Cinq Ètudes De Bruits 1948


Etude 1
Déconcertante ou Etude aux Tourniquets

The sonic material fort his study was provided by exotic and non-exotic thin-metal instruments, wooden percussion, and two whirligigs which supply two characteristics musical figures. A certain abstract organization, suggested by the form of an initial composition by Gaston Litaize, was planned fort his study. The techniques used, however, led away from the execution of that plan, which was ultimately considered too brief. The principal themes were played at 33 RMP and a certain number of rhythmic figures were isolated with the intent of creating a fuller orchestration.

Etude 2
Imposée ou Etude aux Chemins de Fer

The railroad theme is treated freely in the first part, which contains numerous rhythmic developments. The first part is a bit like a theme and variations; then the second part, still made up of the same elements, moves with determination away from the anecdotal character of the noises. At the end, a coda recalls the initial theme.

Etude 3
Conertante ou Etude pour Orchestre

In answer to Etude 1, called Déconcertante, which followed the idea of an initial score, Etude 3, called Concertante, takes at its basic material a few moments of an orchestra surprised in the act of tuning. A series of freeform manipulations of this initial recording brings out a very large variety of ideas that were initially provided by chance, then chosen from among the possibilities, than composed. An orchestration was thus born, which very naturally led to a dialogue with a concertino instrument. It ist J.J. Grunewald who interacts with this reorganized orchestra through a series of piano improvisations. The Etude consists of four movements. In this composition, which was purposefully based on a limited selection of raw material, it is no surprising to fnd a concentration on a tonality based on A, with a certain number of modulations to G due to the 33 RPM.

Etude 4
Composée ou Etude au Piano

Whereas the Etude called „Imposed or Railroad Study“ is based on natural sound which are difficult to use in composing, Etude 4 or „Composed“ illustrates rather brilliantly the process defined by the term „musique concrète“. The whole study that we’re going to hear has, as its only source, the noises and sounds that can be derived from a piano. Particular attention was paid to excluding all normal ways of playing the piano, not from principle but to make the demonstration more vivid. This composition was based on the „closed groove“ technique; it consists of isolating sound fragments or rhythmic figures in different tempos and at different pitches, to be used structurally with different techniques: reverberation, reverse playback, etc. the Etude includes a first rhythmic movement, followed by a melodically slow movement, then a reprise of rhythmic variations, again cut off by a slow motif based on musical ideas in three opposing ranges. The Etude concludes with a rhythmic reprise that recalls the initial tempo.

Etude 5
Pathétique ou Etude aux Casseroles

After a short opening from one then two rolling boxes, an opposing slow theme brings out a rhythmic leitmotif that continues until the end. Then vocal elements appear, treated in such a basic way as to conserve the same rigorous character in the entire sonic ensemble. After a crescendo sustained by tonal ritornelli, a diminuendo leads to the conclusion, which is given, of course, to a rolling box. Due to the composer’s ignorance of customary action in this situation, he believes that it is indispensable to mention that he is working with voices found on a disc that had been thrown away and where the only identifable voice is hat of the marvelous comedian Sacha Guitry.