Revue Blanche

programs

Misia

program

Auric *

Six Poèmes De Paul Éluard

Durey *

Six Madrigaux De Mallarmé

Casella *

L’adieu À La Vie

IV Dans Une Salutation Suprême

Ravel **

Sonatine

Duparc 

Extase

Satie *

Trois Morceaux En Forme De Poire

Manière De Commencement

En Plus

Satie *

Daphanéo

De Sévérac *

Les Hiboux

Temps De Neige

L’infidèle

Un Rêve

* Arr.: Frederik Neyrinck
** Arr.: Skaila Kanga
 

Misia Sert (1872-1950) was once known as ‘the Queen of the Paris salons’, but also of broken dreams and turbulent loves. Her glorious and tragic life inspired countless artists, from Proust and Renoir to Diaghilev and Coco Chanel. From Belgian-Polish descent, Misia was a key figure in the French music world at the beginning of the 20th century, but this flamboyant personality is all but known to today’s audiences.

For the development of the musical narrative 'Misia & Katharina', Revue Blanche collaborated with radio host Katharina Smets. It soon became clear that there was a treasure trove of unknown but highly interesting songs with a direct link to Misia Sert. Musicologist Sofie Taes was our guide on this quest. 'Misia' is a purely musical homage to this quintessential muse. The fall of 2021 has seen the release of the CD on the Antarctica label.

Gestillte Sehnsucht

program

Brahms *

Clarinet trio op. 114

Adagio

Brahms *

Zwei Gesänge op. 91

Gestillte Sehnsucht

Geistliches Wiegenlied

Eisler **

Dunkler Tropfe

Tanzlied der Rosetta

Der Tod had die Menschen müde getrieben

Nun ist ein Tag zu Ende

Strauss *

Mädchenblumen op. 22

Kornblumen

Mohnblumen

Epheu

Wasserrose

Strauss *

4 Lieder op. 27

Morgen 

Grieg ***

Sechs Deutsche Lieder

Gruss

Dereinst, Gedanke mein

Lauf der Welt

Die verschwiegene Nachtigall

Zur Rosenzeit

Ein Traum

* Arr.: Jelle Tassyns
** Arr.: Frederik Neyrinck
*** Arr.: Koenraad Sterckx

Seen through Revue Blanche’s kaleidoscope, music from the German Romantic era appears not as a monolithic mass but as a whirl of colors, impressions and emotions. Passion, fragility and unfulfilled desire were never caught in music with more precision and pungency than by Johannes Brahms. Hanns Eisler, in turn, forged sounds of distress, desperation and darkness into music shimmering with energy. Richard Strauss takes the bittersweet sensation of yearning and urgent escapism to the zenith in Morgen: a craving for eternal bliss. In Mädchenblumen, a bouquet of metaphors attempts to capture the essence of the woman: mild and serene as the cornflower, cheerfully sweeping like the poppy, mythical and fragile as the water lily. Grieg, too, lent his ear to the muse to whom so many romantic geniuses succumbed: love.

Debussy - Van Parys

program

Debussy *

Trois chansons de Bilitis

Van Parys

Harp Trio

Debussy

Beau soir

Van Parys

Poïèma

Debussy

Sonate pour flûte, alto et harpe

Debussy

‘Mes longs cheveux...’ from Pelléas et Mélisande

Debussy **

Proses lyriques

* Arr.: Wim Henderickx
** Arr.: Koenraad Sterckx

'A surprising dialogue', deemed the press after the debut of Usher: an opera by Belgian composer Annelies Van Parys inspired by musical sketches left by Claude Debussy. Van Parys and Debussy: it’s a story in and of its own. While not using an identical musical vocabulary, they definitely speak the same language: that of sound. The one molding luminous, colorful tone clouds, the other fascinated by the impact of sound on the senses, body and mind. Yet both share a talent for conceiving music that brushes against strings, wood and metal, to elicit atmospheric sounds that crawl underneath the skin. With Debussy’s iconic sonata for flute, viola and harp and Van Parys’ harp trio at its very core, this program weaves poetry and lyricism, timbres and textures, stories of love and lust into a time-less tale. In the ultimate mirror-trick, the antique verses of Sappho echo in the fin-de-siècle flair of Bilitis.

