Ensemble 2e2m

  • Performance
Pascale CritonTerritoires imperceptibles for flute, cello & guitar
Francesco FilideiEsercizio di Pazzia II
Rebecca Saunders Vermilion for clarinet, cello & electric guitar
Raphaèle Biston New work for flute, clarinet, cello*World Première

We are pleased to welcome Ensemble 2e2m for the first time to soundfestival, a renowned new music ensemble from France.

This concert is part of an ongoing partnership with French festival Musiques Démesurées.

This concert will be broadcast by BBC Radio 3 at a later date.

There will be a soundconversation with composer Raphaële Biston after the performance.

Territoires Imperceptibles (1997)

In Territoires imperceptibles, I sought to approach sensations of transformation and mobility, variations of matter and energy on the threshold of the imperceptible.

The three solo instruments remain in a low register and cross on an area of reciprocal influence in which harmony, dynamics and timbres become indiscernible and tend towards pure speeds and matter.This indiscernibleness is provoked by the highly particular sensibility of the guitar tuned in sixteenth-tones. This tuning, which is heard for the first time in the guitar, renews the instrumental relationships: modification of resonating time, the imperceptible transition between sound effects and pitched sounds, and the masking of timbres.

The micro-tempered universe enables me to carry perception beyond its customs, to penetrate minuscule variations of time and motion and to express feelings of mutation.

Esercizio di Pazzia II

In many works by Francesco Filidei, the use of noise, whether instrumental or from objects (calls, aerosols, pipes, balloons, coins, table service, etc.), shapes the structure and form. In the quartet Esercizio di Pazzia II, this principle is pushed to its climax, the score being itself instrument.

Vermilion (2003)

Vermilion, orange-red, is an ancient pigment, the color of fire — hence what must be the most celebrated use of the word in the English language, at the end of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poem “The Windhover,” where “blue-bleak embers” fall to “gash gold-vermilion.” This music is hot. It is also raw, with the raw-ness of unusual sounds produced under pressure, and the rawness, too, of things new, sounds that have not been cooked into our experience by previous music. Yet the piece seems to speak of fire at a great distance, or from long ago, the memory of fire. Or perhaps, as the three instruments move gradually from one note-area to another, often close together but microtonally apart, projecting an arc that rises and then folds back, they track the life of a single flame in extreme slow motion.

The work, as much as murmurs, is made of vestiges, even if these are incised with greater force and suddenness, sometimes to vanish into the upper atmosphere of tone, more often to leave behind a lingering echo, the trace of a trace, with the electric guitar as much capable of these as the clarinet and the cello, thanks to the use of an electric bow. As in murmurs, too, but even more so, two notes slightly out of tune with each other will produce beats or combination tones, further troubling these already troubled sound-mixes, out of which a pure tone will often survive, only to disappear into the always waiting silence.

“What we call silence,” the composer has said, “is for me comparable to a dense knot of noise, frequencies, and sounds. From this surface of apparent silence I try to draw out and mould sound and colour. I have explored the phenomenon of silence often, but never so precisely as in vermilion. How does silence sound, what are its inner qualities, what are its weight and body, how does it relate to past and future sounds, how does it frame musical gestures, what function does it have between stasis and passion? These questions were foremost in my mind.”