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Transcendent or immanent – Ensemble Variances

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“Science without religion is paralysed, religion without science is blind’’, according to Albert Einstein. With this thought in mind, the ensemble compiled a programme featuring composers who have found inspiration in nature, the cosmos, ancient Indian practices and religious images.

Ensemble Variances wishes to demonstrate that, in spite of our tendency to explain everything on the basis of our scientific knowledge, we always keep searching for something larger than ourselves. Whether we do so in meditation, research or music, we all have the same desire in common.

The programme is constructed around two works: Raphaël Languillat’s Crucifixion (d’après Le Pérugin) and Thierry Pécou’s Méditation sur la fin de l’espèce.

In Crucifixion (d’après Le Pérugin) Gaudeamus Award nominee Raphaël Languillat takes Perugino’s Renaissance fresco of the Crucifixion of Christ as his source of inspiration, and accompanies you on a contemplative journey in sound and images.

In Méditation sur la fin de l’espèce Thierry Pécou encrypts recordings of sounds of nature into his music. He uses, for example, fascinating whale songs. In his music Pécou evokes the vulnerability of human existence in relation to the immense cosmos.

Danse en cercle, a solo work for timpani, is another of Pécou’s creations. In this he follows a very different path, that of the circle dances of Native American tribes. In their culture the circle symbolises the cosmos, the creation and life itself. The dance is a celebration of all these aspects, and Pécou turns it into a thrillingly rhythmical piece.

John Luther Adams created The Light Within ​​following a ‘revelation of light’ during a visit to an installation by James Turrell.

The programme also features a new work by the promising French composer Jonathan Bell which Ensemble Variances has commissioned him to write.

Photo © Charlotte Abramow

Ensemble Variances
Anssi Karttunen - cello solo

Raphaël LanguillatCrucifixion (d’après Le Pérugin)
Thierry Pécou - Méditation sur la fin de l’espèce
Thierry Pécou - Danse en cercle
John Luther Adams - The Light Within 
Jonathan Bell -  new work

Download the programme notes