Claude Ballif – Phrases sur le souffle (1958/1968)

Phrases sur le souffle, for ensemble, Op. 25 (1958/1968)

Amélia Salvetti, mezzo-soprano

Ensemble Polyphonique et Ensemble Instrumental de I’O.R.T.F.
Charles Ravier

Phrases sur le souffle, originally written for voice and piano, was composed in 1958 at the request of Clara Henius, who was also the first to sing the work. The score was reconstructed in 1968 under the influence of Charles Ravier for its performance at the Festival of Avignon. Here we encounter a complete transformation of this strange work that is more than a simple orchestration. The human voice, a “fragile, triumphant sound in which the force and intelligence of humanity are concentrated,” as Joseph Conrad has written, is presented as a field of investigations, each vowel being successively the object and the point of departure for studies in vocalization. This breath, carried by a simple yet carefully prepared voice, is as if caught at the birth of its human character, in order to be extended and multiplied in shattering reliefs and tones by the instrumental ensemble. This voice is finally magnified in the finale thanks to the choral support and by the superimposition of 5 vowels turning in a labyrinth of rhythms and timbres. –Bernard Bonaldi

Art by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s