January 2024 – Edito by Dominique Ciot

 
 
About the General Assembly of the Association…
 
The Annual General Meeting of the Ivan Wyschnegradsky Association was held on November 25, 2023.
 
It was preceded by the Board of Directors which, following the regrettable resignation of President Marie Chartus-Vicheney, validated Martine Joste’s proposal to act as President until the next General Assembly.
 
Unlike in certain years, few concerts around Wyschnegradsky’s works have been organized in 2022 and 2023 on French territory. A concert planned at La Marbrerie in Montreuil having been canceled due to the pandemic, only a performance of the Prélude op. 38 by the pianist Pierre-Alexandre Hurpeau, at the CNSMDP Media Library could take place on April 13, 2023 as part of the concert-Tribute to Solange Ancona.
 
On the other hand, and this is a great satisfaction, Wyschnegradsky’s music is increasingly offered in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, the United States and Russia. Members of the Association (Daniele Buccio, Marc Cantais, Nathalie Forget, Martine Joste) participated in several of these events.
 
Daniele Buccio details in the previous editorial the object of his work and the meaning of his research on The Day of Existence proposed in the piano/narrator version during a concert at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow in September 2003.
 
Another sign of the interest aroused by the works of Ivan Wyschnegradsky are the numerous requests for documents and scores from the United States, England, Italy, Australia, France and Russia.
 
For the year 2024, projects are being studied with – recordings (2nd String Quartet op. 18 by the Camerata de Bern, Pieces for solo piano by Martine Joste) – publication by Editions musicales Lemoine/Jobert of the String Trio op. 53 – the publication by Editions Symétrie of a biography of Ivan Wyschnegradsky by Pascale Criton – a video on the Meditation on two themes from The Day of Existence op. 7 by Katharina Gohl-Moser and Anton Kernjak – as well as concerts in Russia by Daniele Buccio.
 
On the financial side, the expenses are part of the usual operation of an Association and the 2022 income statement is satisfactory, the Association surviving largely thanks to the number of contributions. Of particular note, an extremely generous donation from Sabine and Dagobert Koïtka from Basel, which we received at the end of 2023. We extend our warmest thanks to them.
 
The entire Office and Board of Directors of the Ivan Wyschnegradsky Association wish you a very Happy Musical New Year.
 
 
 

November 2023 – Edito by Daniele Buccio

 
 

 
On the 29th of September 2023 a musical event took place in the Miaskovsky Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow which concluded with the first public hearing of the version for reciter and piano of The Day of Existence (La journée de l’existence) by Ivan Wyschnegradsky.
 
The concert was organized by Professor Anton Rovner and Professor Irina Skvorzova as part of the cycle “Встречи в музыкальной гостиной. Русские модернисты начала ХХ века» (“Meetings in the music salon. Russian modernists of the early 20th century”). The organizers of the event followed on the proposal to bring together in the same event the performance of the Journée with that of the symphonic poem Sisyphe (1915-1917) by Igor Sergeevich Miklachevsky (1894-1942), a work of which Wyschnegradsky kept an unforgettable memory. Listeners were able to grasp the programmatic relationships and structural references, both in the respective forms and in several harmonic and melodic details, of these two works. The version of Sisyphe for piano four hands, performed for this occasion in an adaptation for two pianos, was preceded by the performance of Miklachevsky’s last eight compositions for solo piano, composed in the 1920s. The program also included Wyschnegradsky’s Three Pieces for Piano opus 38, ultimately omitted due to the duration of the concert, and works for strings by Alexander Mossolov and Sergei Protopopov.
 
