Columbia Sounds: Grail Theatres and Music
As a part of a work-in-progress, the contemporary music/theatre company La Chambre aux échos presents a version of their on-going exploration of the theatricality of the concerto form through Kaija Saariaho’s violin concerto Graal Théâtre (1995). The soloist engages in a quest and a fight, where facing the challenge of virtuosity and the crowd of the orchestra he will have to learn to yield and ‘make music together’ (concertare). This adventure, based on symbolic stories of the Grail legends and their innovative rewriting by poet Jacques Roubaud, will crack open as an imaginary theatre through creative use of staging, text and video. Through the very experience of making music we witness a story of coming-of-age, transformation and rebirth.
This Pentecost program will be completed with other images of vital symbolism: soundscapes Debussy and Wagner, suffused with the Medieval image of the wandering Knight, reexplored in the orchestrations Clément Mao-Takacs has crafted for his ensemble Secession Orchestra. The celebration of the centenary of Debussy’s death in 1918 is the opportunity to explore the circulation of both thematic and musical influences (organic, layered, conscious and unconscious) both before and after him throughout the centuries, that culminates in the colourful writing of Kaija Saariaho, here enshrined in an original setting that magnified both the orchestral and chamber qualities of her music.
Dans le cadre d’un projet en cours de développement, la compagnie de théâtre/musique contemporains La Chambre aux échos présente une étape de travail de son exploration de la théâtralité de la forme concerto, à travers le concerto pour violon de Kaija Saariaho Graal Théâtre (1995). Le soliste se livre à une quête et un combat, où affrontant le défi de la virtuosité et la multitude de l’orchestre il devra apprendre l’humilité et le jouer-ensemble (concertare). Cette aventure, fondée sur les récits allégoriques des légendes du Graal et leur réécriture innovante par le poète Jacques Roubaud, ouvrira par un nouvel usage de la mis en scène, du texte et de la vidéo un théâtre imaginaire. À travers l’expérience même de faire de la musique nous éprouvons ainsi une histoire de maturation, transformation et renaissance.
Ce programme de la Pentecôte sera complété par d’autres images de symbolisme vivifiant : les paysages sonores de Debussy et Wagner, imprégnés de l’imaginaire médiéval du chevalier errant, réexportés par les orchestrations que Clément Mao-Takacs a façonnées pour son ensemble Secession Orchestra. La célébration du centenaire de la mort de Debussy en 1918 est l’occasion d’explorer la circulation d’influences à la fois thématiques et musicales (organiques, sédimentées, conscientes et inconscientes) avant et après lui à travers les siècles, trouvant un point culminant dans l’écriture chamarrée de Kaija Saariaho, ici insérée dans un dispositif original qui magnifie tout ensemble les qualités orchestrales et chambristes de sa musique.
Claude Debussy (orch. Clément Mao-Takacs):
Image oubliée n°1
Prélude n°3 / Livre I (… Le vent dans la plaine)Prélude n°6 / Livre I (… Des pas sur la neige)
Prélude n°7 / Livre I (… Ce qu’a vu le vent d’Ouest)
Richard Wagner (arr. Clément Mao-Takacs):
“Good Friday Magic” / L’Enchantement du Vendredi Saint (Parsifal)
Graal Théâtre, concerto for violin and orchestra (chamber version)
Concept and realization by / Concept et réalisation par
La Chambre aux échos
Clément Mao-Takacs, musical direction / direction musicale
Aleksi Barrière, text and stage direction / texte et mise en scène
Peter Herresthal, violin solo / violon solo
Thomas Kellner, actor / comédien
Étienne Exbrayat, technical management / régie générale
Clémentine Marin, production administration / administration de production
Production La Chambre aux échos & Secession Orchestra
with the support of / avec le soutien de
Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Norwegian Academy of Music, Reid Hall, Columbia Centers | Paris, Fondation Singer-Polignac
Soloist PETER HERRESTHAL is recognised as a brilliant and inspired interpreter of contemporary violin music, strongly associated both in concert and recordings with concertos by composers including Per Nørgård, Arne Nordheim, Henri Dutilleux, Thomas Adès, Olav Anton Thommessen, Henrik Hellstenius and Jon Øivind Ness. Peter has appeared with orchestras and ensembles including the Vienna Radio Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Stockholm Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Remix Ensemble, Tapiola Chamber Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica de Navarra, Helsingborg Symphony, Oslo Sinfonietta, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Trondheim Symphony, and Bit20, with conductors including Andrew Manze, Thomas Adès, Anu Tali and Sakari Oramo. He has given numerous world and national premieres and recorded a number of prize-winning CDs. He is a Professor at the Oslo Academy and visiting Professor at Royal College of Music in London.
