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Grisey - Les Espaces acoustiques

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Product details

  • Audio CD (11 Aug. 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Accord
  • ASIN: B00004VMCL
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 96,794 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Prologue
2. Periodes
3. Partiels
Disc: 2
1. Modulations
2. Transitoires
3. Epilogue

Product Description

I will ship by EMS or SAL items in stock in Japan. It is approximately 7-14days on delivery date. You wholeheartedly support customers as satisfactory. Thank you for you seeing it.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By HJ on 14 April 2008
Format: Audio CD
I know the French spectralist composers have been much discussed in classical new music circles for a long time but Grisey's music has only started to "crossover" to a general audience recently & there now seems to be quite a cult growing up around his work. It might be that Grisey represents a more accessible development out of the post war avant garde (Stockhausen, Boulez) but one which avoids falling into the postmodern, minimalist or new age camps which became so dominant in the 1980s & 90s and which now seem so very tired & stale.
As a general or "lay" listener I don't really understand spectralist theory but Grisey's music seems to be based on investigating the properties of sound itself and shaping layers of sound. Basically the result sounds like electronic music but played on conventional instruments. It is therefore, to me, a little reminiscent of early Stockhausen orchestral pieces like Gruppen, Carre and Mixtur and, like Stockhausen, the music is abstract yet highly personal, driven & clearly visionary - but more accessible with, dare I say, a French romantic or impressionist flavour (a touch of Messiaen?).
This double CD set of Grisey's best known work Les espaces acoustiques is a great introduction to the broad scope of his music. The 6 compositions work individually but also form a cycle. The first movement is a 17 minute wandering prelude for solo viola, then a small ensemble of seven string/brass joins in for the second movement in which the thematic development starts to cohere. The next three pieces Partiels, Modulations, Transitoires are concise but major works and sees the ensemble gradually expand into a full orchestra, so there is a sense of development, the music becoming progressively more dramatic.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Warning: may change the way you think about music forever 29 July 2008
By Christopher Culver - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Gerard Grisey was one of the founders of the spectralist school of composers, who sought a way of writing music based upon the character of sound itself, throwing off the arbitrariness of 12-tone serialism and seeking harmonies even more consonant than common-practice tonality. "We are musicians, and our model is sound and not literature, sound and not mathematics, sound and not theatre, or fine arts, quantum physics, geology, astrology, or acupuncture," Grisey wrote. LES ESPACES ACOUSTIQUES is a cycle of six works the composer wrote early in his career, from 1974 to 1985. They serve as his masterpiece, a credo of the spectralist approach to composition, and they may even change the way you think about music forever.

The cycle begins small, with each movement bringing in ever larger forces, and there's a great deal of theatricality in live performance. In then "Prologue", a solo viola explores variations of a little melodic cell, from the purest overtones to transitions to noise. Grisey pulls so many sounds out of the instrument that its 18-minute length doesn't get tiring at all, but rather leaves the listener awestruck. As the violist completes his piece by playing on an open string, ostentatiously retuning as he walks over to the waiting ensemble, seven players strike up the eery opening notes of "Periodes", the second piece of the cycle. This movement explores the contrasts between clockwork periodicity and more supple rhythms suggestive of human breathing. Musical time was to become the major concern of Grisey's late career, but it was present even here in this earliest of his acknowledged pieces.

"Periodes" concludes with a trombone blast, and the ensemble expands to eighteen musicians to make this the first sound of the third movement, "Partiels". This is my favourite of the cycle for its extremely elegant construction. Using a device called a sonogram in the days before computers, Grisey "decomposed" the sound of a trombone playing an E into its constituent parts, comparing their amplitudes (the fundamental is rather quiet, while the fifth and ninth partials are loudest), and then distributing these parts to string instruments playing harmonics. What you have, then, is successive trombone intonations being imitated by a team of other instruments, but in slow motion. This may sound gimmicky, but the result is really a glorious halo of sound.

In a concert, there would be an intermission right about now, so everything moves to silence before the next movement, "Modulations" for 33 players. Here everything is "in flux", with the instrumentalists dancing around the overtone spectrum of the low E, with even richer contrasts of periodicity and aperiodicity. Towards the end, all of the sudden an entire orchestra picks up the music, creating a temporary amplification of "Modulations" and leading into the last great part of the cycle, "Transitoires". This awesome movement, with vast batteries of percussion, is rich in polyphonies where spectra are explored as far as the 55th partial. Various performers combine their forces to create synthesizer-like sounds out of mere acoustic instrumentation. The piece winds down with "Epilogue", which returns to the soundworld of "Prologues" but with the forces of a full orchestra and four solo horns. There's also a use of electric guitar (remarkably similar to Gubaidulina's "Zeitgestalten").

Grisey's music is as tonal as can be. It will not necessarily appeal to the conservatives whose preferences run from Bach to Brahms, but nonetheless for open-minded listeners, even those who approach modern music with some trepidation, I cannot recommend LES ESPACES ACOUSTIQUES enough. The organic nature of the music--sounds born out of silence, interacting as if living beings, breathing, expanding, and eventually dying--makes it a soul-stirring work to listen to. It will also encourage one to start paying more attention to issues of tuning in general, which will enable a more richer understanding of music in all its forms, from Western music of the Classical era to exotic indigenious traditions around the globe. Like Per Norgard's Symphony No. 3 with its vision of cosmic unity, Grisey's great cycle gives one an exciting view of a universe in perfect order, after which the listener may never be the same again.

Note that there are two extant recordings of LES ESPACES ACOUSTIQUES. This Amazon listing describes an Accord release featuring the Ensemble Court-Circuit, experts in the spectralist school. It is certainly the recording to get. There's another recording on Kairos, but I find the work less confidently performed there.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Extraordinary... 13 Nov. 2011
By D. Maunders - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This 2-CD release of Les Espaces Acoustiques contains what I consider the definitive performance of Grisey's music so far. The only issue I have is that the CD was edited (?) very poorly, with tracks beginning a second or two after each piece begins. This means, for example, that to get the full effect of 'Partiels', one must skip to track 3 and then rewind back into the end of track 2 to hear the initial attack of the piece. While there are no problems when listening straight through, if one wishes to listen to an individual piece separately, one must waste time fumbling with a remote. I'm amazed no one caught this. Pretty basic stuff.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Good stuff 19 Jun. 2015
By WJB - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I found the pieces on these two disks to be engrossing modern works that I will revisit fairly often.
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