When he left Russia to come to Paris in the early 1920s, Ivan Wyschnegradsky took with him the two brief piano compositions that Miklachevsky had entrusted to him. They resonated publicly for the first time in the interpretation of Martine Joste during one of the concerts which were dedicated to Wyschnegradsky on the sidelines of the premiere of the Journée de l’existence on the 21st of January 1978 at the Grand Auditorium of Radio-France in Paris. In 2021 the rediscovery of Miklachevsky’s work and the score of Sisyphe was determined by Wyschnegradsky’s assertions and memories regarding the fundamental importance of this symphonic poem and the creative activity of its author, who was personally close to Alexander Scriabin in his youth. The Day of Existence, first titled The Day of Brahma, and Sisyphe are inspired by aspects of Hindu philosophy and Indian mythology, albeit with Western mediation. The programmatic content of Sisyphe was further developed by Miklachevsky in the symphonic poem L’Incarnation op. 10, content he shared with Wyschnegradsky in their correspondence in early 1924. The preparatory piano version of this work by Miklachevsky was performed for the first time on the 15th of November 2023 in Saint-Petersburg, a hundred years after its composition.
 
The declamation of the text of The Day of Existence was performed on the 29th of September 2023 by an unamplified female voice according to a deliberately complementary choice with the previous orchestral versions. Anastasia Tcherenkova, a young actress who is pursuing her studies at the Mikhail Semyonovich Shchepkin Higher Theater School in Moscow, deeply relived the meanings of the text, the declamation of which also requires a thorough understanding of musical structures. Her work focused on the temporal aspects of the coincidence with musical figures and on the very way of generating this correspondence, an ‘overall intonation’ between the rhythm of the declaimed word and its own intrinsic sonority carried out according to an extraordinary musical sensitivity. The inflections of the voice of Mario Haniotis* were evidently present in the mind of the interpreter as well as those of Alexei Tarasov** from 2004. These two interpretations served as a starting point for defining the solutions required by the chamber environment that was available for the first time during this execution. The highest tension between the opposite poles of understanding, or intelligibility of concepts, and emotion, respectively entrusted to words and sound forms, was assumed in the interpretation of Anastasia Tcherenkova in order to achieve their synthesis.
 

Anastasia Tcherenkova and Daniele Buccio


The study of Wyschnegradsky’s original text made it possible to verify the variants in the Russian language and to examine its complex gestation and its long transformation over several decades. The poem was in fact intensely revised by the composer, even after the creation of the work. Alongside the reformulations of certain poetic expressions and lexical refinements, which also testify to the evolution of his style, the consideration of the rearrangements of the structure of the poem itself in relation to the musical form in the absence of previous musical versions is of particular importance, notably the deletion of an entire section with Christological subject. The declamation relates the evolution of consciousness in the world, more and more consciously affirms the path of life from absolute nothing to absolute everything, crosses different philosophical traditions as well as different “positions of being” within dialectical movements, tending towards the perfect final state and cosmic consciousness. Wyschnegradsky admitted to Robert Pfeiffer in the second of his interviews in March 1976 that he saw the Journée as “spherical”, “sufficient in itself”, “ideologically unsurpassed”. In his interview with Charles Amirkanian in the same year Wyschnegradsky declared the fundamental importance of this work for all his subsequent activity, placing it at the moment of the revelation of the ultrachromatic perspective, which arises precisely in the last section of the Journée.
 
The study also made it possible to deepen certain technical aspects, such as the use of eleven-tone harmonies, and to become aware of the progressive thematic transformations, of the relationships of the musical material, of the meaning of words and sound figures which are found in other works (the initial motif, for example, finds a dialectically caricatured counterpart in the Procession de la vie, a short composition also for reciter and piano, reconstituted from memory by the author at the end of the 1940s. It is possible to notice furthermore some motivic fragments of evident affinity in Le soleil décline opus 3 for bass-baritone to words by Nietzsche, in Le scintillement des étoiles lointaines opus 4 for soprano and piano on a poem by the composer’s mother, in the Four Fragments opus 5 , etc.). The piano version of the orchestral version, which the author notated in the imminence of the orchestral premiere with Mario Haniotis during the 1970s, also shows the closest affinity with the writing of opus 7, Méditation sur deux thèmes de La Journée de l’Existence for cello and piano.
 
