「Tristan Murail The Complete Piano Music」というCDの、作曲家トリスタン・ミュライユによる解説文。（演奏者はMarilyn Nonken）
演奏されたホールは、The University of Manchester Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall (2003.10.12)。
(調律師：Martin Locke +44 (0) 161 975 6060)
Can one still write for the piano today?
Through the 19th century and to the begining of the 20th it was the emblematic instrument, the composer's confidant;
but has it survived the array of tortures inflicted upon it by the end of the 20th century?
After the clusters of Henry Cowell, the preparations of John Cage, the ornithological percussions of Messiaen, the electrifiel mantras of Stockhausen, and the various scrapings and pinchings of strings, what space is left to the imagination?
I think that my responce, at first subconscious, but gradually more and more clearly articulated, has been to return to the true essence of the piano, to its acoustic realities, and to ignore the trivialities of fashion as well as the weight of history.
undoubtedly a percussion instrument, but above all a collection of vibrating strings, a vast reverberant chamber.
The vibration of piano strings is complex, the sound alive and varied as it resonates.
The resonating spectrum of the piano is particularly distinctive:
the low sounds especially are characterised by harmonic distortion (the partials of the sound are slightly too high in proportion to their harmonic rank).
This gives the piano a metallic and brilliant quality, lightly discordant in fact, 'inharmonic' to use a precise technical term.
After a performance of Les Travaux et les Jours by Marilyn Nonken, several composer colleagues expressed their astonishiment at having heard a 'microtonal', how do you write for question that is often asked of me is:
"Your harmonic writing is microtonal, how do you write for the piano, the perfect tempered instrument?"
My response is that although the piano is effectively tuned according to equal temperament because of our historical heritage, its sonorities, above all in the lowest register, are rich and complex, bursting with harmonics, and naturally untempered.
An illustration of the piano's acoustical reality can be heard at the end of Territoires de l'Oubli:
a low F and a middle register D sharp are repeated over and over;
from this F the seventh harmonic emerges clearly, a low D sharp.
This harmonic from the F excites the middle register D sharp which begins to vibrate strongly.
Even if in other contexts the phenomenon is less evident, this type of acoustic interference often modifies and enriches the colour of chords and allows the piano to work outside of its temperament.
My writing for the piano attempts therefore to rethink the interior of the piano - that is not to suggest that one plays inside the piano (all of my pieces only use the keyboard
in a traditional manner) but attempting to listen to the piano in the truth of its resonances.
'Rethinking' is not the same as starting from nothing, which is clearly impossible.
Comme un oeil...carries the influence of Messiaen;
the piece was written for the entrance exam of the Conservatoire National de Musique de Paris, therefore before my studies with Messiaen.
An allusion to the composer is found several years later and more consciously in Cloches d'adieu... written as a homage a little time after his death.
The 'bells' heard in the piece belong to the universe of spectral music and to that of Messiaen.
Estuaire was an attempt at appropriating the serial aesthetic for my own benefit;
I was trying to make it say something that it couldn't say:
coloured images, gestures, moving shapes.
The enterprise was paradoxical, and the result ambiguous, a transitional work.
After this i managed to completely liberate myself from the stylistic fashions of the day, with Territoires de l'Oubli, a piece truly written for the piano, by the piano.
The music is created from the way in which the instrument rings and resonates.
The virtuosic writing regers more to Liszt than to the composers of twentieth century.
Les Travaux et les Jours is connected in a certain way to Territoires de l'Oubli, but listening to the resonances of the piano in a different manner.
The work also looks to resolve a formal problem:
9 independent pieces, but minutely interwined.
The music revolves around a B-C tremolo and is supported on the resonance of a low F which is only unveiled right at the end of the cycle;
as in Territoires de l'Oubli, allowing the loop to be closed... for now.
@2005 Tristan Murail (translated from the French by Sadie Harrison)