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16/05/1991 - Maison de Radio-France, Paris - Nicolas Miribel (violin)
La nef des fous was written over two days (26 and 27 March 1991) for reasons otherwise unconcerned with composition. I must say that I found the experience both interesting and particularly illuminating on certain characteristics of my personal compositional style, which were, one might say, excavated and measured both in and by the unusual circumstances under which I was working.
The basic material is very simple and immediately obvious: regularly ascending and then descending figures autodestruct, thereby generating, at irregular intervals, "special cases" in the form of irrational coruscations.
The piece, which stands as a simple, single unit devoid of all formal constraints, finally takes its place as the cadence of a concerto which has yet to be imagined.
Its title is an intended allusion to the painting by Hieronymus Bosch, both to his good-natured fantasy of course, and to that pessimistic critical streak which one notices on closer examination. Another reference though to the subversive Sebastian Brandt is, I now see, a more determining influence on this work as well as on later compositions.
This piece is dedicated to the violinist Nicolas Miribel who gave its first performance.
translated by Mary Criswick
Composer Brice Pauset was born in Besançon in 1965, and started his musical education by learning the piano, violin and harpsichord before turning to composition. In 1994 he was awarded a grant by the Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet Foundation and became a student at Ircam from 1994 to 1996. [...]