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Wood and bones

  • Category / Instrument : Cello
  • Genre : contemporary
  • Sortiment : Score
  • Number of pages : 19
  • Format : 24 x 32 cm
  • Publisher : Lemoine
  • Code : 29494
  • Published : 03/01/2020
  • ISBN / ISMN : 9790230994941


15/02/2020 - Paris, Festival Présences, Radio France - Eric-Maria Couturier (cello)


Radio France pour le Festival Présences 2020


for Eric-Maria Couturier



« In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery. »

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Wood and bones is constructed in two rhythmic and gestual movements separated by a short moment of suspended sounds. The first movement explore pizzicati (played on the left hand at the same time as the bow col legno battuto) and glissandi obtained with a bottleneck.
Then it developes a small dance of bones, made with col legno battuto behind the bridge and harmonic pizzicati on the left hand : something not common for a cellist because it implies independence of hands. The second rhythmic movement is a very gestual and physic music, made of col legno battuto sounds, hit on the "tasto" part, bow rebounds, "taping" of left hand. Between these two movements, a short moment explore the open strings and the harmonics of the cello in a large single sentence. There is, in Wood and bones, a special scordatura which makes some strange harmonics possible: C / F♯ / C♯ / A. Wood and bones would be like the music of an unknown ritual. It summons wooden materials - the wood we hit to summon spirits -, and rattling of bones - bones we agitate to keep the fate at bay. Is Wood and Bones the end of one world ?
It seems to be saying that no bow game is possible, no lyricism. In this music, there is no "human voice", it has disappeared. There is no lyrical phrase, no melody that a bow would make vibrate, almost no note played such as memory keeps track of a bygone era. Is this to say that there is no more music possible? On the contrary, it seems that on this ground of negativity grows an ignored expressiveness made up of obstinate pulsations, fast rhythms and improbable timbres: bouncing bows, pizzicati of harmonics, striking the hand with the key, "taping" and "bottleneck" (specific to popular guitar); so many unsuspected gestures that go back to primitive sources: rhythm and its cathartic powers, virtuosity. A different world appears, stemming from a very personal fiction, where encounter vestiges, ruins, a world looked in front, a primitive world which contains the possibility of another sensitivity. « Death is just a passage, say the shamans. After death, existence continues as before. The world just looks more twilight. » 1

Jérôme Combier

(1) Dondog, Antoine Volodine, Le Seuil Editions, 2002, Paris, cover page



Jérôme Combier studied composition, style, analysis, and orchestration with Hacène Larbi, and then later, in 1997, at the Paris Conservatory with Emmanuel Nunes and Michaël Lévinas. In addition, his university studies lead to a master's degree on Anton Webern with mentor Antoine Bonnet [...]


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