The experience of performing the pianistic version proved to be very satisfactory. It has become completely clarified in the search for the most effective restitution of orchestral timbres. The relationship that the author maintained with this “intimate” version throughout his life is extremely suggestive. When from January 1918, after about fourteen months of work, he brought it to a first accomplishment, he shared it during private performances and performed it while declaiming the poem himself, for Boris Asafev, Piotr Souvtchinsky, Alexandra Rodzevitch, wife of Miklachevsky, for the Miklachevsky family itself, for Nicholas Nikolaevich Tcherepnin. Then in Paris, the composition was further perfected and played in November 1930 for the conductor Ivan Boutnikoff, for Pierre Monteux in 1934, as well as during endless moments at his home in the company of close friends. It was a great joy that this version finally received its first public performance. This crucial work in the composer’s creative life, in which he intended to imprint all the complexity of life, indeed brought, over the course of its development, an increasingly conscious revelation of his aesthetic thought based on the transformative power of music and its consequent technical and stylistic research, as an inextinguishable premise of future.
 
* Reciter of the world premiere of the work in Paris in 1978, in its French version, under the direction of Alexandre Myrat. Published on CD in 2009 by the Shiiin label.
 
** Reciter of the performance of the work in 2004 in Amsterdam, in its Russian version, under the direction of Pascal Rophé.
 
 
 

July 2023 – Edito by Martine Joste

 
Michel Ellenberger

Michel Ellenberger (photo Tali)

 
This beginning of summer 2023 sees, simultaneously, the fortieth anniversary of the foundation of the Ivan WYSCHNEGRADSKY Association and the disappearance of our great friend Michel ELLENBERGER with whom we created it under the presidency of Claude BALLIF.
 
Michel was a rare person, of extreme sensitivity and delicacy, of unfailing generosity, always available even in his last moments, to help us, either in the realization of projects, or in their formulation. Of an immense culture, without being a musician, but a writer and a great music lover, he had shared with his wife Yaffa moments that he said unforgettable with Ivan Wyschnegradsky, during the last years of the composer’s life. It is very difficult to persevere and maintain the life of the Association of his « dear Ivan », without the presence of Michel, his support and the warmth of his unfailing friendship…
 
Nevertheless, I am going to draw up a picture of the achievements of the Association during these forty years that we have spent together, working for the knowledge of the work and the thought of Ivan Wyschnegradsky, pioneer of microtonal music, now recognized throughout the world to be one of the most important composers of the 20th century.
 
The Association has been either associated or co-producer of the following achievements:
 
Records and CDs:
– 1983: publication of a double vinyl disc edited by René Block (Berlin), including the 1977 concert at Radio-France, supplemented by the Interviews of the composer with Robert Pfeiffer.
– 1990: publication of the complete String Quartets and Trios by the Arditti Quartet, edited by René Block (Berlin), accompanied by an important booklet. This CD is no more available.
– 1995: The Ensemble 2e2m publishes the first CD of the 2e2m collection label, devoted to the Ivan Wyschnegradsky concert held in 1991 at the Center Georges Pompidou in Paris.
– 2002: publication by the label Col Legno of a monographic CD comprising the Etude sur les Mouvements rotatoires and the 24 Preludes for 2 pianos tuned a quarter-tone apart. CD no more available.
– 2009: publication on the Shiiin label of the composer’s founding work, La Journée de l’Existence. It contains the recording of the creation in 1978 in Paris in the Auditorium of the Maison de la Radio and includes a very important booklet in 3 languages, with the complete text of the author’s poem translated in English. This publication was crowned with a 4 star from Classica, a Diapason d’or and a Coup de coeur from the Académie Charles Cros.
– 2017: publication on the Shiiin label, of a CD with works for 2 and 4 pianos tuned a quarter-tone apart, Ondes Martenot and cello in micro-intervals, played at the concert in 2016 in Paris at the Auditorium of the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional of Paris: Ainsi parlait Zarathoustra, the 4th Fragment symphonique, the Meditation on 2 Themes of La Journée de l’Existence and two creations, by Alain Bancquart and Alain Moëne.
– 2022: publication on the Peewee label of jazz drummer Simon Goubert, who improvises on extracts from works by Wyschnegradsky on a microtonal drum set designed by and for him.
 
