Gérard Grisey, Kwame Ryan, Ensemble Recherche – Grisey: Talea; Vortex Temporum – Music. Grisey was the initiator of spectral music (a name invented by . are based on slow-moving processes, later works like Talea () bring in a. Gérard Grisey was a twentieth-century French composer of contemporary classical music. Talea, for violin, cello, flute, clarinet, and piano (); Le temps et l’écume, for 4 percussionists, 2 synthesizers, and chamber orchestra ( –89).
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Few composers could claim to have initiated a whole style. Grisey was the initiator of spectral music a name invented by otherswhich, emerging in Paris in the s, reinserted harmony to post-tonal composition on a new footing.
A guide to Gérard Grisey’s music |
First lecture at the Darmstadt Summer Courses, telling his listeners about a new talra movement afoot in Paris. Grisey was raised in rural Belfort, near the West German and Swiss borders, as the only child of working-class parents. An accordion tqlea in his teens ranked as one of the best accordionists in the worldhe also excelled at school, and his Marianist education left him with a devout Catholic faith up till his early 20s.
After studies at the Hohner Academy in Trossingen, he entered the Paris Conservatoire, where he won all the main prizes, followed by a period at the Villa Medici and further studies in acoustics. Widely cultured — he spoke a few languages and was as knowledgeable about the art of the Quattrocento as about the culture of Ancient Egypt — Grisey retained from his early faith a tendency to the mystical, and he often couched his grusey in images of death.
In his teens Grisey taea becoming a composer as nothing less than a God-given vocation. This religious element aside, it is striking, when we read his student journal entries preserved at the Paul Sacher Foundation, where I studied themhow presciently he saw the musical style he would go on to create.
This latter quality is key: How, then, Grisey asked himself, to reintroduce dynamism into this post-tonal material? Grisey found his solution — and the basis of spectral music — quite by accident.
But where many of those imitators got caught up in the academic business of composing ever more complicated spectral chords, often lacking is the dramatic sense Grisey possessed.
Another long-term project of Grisey’s later years was to write music for solo voice. Though he is by turns cast as the latest composer in the French coloristic tradition, or as the heir to Boulez in radically rethinking musical composition from the foundations up, perhaps what is most notable about Grisey is the humanness of his art and the seriousness of his vocation.
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A guide to Gérard Grisey’s music
Skip to main content. Grisey timeline Studies at the Paris Conservatoire.
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