PHILIPPE CHAMOUARD (b.1952): Symphony No. 4 “Le vagabond des nuages”.
Catalogue Number: 07V010
Reference: INDE 112
Description: Chamouard destroyed his existing scores in 1987, and subsequently returned to composition with a sizable body of mainly orchestral works, predominantly espousing mystical, religious or philosophical doctrines, and with an emphasis on emotional and spiritual evocation rather than any intellectual system or school. The result is a sumptuous form of neo-Romanticism, firmly tonal and clearly designed to be as communicative as possible. The listener will detect, inter alia, similarities to Martinu, the Stravinsky of the early ballets, Romantic minimalism and the pictorial specificity of film music. The most apparent influence, though, is Mahler, on whom Chamouard is a noted (and published) authority. Aside from a direct quotation in the second movement, allusions and traces of Mahlerian phrases abound, and the Austrian composer’s orchestration (on which Chamouard wrote his Doctoral thesis) was clearly a model. The Symphony is an ambitious four-movement specimen, following a seeker after spiritual enlightenment's "soul-searching, helped by the beneficial contribution of nature [to] allow him to attain supreme bliss". Although there is no detailed programme the composer makes his inspiration for each movement (drawing on Taoism, Christianity, and Sufism) clear, and the music itself is programmatic in character, almost cinematically so. The first movement contrasts the meditative life with agitated glimpses of life in the material world. The second is the most dramatic, illustrating the struggle to attain admission to salvation. The third, "The Inner Eye" depicts contemplation, grounded on a constant pedal note throughout the movement. In the finale, the wanderer achieves enlightenment in the midst of the stillness and beauty of nature. In this movement, extended flute solos depict the protagonist. The Madrigal - really a Romantic tone poem with not much of the Renaissance about it - is as warm, rich and immersive as the title suggests. Again, Mahler slow movements are often called to mind. The setting of the Marian antiphon in Latin is beautiful and liturgical in mood, with some effective dissonances in the lamenting central section (To thee do we send up our sighs / Mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.) Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra; Nayden Todorov.