Thursday, August 5, 2021

“Trinité” - a new CD of works by Ofer Pelz. Instrumental timbres meet electro-acoustic sounds celebrating an eight-year collaboration with the Meitar Ensemble (Israel)

© Mathieu Boris (Mateo)


“Trinité”, a new disc of works by Ofer Pelz, celebrates eight years of collaboration between the composer and the Meitar Ensemble (Israel), the latter having commissioned two of the works recorded some works on the disc, having performed all of them widely. Known for combining diverse instruments and electro-acoustic elements, composer/pianist/improviser Ofer Pelz launches his second solo album. The pieces are conducted by André Valade (conductor-in-residence of the Meitar Ensemble), Guy Feder and Renaud Déjardin, with Quatuor Ardeo joining the Meitar Ensemble in the disc’s final work. As to the title of the CD, it is taken from a work of the same name by Montreal-based French artist Mateo as seen on the cover. 


“Backward Inductions”, originally composed for French-American pianist Julia Den-Boer, was revised for Amit Dolberg (Meitar Ensemble) in 2019; Dolberg performs it here. Written for augmented piano with other percussive objects and instruments, besides the piano, triggered by the amplification system, the work is characteristic of Pelz’ concept of “unstable repetition”. It comprises several sections, each a series of mostly filigree-light, staccato textures, busy and energetic, an entertaining and whimsical game of hide-and-seek punctuated by small fragments of “afterthoughts”, each featherweight section concluding with a gesture of grandiloquent rhetoric. Many of us will remember the concentration required as children when playing Chinese whispers at birthday parties and how the message whispered from one child to another ends up different to how it started out. In ”Chinese Whispers”, for flute, clarinet, violin, ‘cello, prepared piano and amplification, Pelz invites the listener to follow the subtle changes each section undergoes. Would it not suffice just to sit back and bask in the myriad of diaphanous timbres teasing and tantalizing the aural senses? No. You are here to participate -  to examine, identify and codify the instrumental and other sounds - a rewarding pursuit asking to be undertaken several times, its call to discover having no boundaries.


In “Convergence”, alto flute (Roy Amotz, Meitar Ensemble) and electronics take the listener on a glorious, evocative, otherworldly journey through Ofer Pelz’ experiment in segmented sound. In his liner notes, the composer mentions the genesis of the piece as a “metaphor of the natural bouncing of a rubber material”. Written in collaboration with Paolo Vignaroli, who contributed to the electro-acoustic part, flute and the more urgent breath-related mix-processed sounds exist together or as separate entities in delicate sonority; they present a small marching song, then to culminate in one extended sonority. 


“marchons, marchons”, scored for flute, clarinet, violin, ‘cello and prepared piano (Meitar Ensemble, conductor: Pierre Andre Calade) was recorded live at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 2017. It was commissioned by Expo Milano 2015, this controversial world fair’s theme being “Feeding the Planet. Energy for Life”. Pelz adds his own social and political criticism via the message conveyed by bloody, bellicose elements in the texts of the “Marseillaise” and that of an Israeli national song, A composition disturbing both in content and performance, one that will leave no listener on the outside, it begins with a series of separate, thought-provoking phrases rich in timbres and motifs, with the strings then sallying in with a strongly-coloured, intense and vehement section, compellingly indignant and enraged, the work ending in the eerie, hushed  sounds of aftershock. In ”Blanc sur blanc”, for flute, clarinet, prepared piano and amplified string quartet, Pelz explores “the flexibility of time, stretching and compressing it with the use of repetitions and loops”, this piece also having been inspired by two illustrative images as described by the composer in the liner notes. It falls into two movements. A most attractive piece, the First Movement, ebullient in instrumental colour and hopping along with some jazzy rhythmical associations, then to move on to a calmer “aside” of breathy and percussive effects before returning to a high-energy section, the piano’s descending bass 4-note half-tone motif book-ending the movement. As to the Epilogue, it is wrought of long, vibrant sonorities made of lines of close intervals, continuously drawing the listener into its processes and “events”. 


In the composer’s words: “When I write, I begin from a world of sounds that I imagine, I try to observe the same sounds from several kinds of perspective: slowly, quickly, from nearby, from a distance, from the side...and I will try to incorporate a part of these perspectives.” Produced for New Focus Recordings, what stands out in all the works heard on “Trinité” are the aesthetic beauty of Ofer Pelz’ compositional style,  the fine detail and commitment that go into producing music of this quality. Born in Israel in 1978, Pelz  studied composition, music theory and music technology in Jerusalem, Paris, and Montreal. Today, Ofer Pelz makes his home in Montreal, Canada.





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