4. May 2020

New Music Monday #7

The next piece in the series New Music Monday includes the trio Triple by Georges Aperghis, recorded by Helen Bledsoe, Carl Rosman and Marco Blaauw. Please read the program text by Martina Seeber of our concert “Musikfabrik im WDR 69” from last year, where the piece was last performed by us.

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Georges Aperghis Triple (2010)

Is this playable? Not just the rhythms of the three wind instruments, overlapping for tiny fractions of a second: George Aperghis demands a wafer-thin web of microtonal nuances, as fragile as a snowflake and almost as quiet. Triple approaches the farthest limits. In this trio there is no safety net, no hidden trapdoor. It is a stunt for the concert stage, a circus act for musicians. Although the trio tells no story, the analogy is valid: Georges Aperghis himself evokes the image of the circus. “I often imagine an acrobat jumping from one high wire to another, and finding their balance at the last moment. That is the kind of fragility, the danger I seek.” Certainly a danger to which his performers are exposed when they realise the barely possible.

Triple is a fragile, sometimes shaky, but very delicate music, constantly intercut with pauses, as if the musicians were looking down from their high wire. Sometimes the balancing act continues after the gaps, sometimes the scene changes like a hard crosscut. Microtonally coloured chords sink into the depths, pale and plaintive. Birds tweet, chattering as though conversing with each other. A soaring unison melody is succeeded by furious coloratura. The wind instruments intone the most delicately interlocked, fragile images. Here too they play with the ideal of perfection and their own limitations. Georges Aperghis does not simply present his musicians to us. Rather, he puts them on display as they expose themselves – vulnerable and human – at the highest level. Their energy, their effort, their apprehension, their virtuosity: these are just as much properties of this music as rhythmic structures, harmonies or intervallic relationships. Triple is the opposite of routine. Perhaps, instead, a state of emergency.

Martina Seeber, from the programme booklet  of  Musikfabrik in WDR 69, 17.02.2019