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Répons / Dialogue De L'Ombre Double - Ensemble Intercontemporain

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Written in the mid-1980s, Répons represents Pierre Boulez's first major work after his controversial tenure conducting the New York Philharmonic. It's also a demonstration of how live instruments could be used in conjunction with computer-generated sound. He's been strangely hesitant to record it, which is even more mystifying the more one listens to this new DG release. It's one of the longest uninterrupted spans of music Boulez has ever composed. And while not as provocative as some of his early works, it's a marvel, a forest of sound that one wants to return to again and again.

The live instruments (which include a Hungarian cimbalom) are dominated by richly textured percussion, which doesn't exactly make Répons unmelodic as beyond melody. Initially, the effects seem repetitive--alternating activity and stasis--but what later unfolds is a rich, gratifying, thematically unified exploration of sound with a meticulously planned exposition, development, and recapitulation. The companion piece, Dialogue de l'ombre double, is more modest and in some ways more charming, exploring spatial effects and pedal points between the live and computerized clarinet sound. Those interested in the future of music--both in terms of means and content--must hear this.

--David Patrick Stearns

Track Listings:
    Répons 42:31

    1 Introduction 6:26
    2 Section 1 2:58
    3 Section 2 2:05
    4 Section 3 2:23
    5 Section 4 5:39
    6 Section 5 3:59
    7 Section 6 5:23
    8 Section 7 5:53
    9 Section 8 3:12
    10 Coda 4:34

    Dialogue De L'Ombre Double 18:13

    11 Sigle Initial 1:05
    12 Strophe I 2:03
    13 Transition I À II 1:02
    14 Strophe II 1:26
    15 Transition II À III 1:44
    16 Strophe III 1:23
    17 Transition III À IV 0:50
    18 Strophe IV 1:53
    19 Transition IV À V 0:26
    20 Strophe V 1:07
    21 Transition V À VI 0:44
    22 Strophe VI 1:36
    23 Sigle Final 2:54
Artist Name(s):
Conductor: Pierre Boulez
Orchestra: Ensemble InterContemporain
Performer: Vincent Bauer, Florent Boffard, Frederique Cambreling, Michel Cerutti, Daniel Ciampolini, et al.
Roger Wright
Release Year: 1998
Ambient, Experimental, Minimal, Symphonic
Album Type:
Compact Disc
Cover & Packge Design:
Studio Name:
Recorded Paris, Cité de la musique, salle des concerts, 9/1996. Produced in collaboration with IRCAM.
Engineer(s): Klaus Hiemann
Label / Publishing
Label Name:
Deutsche Grammophon
Catalog Number(s):
289 457 605-2
Polygram Records
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