George Benjamin (VO)

George Benjamin (VO)  (durée : 5'57''05)

extrait du "Viola, viola" pour deux altos interprété par Tabea Zimmermann et Antonie Tamestit - enregistrement :  Nimbus Records, UK - Editeur de partition : Faber Music Ltd.

"I liked music hugely from the very moment that i first heard it and the first moment i heard it was in my bedroom that i shared with my sister, and she would play the radio and on her radio she would play the early sixties pop music in England which included the Beatles and many other famous artists. And it's very simple, i tried to copy such things and made them up in my head and in these songs i would hear not only the melody, but I'd hear the harmony and the accompaniment with all the different instruments. That stayed the same for a few years and I was fairly intolerant of classical  music I'm ashamed to say. Then I was taken to the film « Fantasia »when i was a little seven year old and I fell in love with classical music. When i discovered Beethoven and above all  Beethoven By sense, just perhaps children can sense a moral force in that music, a truth as well as a great beauty, and i was haunted by it. I would play them on the piano, I'd even be ridiculous and conduct them to the recordings that i had. So I was obsessed with above all Beethoven, but then, as my repertoire enlarged, with the tradition of western classical music. I always initially used to write on the piano, literally. I would sit at the keyboard and write on my music paper. Since then I developed away from the piano I think more abstractly, I plan things more I meditate on things more. And sometimes, particularly for complex passages and pieces, It needs a huge amount of structural work before any note can be written. I do have some favourite pencils. Yes, I have two or three of them, they are very precious to me. If I lost them I would be upset. But sometimes I write in ink and the full scores I will write in ink and so I order, if I find two or three different types of pen that I really like, and I order very large quantities, twenty or thirty of them before I start a piece Because I would be horrified if suddenly I do not have the correct pen. The choice of size and type of paper I use has an extraordinary relationship to the sound that the audience hears to the end If the paper is too big for a complex piece and you're writing too much details, you will be, we say in England, bogged down you will be held back by an excessive detail and the flow of the piece will be damaged. On the other hand if you just compose the big things and don't have any detail at all. The music won't have any life and fantasy. My piece « Viola,viola » was commissioned by the famous Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu Imagine, you only have two bows, two violas, two human beings There are eight strings, there is so little you can do with those things and yet actually, it's impossible to find a limit I didn't want it to be a duet, simple transparent chamber music, I wanted it to be a huge multiple magic viola. This extract starts with the climax of the piece. The harmony is very rich, The tessitura is very broad, The highest note of the whole piece in the top viola playing a really high very strong F sharp, a very slow melody follows The lowest note that the viola can play, the low C
And in between, various techniques we used to fill up the most resonant harmony possible. Then the coda, the conclusion of the piece is the final page which is total different in atmosphere. Silence eats up the music, Big pizzicato chords resonate longer and longer, I tried to give the illusion of a very high bell with the two violas. One of them plays a very pizzicato note and the other viola plays the resonance, holding it until it disappears. Silence increases... I hope it is both a surprising ending, but an emphatic conclusion to the piece, unexpected, but all the same the end."