporain and Matthias Pintscher have also signaled their post-confinement return to a prestigious venue in Paris.


Faithful to the proactive modernity of its artistic director Ruth Mackenzie, the Théâtre du Châtelet, more than ever a "central" stage in the capital, has organised since 2 July its first digital festival "Après, demain" ["After, tomorrow"], a multidisciplinary instant that combines both foresight and creation.


The Ensemble could not wish for a better context for the spectacle imagined by its musical director, no less than twenty world premieres commissioned in recent weeks by composers such as Hèctor Parra, Philippe Manoury and Joan Magrané-Figuera. On Friday 10 July at 8 p.m., watch on your screens what already promises to be the cornerstone of the after-tomorrow of composition, in this decidedly historic year.


Follow the live this Friday, July 10, 2020 at 8 p.m. by clicking here:


Philippe ManouryTrois miniatures for flute, celesta and string quartet

These three small miniatures written for the talented Emmanuelle Ophèle, accompanied by a celesta and a string quartet, resonate like three small music boxes that each reveal a different universe. Though I wanted the character to change from one work to another, I tried to unify them all through the use of small repetitive mechanisms in each of them, thereby evoking the idea of the music boxes. The first piece is of a voluble and capricious spirit. In the central "Lamento", the flute develops a slow chant against a sparse and haunting background. As for the final work, it draws upon materials taken from Saccades, my flute concerto, and especially a short motif that I borrowed (and immediately returned!) from Daphnis and Chloé by Maurice Ravel."


Hèctor Parra - L'Étoile matinale for trumpet, double bass, oboe and piano

Writing L'Étoile matinale was for me an extremely energising and transformative experience during a health crisis that isolated us for several months and hit our families hard, emotionally and physically. So the idea of writing for my friends from the Ensemble intercontemporain was for me like a balloon full of oxygen inside a small room in which breathing had become increasingly difficult.


I am currently working on a grand project conceived in close collaboration with the pianist Carmen Martínez-Pierret using Joan Miró’s 23 constellations. Towards the end of May, I was preparing to start work on the 6th constellation, L'Étoile matinale, one of the most emblematic and expressive works of the series. I first decided to explore this gouache painting created in 1940, during his exile to Varengeville in Normandy just before the Nazi invasion, in this version for four instruments, then in the version for four-hand piano which was later added to the cycle of 23 works.


My style of writing for the trumpet of Clément Saunier and for the double bass of Nicolas Crosse, after a striking and nervous beginning in counterpoint with the songful oboe of Philippe Grauvogel and the dense pianistic harmonies of Hidéki Nagano, quickly took on spasmodic, tragic and monstrous accents, pushing these instruments to their limits, inspired by the two reptilian monsters, aggressive and stinging with which Miró purged his fears and the horrors he witnessed in Catalonia at the start of the Spanish Civil War.


In turn, Miró foreshadows in this painting and several others of the same period even more difficult and tragic moments to come with the upcoming Nazi invasion of Europe. Yet, by focusing on his art and, in a way, by escaping the harsh reality of his existence, Miró managed with his Constellations to tame these monsters through the brilliant vibrations of colour that imprison them, thus sparking a new form of art in the second half of the 20th century.


A great admirer of contemporary music and a close friend of Edgar Varèse, Joan Miró deeply admired the work of Pierre Boulez as well as his creative work with Le Domaine musical, for which he created several wonderful posters. In this way, I feel a very special kind of emotion when I see the brilliant successors of the Ensemble intercontemporain bring to life with such passion and investment a musical style of writing directly inspired by the work of the admired Catalan and universal artist.



Joan Magrané-Figuera -  Intérieur hollandais I for clarinet, viola and harp:

When writing this little trio, Intérieur hollandais I, I had fun playing around with the title of a much larger project than the one I am currently composing for the Ensemble intercontemporain: Intérieur. This title evokes the sense of confinement that we have been forced to experience day after day these recent months but also the series of homonymous paintings by a great artist, Joan Miró, who worked for years near my hometown where I also spent this recent period. Intérieur hollandais I is the full title of my work because these paintings by Miró are a kind of surrealist revision of Dutch paintings from the 17th century...