for accordeon & piano – 2019/2023

I.- Quand le psittirostre zinzinule (20219, ca. 9′)
II.- Novembre (in memoriam Jean-Claude Risset & Corinna L.) (2019, ca. 6′)
III.- We are all accountable for what we create, but also for what we destroy (2023, ca. 6′)

Premiere: 30 Nov. 2019, Festival Rainy Days, Luxembourg, Anne-Maria Hoelscher: Acc.; Florian Hoelscher: Piano

(Recording of the first and second movement, Festival Rainy Days, 30 Nov. 2019)

Program note :
Chroniques déchantées (2019/2023), for accordion and piano, for accordion and piano, is a “crisis composition”. But who wouldn’t be in crisis right now, with the constant and increasingly incisive questioning of universalist principles of human freedom, equality and solidarity? This denial of human life with ideologies of “identity”, “resistance” or “revenge”? And above all, the climate crisis that threatens the future of all living beings on our planet, due to the irresponsible, and still insufficiently remedied, actions of human beings?

What has interested me for over thirty years as a composer, on a strictly musical level, is developing a musical language that misleads cognitive listening. This means developing new techniques of ambiguity and paradoxes of perception, as for example, in this work, pulsating rhythms in complex polymetries, the creation and exchange of unrecognizable sonorities between the two instruments or paradoxical scales. These techniques, meanwhile, are at the service of a more heteronomous expression, resonating with a-musical issues that concern me.

The title Chroniques déchantées has multiple meanings. Déchanté means in French both “disenchanted” and “no longer being sung”. Like this psittirostrum, a bird that has been extincted and no longer zinzinulates (1st movement). The second movement, Novembre, a pre-final month, is dedicated to the memory of Jean-Claude Risset and Corinna L., who died both on the same day, on Nov.21 2016, one of them in a dramatic accident. Very minimal, based on strange non-octaviating descending scales, it is a funereal ode in memoriam to these two people who were dear to me. These two movements were created in 2019 at the Rainy Days festival in Luxembourg.

Like many others, it took me some time to understand what the general principles of a decent life conduct should be in face of the climate crisis, beyond local actions (drastically reducing flights or meat consumption, for example) and many contradictions. The third movement, “We are all accoutable for what we create, but also for what we destroy”, premiered at the Frakzionen Festival in Bielefeld in 2024, is a musical expression of this, with musical material which reflects this ethical accounting.