Un brasier d’étoiles, is a song cycle for soprano and piano

Poems by Alain Borne

 

1. Il était un

2. Le rien de mon amour

3. Je viendrai

4. Dis-moi

5. Sous la chevelure

6. J’ai pensé à toi

7. Mes mains

8. J’ai vécu

 

 

 

In 2008, Marion Liotard asked me to write a song cycle for soprano and piano on the theme of love … I was excited to write melodies for soprano and piano but I still had reserves on the theme. I did not want to compose sappy and corny music… I thus looked for poems that would reveal every facet of the word “Love”, in joy but in sorrow too …

It is the discovery of Alain Borne’s poems that convinced me. I discovered poems of a rare intensity. I found in Alain Borne’s poems what truly represents to me the word “Love” : joy, happiness but also pain, anguish, jealousy … The love that fills … the love that tears …

“Alain Borne expresses a symbiosis between erotic quest and desire for lovemaking. He enrolls love in the heart of humanity, love and death feed off each other and the work builds on the close territories. The woman appears as the one thought that can give life to the poet, even with the price of pain “(Philippe Biget).

I worked in a way that my music would reflect the words of Alain Borne: in the heart of the storm of feelings, that invades our emotions, that burns our eyes, that is devoured by brutality and soothed with sweetness … A cycle of 8 melodies of almost 40 minutes, where I transfer into music deep sentiment and poetic intensity.


Nothing had the lasting and controversial effect that the composer Lionel Ginoux had on me that evening. His work remains with me.

Ginoux’s music has the clout to disturb, stimulates the senses, to revive our acumen. His work is very unsettling.

The works of Lionel Ginoux will one day rank with the greatest. He has a rare gift.

press quote

 

Chronique de Larry Ware — octobre 2013

I was served with many choice pieces. All somehow touched on various facets of love, both requited and unrequited: transcendent and positive love in Poulenc,  sharing in Straus, perseverance and joy in Ravel, aspiration in Gounod, caprice in Kalman, and humorous pathos in Offenbach.
Messager, Donizetti, Bizets were provided in brilliant duets where the young Jennifer Michel (soprano) and Philippe Nicolas Martin (baritone), offered the audience, as they did elsewhere throughout the evening, vocal moments of “duende”.

But, all of these pieces were classic, part of our musical collective unconscious. And, despite the impressive and at times innovative interpretations by the three gifted  artists, nothing had the lasting and controversial effect that the composer Lionel Ginoux had on me that evening.

I felt relaxed, my eyes were closed following Poulenc’s  “Les Chemins de lAmour” when the first clap of thunder descended upon me.

I was startled, shaken from my momentary torpor. My eyes flashed open and my ears went on the defensive. Whereas Poulenc had rocked my senses into languorous bliss, this music made them stand to attention.  What followed was to put it all too mildly, both exasperating and exhilarating

Up until now, I can still not put my finger on what makes Lionel Ginoux’s music so incredibly potent, so annoyingly different. He takes you to plains beyond normal comprehension and there he suspends you in a limbo of discordant inquiry. The strains emanated from the electrifying finger tips of one of the most talented pianists I have had the pleasure to listen to in a while. How this striking young lady was able to convey Lionel’s thunderous inspiration to the piano keys and on to us is and will probably remain a mystery. Yet, she “transmitted” each surging note with the precision of a sharpshooter. The echo of each note seemed to resonate throughout the hall, like the stomp of a finally polished boot, leaving one with an initial sense of foreboding.

And, then Jennifer Michel’s graced the stage with the ephemeral beauty of her inimitable voice and momentarily appeased my senses. However, she did not totally relax my initial sense of dread. On the contrary she allowed that emotion to linger marginally palpable, enveloping us in significance both intangible and portentous. Her plaintive voice had the faculty to both soothe and jolt our reason.

The music is stringent, severe, and inflexible. It is post-modern. It speaks to our fears, but not only. As in the countless facets of contemporaneous love, Ginoux evokes the trials and tribulations of life today, offering fleeting intermissions of promise.  It is honest.

Of all the remarkable compositions and flawless interpretations I experienced that evening, his work remains with me. To me, an admitted neophyte in the realm of music, what is important in any art is that it is able to brand your inner senses, that it can  alter your perceptions, that is has the capacity to take you to places that one would usually hesitate to venture.