Concerts:
– 1985: in Paris, in the great hall of the Center Georges Pompidou, concert accompanied by an exhibition of scores, drawings, photos, documents and instruments (clarinet in quarter tone, harmonium) designed by the composer.
– 1988: concert-reading at Radio-France in Paris on the initiative of Alain Bancquart (Cosmos).
– 1989: as part of the Festival Estival de Paris, organized by Bernard Bonaldi, concert for 2 pianos.
– 1991: In co-production with the Ensemble 2e2m, concert at the Center Georges Pompidou in Paris, which will give rise to the first CD of the 2e2m collection.
– 1993: in Prague, concert organized by the Society for New Music including unpublished works for the quarter-tone piano, scores found by the musicologist and composer Martin Smolka in the archives of Aloïs Haba.
– 2010: concert at the National Conservatory of Music and Dance in Paris to welcome the publication of the CD of La Journée de l’Existence by the Shiiin label.
– 2016: concert with 4 pianos, Ondes Martenot and cello at the Auditorium of the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Paris (see above, publication of the CD of this concert in 2017).
– 2018: concert at La Marbrerie in Montreuil-sous-Bois for the publication of this CD: 2 pianos, ondes Martenot and violin in micro-intervals.
– 2019: Vitry-sur-Seine, as part of the Claude Helffer festival, concert presented and formatted by Alexia Guiomar.
– San Francisco: concert of the Arditti Quartet (Trio and Quartets) and concert with 4 pianos (Cosmos, Ainsi parlait Zarathoustra and solo piano pieces).
– Basel: Spirit of Utopia, designed and organized by Dagobert Koitka, numerous concerts, restoration of the Wyschnegradsky’s piano in quarter tones with three keyboards, exhibition.
– 2022: Bern: two Days of concerts, conferences, exhibition, organized by the Piano Duo Huber/Thomet.
– 2023: Moscow: First in Russia of La Journée de l’Existence.
 
The Association has also been co-producer of concerts in Berlin, Graz, Venice, Geneva, Heilbronn, Zurich, Bern, Moscow, St Petersburg…
 
You will find the details of all these informations on the sections of our site.
 
Seminars, conferences:
– In 2014, two International Study Days, conferences and concerts on the theme Ultrachromatism, between futurism and constructivism, at the Center for Documentation of Contemporary Music and at the National Conservatory of Music and Dance in Paris with musicologists from Germany, Switzerland, Russia and France, organized by Pascale Criton.
– Many other conferences were held in St Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan, Basel, Bern, etc.
 
Books:
– 1985: First Cahier Ivan Wyschnegradsky, including unpublished texts by the composer and original articles by Claude Ballif, Jean-Etienne Marie, Philippe Leroux, Jean-Marc Arrachart, Serge Nigg, Elena Chalot, Michel Ellenberger.
– 1996: La Loi de la Pansonorité, Editions Contrechamps, with the participation of Pascale Criton and Franck Jedrzejewski.
– 2013: Ivan Wyschnegradsky – Liberation of sound – Writings 1916-1979 published by Editions Symétrie. This 528-page work brings together unpublished writings by the composer, collected and presented by Pascale Criton and translated from Russian by Michèle Kahn.
– 2017: Traduction and publication by Underwolf Editions (NY/USA) of the Manual of Quarter-Tone Harmony, by R. and N. Kaplan.
 
