13/11/2004 - Köln (Germany) - Ensemble Modern Frankfurt, Kasper de Roo (conductor)
Does speed in music help precision? Does it sweep away any question? Would it not be akin to a silence resulting from centrifugal forces? I have long wondered whether speed participated in erasure or whether instead it was a slope leading certain composers to a sort of Edenic stasis - a definitive tranquillo that would be a "beyond-tempo". Like a torrent in spate, fast music annexes every idea in a dizzying motion. It can also allow for wandering off the point. This is the marginalia effect.
In Rescousse, I let this movement of contamination of ideas play by indexing to each of the 19 linked sequences an idea that I had noted down in the margin of my music readings. Those are, in no particular order: averse by the American poet Susan Howe, an Arab mode, a Hindu rhythm, a Greek rhythm, yet others by Ravel and Messiaen, a chord from Bruckner, an old English song, an Ethiopian lullaby, a Techno bass line, a page by Lachenmann (the 1st of Movement), a hymn composed by the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, etc. At the centre of the form is a divertimento on the "Nancarrow principle" drawn from Study 4. Nancarrow: the musician who, perforating time with so many holes, sought to recompose the prestissimo, millimetre by millimetre and make the heterogeneous crash up against the limits of the possible. In his player-piano sheet, everything is both margin (track) and body of the text. No idea is secondary, and all are simultaneously secondary. It is to that fever of idea-devouring energy that Rescousse is dedicated, to a non-achievable dream of restraining chaos. "Rescousse" means helping or assisting, most often in a determined, fast, even rushed motion. The complete expression - "aller, ou appeler à la rescousse" (go or call for help) - is used rather in old military vocabulary, implying to set an ally free or retrieve property that was seized by force.
translated by John Tyler Tuttle