Lo que no’ contamo’
String quartet No. 2
The string quartet is inspired by flamenco that I could observe during my stay in Spain. The elements of flamenco used in a very free and transformed way are:
a melancholic melody, some of guitar gestures, strong emotion, a rapid contrast of expression, dynamic or density.
An axe of the piece is a melodic line (often succession of 1 mayor and 1 minor second) that appears during the first part of the piece by fragments each time longer and higher and in the second part is played in natural harmonics. This melodic line is often spread note by note in all four instruments. By a fast up-down glissando I search for voice vibrato.
I did a research on some extended playing techniques with string instruments in my hands :
violins and viola played in a guitar position, use of pick and slide, use of scordatura, playing open strings, pizzicato in all parts of the string (normal pizz., pizz. behind the left hand finger, pizz. behind the bridge, pizz. in peg box, playing arco and left hand pizzicato at the same time), also a kind of rasgueo, a dens guitar like arpeggio…
I play with tempo contrast (stable tempo, accelerando from half tempo to the main tempo, ritardando from the main tempo to the half tempo and then subito Atempo).
I try to balance moments of tonal stability with moments of instability (long glissandos).
The scordatura allows using natural harmonics or open strings that complete each other to a melodic line, each scordatura give some chord with minor 7th or 9th. It allows also a very easy fingering for major chords. I use the open string chords and the major chords more as sound objects or mixturas then as a harmony.
In some of my previous pieces I used elements coming from “other” music, for example elements from Balinese Gamelan (“Shiny or Shy” for orchestra), voice from Japanese theatre (“Nôise” for orchestra), or a voice of an old Caledonian woman singing a lullaby (“Sinuous Voices for ensemble”).
A detailed work on the color, gesture and instrumentation transforms these elements in the way that the listener doesn’t perceive them directly.