Music editions:
– From 1994 to 2000: revision for publication by Editions Belaïeff/Frankfurt of the two versions of the Etude sur les Mouvements rotatoires (two pianos version and chamber orchestra version) and Cosmos for 4 pianos tuned a quarter-tone apart.
– In 2013, revision and publication by Editions Jobert of the Méditation on two themes from La Journée de l’Existence for cello and piano, followed in 2018 by Le Chant douloureux and Etude op. 6 for violin and piano, in 2019, Three Pieces for piano p. 38, and in 2022 Ombres, for piano, all the latter published by Editions Jobert.
 
Exhibitions:
– 1985: at the Center Pompidou in Paris: instruments (clarinet, harmonium), scores, photos, writings.
– 2017: in Dunkirk (France) at LAAM and in Kassel in Germany (Documenta): chromatic drawings.
– 2019: Basel Spirit of Utopia, exhibition of scores, sketches, writings, Wyschnegradsky’s piano in quarter-tone…
– 2023: Moscow (at the Manege).
 
Site:
2011/2012: creation of the Association’s official website: www.ivan-wyschnegradsky.fr.
Several articles are signed by Michel Ellenberger, including the biography and the explanatory page of the chromatic drawings.
 
Project:
– We had developed in 1988 with Michel Ellenberger a project to show chromatic drawings by Wyschnegradsky at the Planetarium of the Cité des Sciences in Paris simultaneously with Cosmos for 4 pianos tuned at a distance of a quarter tone. Unfortunately, this project could not succeed due to a lack of interest from the managers at the time at the Cité des Sciences. In 2019 it was partially performed in Basel on the huge dome of the Grande Halle, simultaneously with the performance of Arc-en-Ciel for 6 pianos tuned a twelfth of a tone apart and other works for 3 pianos.
 
Others:
– Monographic CDs or CDs containing works by Wyschnegradsky have also appeared in Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France, USA, Holland.
– Doctoral theses and memoirs have been written about Ivan Wyschnegradsky and microtonal music in Germany, Austria, France, Sweden, Netherlands, Russia, England, Australia, Italy, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, USA, Brazil, Belgium.
 
All these informations are detailed in the Past News and Who are we sections on our site.
 
All my apologies for anything I may have inadvertently omitted…
 
 
 

May 2023 – Edito by the board of the Association Ivan Wyschnegradsky

 
 

 
After the great emotion of the Premiere of La Journée de l’Existence in Moscow on February 17, we announced two concerts in April: the first in Paris, on the 13th, at the Médiathèque of the National Superior Conservatory of Music and Dance, entitled « Tribute to Solange Ancona », the second in Basel, Gare du Nord, on the 20th: « The Eternal Stranger ».
 
Here is what Marie Chartus-Vicheney says about the first concert: « I had the pleasure of attending the Parisian concert, presented by Martine Joste. I was able to congratulate Pierre-Emmanuel Hurpeau, a student at the Conservatoire, for his accurate and sensitive interpretation of the Prélude op. 38 from my grandfather. He showed me his enthusiasm for his music, a sign of his « eternal modernity! »  »
 
Solange Ancona, composer who died in 2019, had Olivier Messiaen as revered master. She was also very close to Ivan Wyschnegradsky as well as Giacinto Scelsi. The Prelude op. 38 for piano by Wyschnegradsky was surrounded by several works for various solo instruments by Solange Ancona, as well as a Movement from the Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps by Olivier Messiaen. All the works in this tribute concert, organized by the Médiathèque Hector-Berlioz, were performed with remarkable skill by students from the National Superior Conservatory of Music and Dance in Paris.
 