Conductor CLÉMENT MAO-TAKACS pursues an international career (Operas of Budapest and Rome, Festival Orchestra of Sofia, Orchestre de Bretagne, ICE Ensemble, Avanti! Chamber Orchestre…). In 2011 he founded Secession Orchestra, which he leads as a musical and artistic director. He conducts with equal ease both symphonic and lyrical repertoires, from classic to contemporary. He is also the co-founder of the music theatre/opera company La Chambre aux échos. A graduate of the Paris National Conservatory, and a laureate of the Bayreuther Festspiele, the Fondations del Duca and Cziffra, he is also a pianist and a composer. He has created and leads the festivals Intervalles (Paris) and Terraqué (Carnac, Brittany).
Director ALEKSI BARRIÈRE was born in 1989 in Paris. He majored in philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris and in stage directing at the Theatre Faculty of Prague, after collaborating as an assistant with directors Sarah Méadel and Peter Sellars. He has worked as a dramaturge and a scenographer with various multi-media art groups, and has been invited to direct projects in venues such as the Staatsoper Hamburg, the Grimeborn Festival, the Paris Conservatory, Trap Door Theatre in Chicago. Nevertheless, most of his work is developed within the music & theatre collective La Chambre aux échos which he co-founded and co-directs. Also a writer and a translator, his words have been set to music by various composers and published in reviews and art books. His work as a scholar, like his artistic projects, explores the grey areas between music and theatre.
SECESSION ORCHESTRA is a first-class ensemble of about fifty musicians performing in flexible settings. Under the musical and artistic direction of Clément Mao-Takacs, their broad repertoire is centred on the 20th and 21st centuries. They have performed in France and abroad in Europe. On the premise that any cultural act must also be a social one, Secession Orchestra rethinks the classical concert as a form, engages in numerous collaborations and links between the arts, and always reaches out to diverse audiences with values of pedagogy and humanism. Secession Orchestre is in residency at the Fondation Singer-Polignac, the Foundation Royaumont, and for the season 17/18 is supported by the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, the ADAMI, the DRAC, the SPEDIDAM and trusted private donors.
LA CHAMBRE AUX ÉCHOS was founded by Aleksi Barrière and Clément Mao-Takacs as a platform of collaboration between arts, aiming to explore the entire range of music/theatre, from staged concerts to evenings of music theatre and opera, including immersive site specific performances. Focusing mainly on the recent repertoire, they have commissioned several new works from living composers, including the chamber version of Kaija Saariaho’s La Passion de Simone, which they have presented with various ensembles (Secession Orchestra, Avanti! International Contemporary Ensemble) in many venues and festivals worldwide, most recently in New York City and Bergen. La Chambre aux échos is the only music theatre company in France led by both a director and a conductor. From the inception of a project to its premiere, each step and artistic move is the result of discussion: in the pair, each brings his own experience of his field, to come up with a shared artistic expression that is both coherent and innovative.
Sponsors: Columbia Global Centers | Paris; Department of Music, Columbia University; Columbia University Club of France; Columbia Undergraduate Programs in Paris; and the Fritz Reiner Center for Contemporary Music at Columbia University.
Free and Open to the Public