In 2005, with the world première of 5 poèmes de János Pilinszky, we met Bruno Mantovani for the first time. After this first commission, three other works came to day through our collaboration: each of these works marks singularly our interpret/creator relationship. Ten years passed this way, and to celebrate this beautiful artistic collaboration we wanted to have the four pieces on this same album. They represent for us the main part of the choir works of this great contemporary composer.
The Internationally known French composer Bruno Mantovani regularly draws his inspiration from musical works of the past, from which he fashions thoroughly modern objects. This CD presents five pieces for strings and piano, some of which refer to Franz Schubert, Béla Bartók, Maurice Ravel, or the most musicianly of all painters, Paul Klee. These richly inventive works are in no sense pastiches or variations, but genuinely contemporary interpretations of masterpieces of musical history.
A very obvious musical unites the three pieces of this recording. The most notable aspect is doubtless the evolution of my concertante writing and the relationship to the soloist within the orchestra, even in works that are not a priori concertante: thus, Finale brings the solo flute to the fore, and Time Stretch, the clarinet.
Three composers, three masterworks of our time performed by three orchestras - and a central element, the moving spirit behind this fine project devoted to the concertante cello : Jean-Guihen Queyras, voted "Artist of the Year 2008" in Diapason. Three sometimes very different, yet at the same time highly complementary ways of conceiving the concerto in the 21st century.
Let us open wide the doors of the hothouse so that wind, rain and snow rush in. Maurice Maeterlinck's image ideally fits Bruno Mantovani as well as the first impression one has of him. That impression is one of youthfulness and freshness, of an unexpected and at the same time encouraging simplicity and health in a world in which these characteristics are atypical not to say suspect...
This is the misadventure of a man who, in a shop window, in rue de Lille in Paris, sees the engraving of his dreams. The burial of Mozart: entering the shop, he is forced to listen to the digression of the old man who owns the picture and exhibits it in order to attract strangers to whom he can recount the disappearance of Aristide, a philosophical dog who has kept him company for a long time. In experiencing this misadventure, I like the way false artifices are mixed with the plausible. Mozart did not have a burial, he was thrown into a common grave. The engraving is known under the title "The funeral procession of the poor", and it is Beethoven who named it "The burial of Mozart". As for Aristide, the philosophical pooch, he is obviously inspired by the memory of Medji, Sophie's dog, in the Diary of a Madman by Gogol which I once staged. I saw a metaphor of our time where, through images and clamour, multiple impostures and injunctions invade of our imagination. And I thought of writing a radio play when a revue asked me for a short story for a collective book. I turned The Burial of Mozart into a baroque tale. And I returned to this tale when Bruno Mantovani and Roland Hayrabedian of Musicatreize asked me whether I could suggest an idea to them. I listened to Bruno's music at length where human voices mingle mischievously with those of the instruments, and I had the impression of feeling the fabric which would clothe the words that I would lay out in a new text. I thus rewrote the baroque tale by metamorphosing it into a multiple dialogue, syncopated, sometimes even farcical, which Bruno Mantovani could use as sequences or sonorous syntagms in an acrobatic play of voices and instruments.
Bruno Mantovani is certainely one of the most talented composers of his generation in France. His composition is very assured, and he knowns with great certitude what he wants from the instrumentalist. His work is very lively, rapid and precise, and that comes from is training as a percussionist. His music is very difficult to interpret, and requires a very thorough preparation on the part of the instrumentalist. But what is most beautiful in his work is the poetic tension that it releases and its emotional depth. I might add that the association of a wind instrument with the piano is one of the most difficult challenges in chamber music. What bruno Mantovani has created for bassoon and piano here is a very great work and this is one of the most beautiful pieces in our repertoire.
While composing the work, I constantly had in mind that this duo would be premiered in the middle of a programme centred on works by Giacinto Scelsi. The reference to indian music and the ethereal sequences, along with micro-tonality are so many tributes paid to this composer, outstanding for his independence and radical nature.
For a composer, ever since, the stay at the French Academy in Rome remains a point of prestigious passage. I particularly endeavour to give a vast place to contemporary music, in particular to artists/composers residing at Villa Medici.
According to this spirit, I have wished to renew a collaboration engaged several years ago with Radio France in order to give birth to a new collection that will make possible to present every year a selection of works of a composer after his stay at Villa Medici. The pieces are interpreted by the musicians of the Ensemble Itineraire and recorded under the ideal conditions of the location of Radio France.
I am particularly proud to begin this project with a new selection of pieces by Bruno Mantovani, whose inventive and lavish talent has leaved a marvellous memory in all his friends at Villa Medici.(...)
Any music lover with half an eye open knows the name of Bruno Mantovani. He is recognised as a composer of exceptional talent. And indeed, few of his colleagues can boast, at his young age (his thirtieth birthday is not until 2004), of an output performed by celebrated soloists as well as the finest ensembles in contemporary music, surely no coincidence.
Despite his mere 27 years, Bruno Mantovani is anything but a young composer. He misses nothing of today's reality, and he has a surprising ability to seize everything that typifies it. Jazz, current trends, electroacoustic techniques and the latest research into spectral harmony are just some of the idioms that he has completely absorbed into his skills.