Marie Chartus-Vicheney also shares her impressions of the Basel concert on April 20: « Although I was not present at the Basle concert, it could not have been « foreign » to me, in the insofar as it reproduced, in a reduced format, the magnificent homage paid in Bern last year to my grandfather, by the Duo of pianists Huber/Thomet, and which I had attended. The splendid poster of the concert was already present in Bern, placarded all over the city. »
 
The program for these two successive concerts included, by Ivan Wyschnegradsky, the entire 24 Preludes op. 22 for two pianos a quarter-tone apart, with the excellent pianists André Thomet and Susanne Huber. These Preludes are frequently played in excerpts but rarely, apart from two discographic versions, in their entirety. During the intermission, the musicologist Roman Brotbeck developed the composer’s ultrachromatic vision. His lecture was accompanied by projections of ultrachromatic drawings by Ivan Wyschnegradsky. A very beautiful chronological frieze 9m long, already exhibited in Bern, retracing the life of the composer, from his childhood in St Petersburg, to his last years in Paris was presented: a whole life devoted to the research and development of microtonal music.
The second part of the concert included the two Transparencies op. 35 and 47 for Ondes Martenot and two pianos tuned 1/4 tone apart, performed by the Duo Huber/Thomet and the ondist Nathalie Forget. The pianists had completed these two concerts dedicated to the work of Ivan Wyschnegradsky with two creations by young composers, the Kosovar Elnaz Seyedi and the Iranian-German Anda Kriezu.
 
You will find below the poster for the Basel concert as well as two short videos of a rehearsal of both Transparences, with the pianists André Thomet, Susanne Huber and the ondist Nathalie Forget.
We thank them all very warmly for having organized and participated in this new and important TRIBUTE to Ivan WYSCHNEGRADSKY.
 
 


Rehearsal (excerpt) of the april 20th concert in Basel (Gare du Nord). Transparences by Ivan Wyschnegradsky. André Thomet and Susanne Huber, pianos Nathalie Forget, Ondes Martenot
 

Rehearsal (excerpt) of the april 20th concert in Basel (Gare du Nord). Transparences by Ivan Wyschnegradsky. André Thomet and Susanne Huber, pianos Nathalie Forget, Ondes Martenot
 
 
 

March 2023 – Edito by Marc Cantais

 
« MUSIC STRONGER THAN ANYTHING »

 

Poster of the concert of the Persimfans ensemble - "The Day of Existence" in Tchaikovsky Hall, Moscow

Poster of the concert of the Persimfans ensemble – « The Day of Existence » in Tchaikovsky Hall, Moscow

 

In these times of geopolitical turmoil, attending the premiere of The Day of Existence in Moscow may seem like a real challenge. The challenge is certainly not small in terms of logistically. But it will also be necessary to bypass the ambient discourse of a dominant ideology that advocates the indiscriminate boycott.

 

My participation in the 2009 edition of the historical recording made during the creation in 1978 at Radio-France left me with the memory of a beautiful collaboration between the label SHIIIN and the Ivan Wyschnegradsky Association. I also know that the frustration has been distilled in me of not having been able to attend any of the rare performances of the work over 40 years. After two consecutive postponements, the date of February 17, 2023 was set. At the invitation of the Moscow Philharmonic Society and after enthusiastic exchanges with Mikhail Morozov, armed with the firm conviction that the occasion is unmissable, motivated more than ever: let’s go!

 

February 15: very early arrival after a night transit through Istanbul. It’s very cold. The hotel’s screen indicates -10°. Visit without further delay of the fascinating exhibition « The House of Culture of the USSR » in the Manege of Moscow. The art of the Soviet period is presented there. Divided into eight thematic sections (architecture, painting, graphics, cinema…), the space devoted to music hosts a portrait of Wyschnegradsky accompanied by a text. Then, it came to a close that the icy sidewalk in front of the Scriabin Museum reduces my small expedition to a disaster by failing to send me immediately to the box departure (Paris) after a memorable fall. Day of acclimatization therefore in a city with a very particular atmosphere like any place that would be relieved of 96% of its tourists.

