Roomful of Teeth & Caroline Shaw inaugurate the Musique (s) Rive Gauche Festival – News -…

The first edition of the Musique (s) Rive Gauche Festival “Creation (s): Nom feminine pluriel” sheds light on the composers including Caroline Shaw, who gives French premieres of her works composed for her own ensemble Roomful of Teeth: “The Isle “and” Partita for 8 voices “.

The Musique (s) Rive Gauche Festival at the Salle Colonne, created this year by the Association La petite musique bleue is, according to Artistic Director Coline Vandenberghe, a “standing dream” that has survived many difficulties of preparation and funding. linked to the health crisis. At the center of the repertoires is American composer Caroline Shaw, the youngest Pulitzer Prize winner in the music section, 9 years ago, at the age of only 30. Three works for 8 voices are presented for the first time in France: The Isle and Partita for 8 voices by Caroline Shaw, between which is inserted Beneath (Below) by Caleb Burhans, one of the composers commissioned by Roomful of Teeth to expand their repertoire. The American vocal ensemble, composed of Caroline Shaw herself, Cameron Beauchamp, Taylor Ward, Martha Cluver, Eric Dudley, Estelí Gomez, Avery Griffin and Virginia Warnken Kelsey, has in fact set itself the mission of establishing a “repertoire without borders. “. Indeed, the works presented in the evening manifest this mission: they explore the characteristics and potential of the human voice through numerous vocal techniques and song traditions from around the world. The program titled “The Detail of the Pattern” (The detail of the pattern) positions the Partita as both synthesis and culmination of the evening.

Exploration and challenge of the human voice to its evocative power

In an atmosphere of intimacy, in the Column Room, draped in vermilion red velvet and illuminated by light red spotlights, the first whispers of The Isle seem to emerge from the darkness – of the room, but also of our interior life – by its evocative power. Containing the text of Shakespeare taken from Storm “Come unto these yellow sands” (Come to these golden sands), the composition is in turn an invitation to travel and a continual play of texture as well as of the sound dimension which takes place on all registers. The same games of techniques and nuances continue in Beneath by Caleb Burhans.

© Maryana Lemak

Comprising three phases, Beneath shows three different ways to explore the capacity, characteristics and extent of the human voice. The first phase emphasizes the sound texture punctuated by the whistle and the hum in quasi-motivic repetitions underpinned by the hum of the male voice in the low register of the sound unit. At times, the voice borders on the sonority of musical instruments, including the low register which approaches the trombone. Games of echoes and repetitions occupy the second phase which emphasizes the female voice. This one forms multiple layers which unite in a collective cry causing a sound bite by means of the dissonance in the high register. The third phase gives rise to an impression of sound drops which frames the lyrical part provided by the middle female voice, evoking in turn feelings of melancholy and nostalgia which arise from the abysses of memory. This last moment is a beautiful transition to the concluding piece, the Partita for 8 voices, Shaw’s winning work that won him the Pulitzer Prize for music.

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© Maryana Lemak

The Partita is a meeting and a continuous dialogue between song, word, many imaginable vocal techniques, as well as those which are part of the traditions of the world. This composition, in fact, incorporates the katajaq, the throat singing of the Inuit, which punctuates, during the four movements, the changes of contours and sound phases within a movement or between movements. The first movement sets up the exchange between song and speech in the form of alternations, flow, even welding between the two. The second movement is a moment of tension, of power, of exaltation which touches all registers, punctuated at times by the katajaq. The third movement exploits song and speech by varying the opening of the mouth to produce different tones. In the last movement, the male voice produces a rhythmic bass that prepares and sustains the exhilaration of the female voice. In short, the weld, the transitions and the alternations between song and speech are endowed with an evocative power meeting in the Partita. The music gradually assures its “form”, materializes in images of thought which reach, in a personal way, the imaginative capacity of the spectators.

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Caroline Shaw (© Maryana Lemak)

The entire evening thus leaves imprints that connect the artists, those, also, who respond to interior life. The spectators are especially invited to rethink the song and the word, to perceive them differently.

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Roomful of Teeth & Caroline Shaw inaugurate the Musique (s) Rive Gauche Festival – News -…

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