LA FILLE DÉRIVÉE - the artist and his model VI


sextet for flute/bass flute, oboe/cor anglais/, clarinet, violoncello, percussion (cabasa, triangle, two nipple gongs, two woodblocks, vibraphone) and piano (also playing sandpaper blocks with resonating boxes)

commissioned by First Nights 2012, Harvard University, with support of the Fromm Foundation

duration: ca. 11 minutes

Lineage: Robert Burns’ 18th-century poem “Lassie w’ the lint-white locks” inspired Charles Marie René Leconte de Lisle’s 19th-century poem “La fille aux cheveux de lin”, which Claude Debussy set to music in an unpublished 1882 song. Debussy later borrowed the title of Leconte de Lisle’s poem (and the key of his early song) for his piano prélude “... La fille aux cheveux de lin”, published in 1910 as No. 8 from Book 1 of his Préludes. Alfred Cortot recorded the work in London on 2 July 1931, and in 1991 this recording was re-issued on compact disc as Biddulph LHW 006. The Artist and his Model I-VI are all based on precise micro-temporal measurements of Cortot's recording. These measurements were carried out by the composer, graciously assisted by Olivier Senn, at Harvard University during the summer months of 2010.

La fille dérivé culminates the series of the six works in series The Artist and his Model. The hissing sound of the recording cylinder in the original Cortot recording is microtimed and transcribed, as are other artefacts of the source. In addition, repeated melodies in the Debussy/Cortot material are superimposed upon one another — parts of the piece are heard before they arrive. In the center of the piece, the hissing sound is inserted into rhythm of the pitch material. 

See more about microtiming & composition

excerpt from a rehearsal take performed by Sound Icon, conducted by Jeffrey Means