 

February 16: appointment is taken in the afternoon in the western suburbs of Moscow at the Gorbunov Palace of Culture, building of the 30’s in constructivist style, accessible after crossing a large snowy park. First contact with the musicians of the Persimfans ensemble to attend an unusual rehearsal session. Persimfans is a Moscow orchestra without a conductor. The concept appeared in 1922. Otto Klemperer declared after attending a concert of Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique Symphony: « It is the most perfect interpretation I have ever heard ». But the ideas of self-organization of the collective, direct emanation of the Russian Revolution, contradict a regime that will turn out to be totalitarian and in 1933 the activity of the ensemble is « suspended » to be revived only in 2009.
The arrangement of the musicians in a circle facing each other immediately installs a balance of power that is no longer hierarchical and vertical but horizontal and collegial. To attend the astonishing exchanges between the musicians (a trumpet player inveighing against a violinist…) is quite different from the usual instructions of a conductor. The process with such a convincing final result makes a truly amazing experience !

 

Persimfans, Mikhail Morozov & Piotr Aïdu in rehearsal on february 16 at Gorbunov Palace of Culture

Persimfans, Mikhail Morozov & Piotr Aïdu in rehearsal on february 16 at Gorbunov Palace of Culture

 

February 17: More than a century after its composition in 1916 in Petrograd/St. Petersburg the great work of Ivan Wyschnegradsky will finally be able to offer itself to the Russian public. The imposing Tchaikovsky Concert Hall will serve as a remarkable setting for the event. Second afternoon of rehearsal in situ this time. The excitement is palpable. After the first part of the concert featuring with works by Rebel, Liszt and Webern, I will have the honor to be invited to a small speech. This will be an opportunity to recall the work of the Association and to convey support and guarantee on behalf of Marie Chartus-Vicheney and Martine Joste to this evening. The ensemble Persimfans will excel thanks to the total commitment of its formidable musicians. As for the choice of Piotr Aïdu to refrain from the declamatory mode by opting for a neutral and intimate narration of the text, it is a real interpretation even if somewhat distant from the composer’s recommendations.
A memorable meal (with Vodka only!) follows with exchange of documents, books and scores which will generate a hard negotiation during the check-in of the return flight limited to 8 kilos authorized in the cabin.

 

Rehearsal of "The day of Existence" by the Persimfans ensemble on February 17, Tchaikovsky Hall

Rehearsal of « The day of Existence » by the Persimfans ensemble on February 17, Tchaikovsky Hall

 

February 18: to close this Moscow interlude I attended an orthodox night vigil of great fervor of more than three hours in the Sretensky Monastery to listen to its men’s choir called « The living organ ». The atmosphere was in stark contrast to the cab ride to the airport the next day at breakneck speed on a snow-covered highway without a central safety rail (to land a plane, it seems…).

 

The relevance of this trip will not have ceased to be confirmed as it will be loaded with meaning according of other musical moments (at the Conservatory in particular) and of meetings marked by true recognition in view of the circumstances. As a mirror response to the questions and the quest for meaning that the powerful text of the Day of Existence rightly exalts.
Beyond the earthly conflicts of this world that will pass and the leaders who initiated them who will pass away, let us not doubt that art will continue to raise the debate.

 

Thank you Moscow for the warm welcome and bravo for this COSMIC reminder!

 

PS: let’s rejoice that Ivan Wyschnegradsky’s music is more widely revealed to the Russian public and wish to live a new Day of Existence in France as soon as possible.

 

Recording of the concert on february 17 (reading set at the begining of the Day of Existence at 1h15):

 

 
 
 

February 2023 – Edito by Jean-Francois Ballèvre

 
Difficult when you have known someone not to bring to the surface all the details of this friendship and to keep only one aspect of it. Yet that is what I am going to do today to talk only about Ivan Wyschnegradsky and the pianist Matthieu Acar. The latter left us at the age of 34 on December 29.
 
