THIERRY ESCAICH (b.1965): Magic Circus for Wind Octet (Initium Wind Ensemble), Mecanic Song for Piano and Wind Ensemble (Thierry Escaich [piano], IWE), Le Bal for Saxophone Quartet (Axone Saxophone Quartet), Anteinnes oubliées for Violin, Cello, Trumpet, Trombone, Saxophone, Flute and Percussion (Indésens Septet), 3 Instants fugitifs for Wind Quintet (IWE), Ground IV for 4 Clarinets (Vendôme Clarinet Quartet), Le Chant de ténèbres for Alto Saxophone and Saxophone Ensemble (Nicolas Prost [sax], Paris Saxophone Ensemble; Éric Aubier), Tanz-Fantasie for Trumpet and Organ (Aubier [trumpet], Escaich [organ]).
Catalogue Number: 07Q091
Description: These pieces are remarkable for the variety of expression and mood achieved within a consistent harmonic and rhythmic language. Common characteristics to which the composer returns time and again are passacaglia-like variation structure over rhythmically irregular ground basses, ostinati and restlessly changing meters and pulse. Broadly and adventurously tonal, with an exhilarating rhythmic vitality, Escaich's idiom lends itself to powerfully evocative narratives of unspoken but clearly delineated programmes such as the blurred, fading memories of generations of departed dancers in Le Bal, the dreamlike Antiphons, with its entangled persistent threads of melody and unstable ground basses, one of the most ingenious sets of diversions around the Dies irae ever in the tenebrous Song, or the fragments of baroque mechanism and renaissance polyphony of Mecanic Song. The composer repeatedly achieves in miniature an almost Mahlerian feat of incorporating the banal - the sad clowns' music of the circus tent or silent film, Satie-esque acrobats, slapstick and colorful processions; waltzes, tangos and popular songs - into a rich tapestry of vivid, almost hallucinatory, sometimes haunted memory. All the pieces dance, and sing; all hint at a serious purpose or message half- hidden in the shadows, while the brightly glittering activity of the appealing surface draws the listener in.