Jean Claude Wolff

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© G. Bompais


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Mit Innigkeit


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"Mit Innigkeit". It is the inner voice, the voice one has to know how to listen to, that talks to us of dusk, wind and leaves, of the passing friend… homage to Schumann, Eusebius and Florestan. It is also this inner voice that Andree Chedid evokes - Andree Chedid that I recently had the pleasure to work with. "Where are you my faraway voice - you who talk like my soul - buried under the day and the rumors - under gold and the seasons - under the lament in the street - and the ferments of the towns… in my tomb of worries and blond laughters - in which nudity do I have to wall up - so that the voice comes - the voice that speaks like my soul..

The homage. Already in my "11 preludes for piano" I mentioned Messiaen, Beethoven, Chopin, Bartok, Debussy, Mahler. All composers from the 20th century that are close to my heart… when I feel far from music, just thinking about them refreshes me, invigorates me… like 'Baudelairian phrases' and I try to send back a bit of the light they bring me. It is not about pastiche or quotation, but about impregnation, about a poetic jumble of the memory, of a tradition also one could say, in the sense that for me the concept of tradition is a concept open, wide, difficult also.

The dirges and other movements. Certainly the writing of the two dirges clearly designated as such, one rather slow, the other rather animated, comes from personal experience. But it particularly shows the timelessness of the feeling of death, perceived sometimes as the Schubertian comforter, sometimes as a glimpse of eternity… I thought for a long time of writing a vocal "Requiem", and this project hasn't been abandoned yet. It is not by chance either if two of my works are written from the 'Psaums' texts and if an older piece, for soprano and string quartet, was written using Max Jacob's poem 'Night'… Incidently the extreme movements are like soothed melancholies, 'comments', 'vanities'. The former uses canonical writing, in a distant allusion to Franco-Flemish polyphony; the latter is in a more melodic vein, where choir and tristanesque English horn follow each other. And even the third movement, in its polyphony a la Ligeti, ends with a choir….

The last piece: it ends quietly in E flat minor, and it fits in with the tonal expression and thought - I doubt the latter was ever far from my mind. It can be found between the lines in each of the 5 parts of "Mit Innigkeit".


Audio sample : performed by the ensemble Erwartung, conductor Bernard Desgraupes.