I met him during his time in my class of first-reading at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional in St-Maur-des-Fossés, near Paris. I have kept the memory of a brilliant and warm student. His curious ear of everything was just asking to be fed, we shared the same love of fractions, irrational rhythms, music of today. He caught on the fly all the balls that were thrown at him, we could bring him everything to read, everything interested him. It is therefore not surprising that he entered the National Conservatory of Music and Dance in Paris. However, the bond created has never been broken…
 
A few years later, engaged in the same project – the creation in concert and the recording of Racines by Alain Bancquart for 4 pianos in quarter tones (*), I was very happy to find « intact » the Matthieu that I had known: enthusiastic, delicate, deep, sparkling.
 
Again following this project, Martine Joste trusted us by offering to play in concert Wyschnegradsky’s Two Integrations opus 49 for two pianos in quarter tone and the Chant nocturne opus 11 with Léo Marillier on the violin. Our work in chamber music, the shared meals, allowed me to get to know Matthieu better. The pleasure we took in detailing each rhythm, each harmony, each melodic phrasing, the common concern to look at everything without losing sight of the general form, his demanding and competent ear, without forgetting the heart he had vibrating with emotions, made this period a moment of artistic achievement that I will never forget.
 
We had the firm intention of continuing this work as a duo by diving into the Two Studies on Densities and Volumes, but I had found him in recent years to be very busy, always current, never free, although always just as devoted to his students, to his sweet and tender, to his family…
 
This last project will remain unfinished, life/death having decided otherwise. I’m not a « believer » but I hope there is a somewhere where all those who love music can meet and continue to share it.
 
Matthew, you were a worthy servant of this art. Matthieu you have, alas – before him, there was Cécile, William, Lisandru and others still – joined the cohort of angels.
 
But did Wyschnegradsky believe in angels ?
 
(*) This concert was released by the Shiiin label in 2017
 

Rehearsal of the 13 march 2018 concert at La Marbrerie, Montreuil-sous-Bois near Paris. From left to right: Matthieu Acar, Léo Marillier and Jean-François Ballèvre

Rehearsal of the 13 march 2018 concert at La Marbrerie, Montreuil-sous-Bois near Paris. From left to right: Matthieu Acar, Léo Marillier and Jean-François Ballèvre


 

December 2022 – Edito by Martine Joste

 
The Annual General Meeting of the Ivan Wyschnegradsky Association was held in Paris on November 19, 2022. We were 11 present and we received 18 proxies.
 
The Board of Directors and the Bureau were re-elected for 3 years. The Bureau is now composed of Marie Chartus-Vicheney, President – Martine Joste, Vice-President – Fernand Vandenbogaerde, Treasurer – Roman Soufflet, Secretary General – Nathalie Forget, Deputy Secretary General. The Board of Directors is made up of 10 members: in addition to the 5 members of the office mentioned above, they are Jean-François Ballèvre, Dominique Ciot, Pascale Criton, Bruce Mather and Alain Moëne.
 
During this meeting, we reviewed the main events of 2021 and 2022, and particularly the two days of concerts and conferences which took place in Bern in March 2022 around the work of Wyschnegradsky, associated with several creations in micro-intervals. We should also mention the recent release of the CD by drummer Simon Goubert, who uses ultrachromatic drums designed especially for this disc, with which Simon improvises on sequences taken from works by Wyschnegradsky, which he has put on a loop. Also just received: a CD released in Germany by the Asasello Quartet featuring Wyschnegradsky’s 2nd Quartet, fully written in quarter tones.
 
We also spoke with emotion of the Russian premiere of La Journée de l’Existence by the Persimfans Ensemble, a concert to be given again on February 17 in the great Tchaikovsky hall in Moscow. This founding work, for narrator and large orchestra, composed in 1918, and premiered sixty years later in Paris in the presence of the composer who considered it his masterpiece, very little precedes his research on microtonal music, to which he then had to devote his life.
 
See the details of all this information as well as the links relating to the CDs on the page NEWS.
 

 

Association Ivan Wyschnegradsky - last update 2 march 2024