The mélodie française, a purely French genre, is the fruit of a collaboration between a poet and a composer of romantic music. Its origin goes back to the époque of courtly love; troubadours from the North of France, and minstrels and jugglers from the South of France used to sing these love poems in one of two languages: The Northerners in the Occitan language (langue d’oc) and the Southerners in ancient French (langue d’oïl). They wandered all around the country and thus became an essential part of French culture.
The perfection of vocal artistry, rather than instrumental quality, was their main priority. The accompaniment was performed by a lute, a viol, or simply omitted. The monotonous chant defined the melody; the generous élan proper to the knighthood announced a precious allegory.
At the end of the 18th century, the pianoforte appeared, and having developed rapidly, gave birth to the modern piano afterwards. The pianoforte allowed the performer to hold the notes longer, to have a stronger sound, and then to extinguish it carefully. The complexity and the expressivity of the musical works conceived by composers increased gradually. The human voice became a veritable musical instrument, and French music was the perfect ingredient for the refinement of the French mélodie genre.
Three French composers compete in this release in virtuosity, originality and modernity: Hector Berlioz (1803-1869), Charles Gounod (1818-1893), and Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924). They found inspiration in the romantic poets and conceived a unique repertoire for voice and piano, sometimes defined as “salon music” by the bourgeoisie of their time. Their works epitomize the genre of the French mélodie, whose tradition has remained alive for two centuries.
Portrait - Barne Hegoak - Félix Ibarrondo (OR 5008 - 1077)
Category: Contemporary music, XXth century - CD
Portrait - Barne Hegoak
7. D´UN SOUFFLE
"When art is grand, vocabulary takes a back seat"
“Cuando el arte es elevado, el vocabulario pasa a segundo plano"
Just as the waves of the sea mold the cliffs of the Basque coast, the music of Félix Ibarrondo emerges chiseled in primal sounds. His work mirrors the momentum and passion of a sincere and vital temperament: Northern. His aesthetics get born as an allegory of nature and combines introspection with vehemence and determination without ambiguity. A powerful and sweeping rhythmic feeling articulates the speech of the composer, stripped of the accessory of the artifices, to distil the essentials. The ancestral roots of Iberian culture arise in a “bruitist” primitivism that flows in the context of a refined timbral sensitivity. This expressive grammar, with beautiful contrasts and accents (like the language of Euskal Herria), confers an unmistakable stamp to his production, away from fashions or schools.
When reading a score of the oñatiarra his extraordinary technique is distinguished for being able to translate the phrasing the same way a conductor feels the musical gesture. This peculiarity indicates a very precise inner listening of the author and an effectiveness in his writing portentously grounded (it does not seem accidental to have grown up in a family where conductors abound). The harmonic, timbre, metric and agogic modulations in his works respond to an absolutely organic and instinctive conception of the striations of time, as it happens in the proportions of vegetables or in the fractal growth of mountain chains and rivers or in erosion patterns of rocks. Thus, emotion and technique are mysteriously overlapped and, in Ibarrondo's words, "they transcend any analysis, any explanation, and consequently, they make art what it is. That inexplicable thing was already necessary for the prehistoric human beings. That inexplicable thing makes our existence more meaningful and, at times, it relieves the difficulties of being."
Nacho de Paz
Born in Oñate (Gipuzkoa) in 1943 in a family of musicians, he learned harmony and counterpoint from his father. He studied composition, piano and organ in Bilbao and San Sebastián at the same time as philosophy and theology. At the age of 26, he moved to Paris where he established contact with Olivier Messiaen and Henri Dutilleux, who became his beloved Master at the École Normale. With Max Deutsch he delved into the technique of counterpoint and the structural rigor inherited from the Second Viennese School. Although Ibarrondo's language never followed the path initiated by Schoenberg, the formal cohesion and the constructivist thought of his work benefited greatly from this rich formative stage.
The friendship with Mauricio Ohana and Francisco Guerrero was also decisive in shaping his artistic and human personality. Both shared with Ibarrondo aesthetic postures that broadened his musical imaginary.