Ginoux’s music may, by some, be shuttled to the side and termed “some kind of “jazzified classicism”. But, that would be a regrettable oversimplification. True, it is difficult to fathom, it is new, different and irritates the sensibilities of those more attuned to “classic” music. It has the clout to disturb, stimulates the senses, to revive our acumen. His work is very unsettling.

Just prior to the First World War, another young composer created a novel genre of music. When it was presented to the public in Paris, his work all but emptied the concert hall. There was an indignant uproar. The audience was used to another kind of music. The tonality, the meter, the rhythm, the stress and even the dissonance clashed with conventional standards. Paris was perturbed. Paris was scandalized. Seven years later it was a hit, the composer was famous and today it is reputed to be one of the most recorded works in classical repertoire. I refer to  Igor Stavinsky’s  disturbing and visionary «Rites of Spring”. 

The works of Lionel Ginoux will one day rank with the greatest. He has a rare gift and it deserves to be recognized. That is the contentious wish of a proclaimed neophyte.
Larry Ware

 

Les Chroniques de Benito Pelegrin – Janvier 2012

It is not every day that we have the privilege of witnessing the premiere of a melodies cycle. It is nevertheless the gift offered to the public of Marseille, in the Parvis des Arts, by the young composer Lionel Ginoux, with the smiling complicity of the pianist Marion Liotard and the soprano Cynthia Ranguis, both interpreters and dedicators of Un Brasier d’étoiles. This is the title of these eight melodies by Alain Borne set to music by Ginoux. (…) This talented young man, without denying the timeless classical musical heritage, incorporates contributions from the music of our time, from his time, including jazz.
Here, his melodies cycle was compared, echoing, with great melodies of the repertoire, nothing less than Henri Duparc and Claude Debussy. (…) It was dangerous to put in parallel a new creation with giant creators of the past, at the risk of the comparison between the masters and the proclaimed disciple. But we will salute the boldness or unconsciousness, but above all the beautiful honesty of this youngster who does not hide his ancient and eternal sources.
But if he exposed himself, it was probably less than his vocal interpreter, the soprano Cynthia Ranguis, subjected to the test of great classics (…) and the no less demanding of a creation that solicited much on all her long tessitura, often in strength and high in full voice.
She gave its measure in the creation of the melodies by Ginoux, this Un Brasier d’étoiles, sombre harmonies, dissonances, sometimes jazzy treatment of the piano, violent vibrations of the bass, big broths of arpeggios, obstinate trills, on a cantabile vocal line sometimes bristling treble as the frozen ridges of a tormented sea. Apart from the melody 4, « Dis-moi …”, of an intimate delicacy, Debussy by the transparent color and the simple line of the voice and the piano dreamy, and the 6, holed with strange silences, the whole has a kind of violence that does not exclude the sensual languor sometimes but sounds funereal like the 8, with the long vocal vocal, tragic (« J’ai vécu sans amour comme vivent les pierres…”).
Thus, compared to the great predecessors claimed, this music is contemporary since today. Modern? The concept has little meaning since it is known that continuous human and artistic progress is a generous myth of the « Lumières ». Today, we admit, there are no more avant-gardes, who were always outdated: the post-modern artist takes his property where he finds it (as was always the case), but in the ironic consciousness of the vanity of pretended progress in art. Contemporary is what interests me, whether it is the caves of Lascaux to a futuristic creation of yesterday.
The pianist Marion Liotard, trained in the subtlety of the accompaniment, was like a fish in the water from the beginning to the end: Argentinian sparkling or infinite runoff, a rare delicacy of touch in the Invitation au voyage to the Un Brasier d’étoiles and its shadowy, stormy fulgurances, captain unrolling and unfurling the almost Wagnerian, orchestral waves of this Ginoux piano, conceived to his measure and to the wide range of his talent.
Benito Pelegrin

instrumentation

1 soprano
1 piano

details

duration 38′

premiere 10 july 2010
Cynthia Ranguis, soprano
Marion Liotard, piano

audio

Jennifer Michel, soprano
Marion Liotard, piano

video

 

 

Il était un

 

Sous la chevelure

 

J’ai pensé à toi

performance

last performnce 8 october 2016 Limoges Opera House
Jennifer Michel, soprano
Marion Liotard, piano