A Page of Madness - extended

PERFORMERS

Revue Blanche with Tom De Cock (percussion)

MUSIC

Daan Janssens

TEXT

Dirk De Wachter

FILM

A Page of Madness T. Kinugasa / Y. Kawabata

LIVE ELECTRONICS

Centre Henri Pousseur

PRODUCTION AND COPRODUCTION

Revue Blanche, Muziekcentrum De Bijloke & Centre Henri Pousseur

A Page of Madness is Revue Blanche’s third multimedia project commissioned by Muziekcentrum De Bijloke. Once again, the socio-cultural context of the magazine ‘La Revue Blanche’ was the ensemble’s inspiration. Exoticism and Kawabata’s serene writings in particular, are at the heart of this program.

In the avant garde movie ‘A page of Madness’ from 1926 (with a screenplay by Kawabata), Japanese cinematographer Kinugasa paints the subjective observations of people living in a runaway asylum. Thought lost for almost half a century, the film was re- released in 1971 and became a cult hit. The film was originally accompanied by live music and a narrator or 'benshi', who is now replaced by a new soundtrack by composer Daan Janssens. The audience is invited to enter a spherical, colourful and at times alienating universe of sound. The musicians’s instruments are amplified and electronically manipulated while on stage. Surrounded by speakers, listeners are fully immersed in the expressionist images of this silent arthouse film.

Epistola posteritati - extended

Performers

Revue Blanche
Psallentes led by Hendrik Vandenabeele

Program

music of Landini, Da Bologna and Sciarrino
new composition by Michael Pisaro

For the most part, the music these ensembles excel in are half a millennium apart, but for this particular project, Revue Blanche and Psallentes have gone in search of common ground. They venture onto Italian territory, with music of the somewhat enigmatic but always poetic Salvatore Sciarrino (°1947), and texts from that other slightly mysterious but always poetic Italian, Petrarch (1304-1374).

Among Petrarch’s works is a letter about himself and his ideas, addressed ‘to the future’ (Epistola posteritati). It gives us pause to reflect on how we ourselves view the past, present and future — especially now that we are forced by the worldwide COVID-19 crisis to change the way we look at the world around us and plan the future. The music of fourteenth-century Italy has come down to us among other things via the manuscript known as the ‘Squarcialupi Codex’, which contains texts by good friends of Petrarch, such as Jacopo da Bologna and Francesco Landini. Psallentes takes up its exciting vocal music, while Revue Blanche explores the thrilling world of Sciarrino.

To tread in the trusty footwear of ‘early music’ or ‘contemporary music’, both ensembles had to find each other’s lasts, resulting in a programme that is not just beautiful but particularly intense and piercing. With Epistola posteritati by Revue Blanche and Psallentes, the future is blossoming in colour again.

Echo

program

Poulenc *

Huit chansons polonaises

Weinberg

Trio

Delage *

Ragamalika

Ravel **

Chansons madécasses

Ravel *

Deux melodies hébraïques

* Arr.: Frederik Neyrinck
** Arr.: Revue Blanche

'A quartet-like piece in which the human voice takes on the highest part', explained Maurice Ravel with regards to the somewhat unusual cast of his Chansons Madécasses or ‘Songs of Madagascar’. And reign she does, the soprano that gets to whistle and whirl, seduce and provoke in the tales of suppression and liberation written by creole poet Évariste de Parny. Equally empathic and headstrong, Ravel had explored Jewish traditions and repertoires in Deux melodies hébraïques: songs that venture into contrasting soundscapes to muse on concepts of spirituality and existentialism. For Maurice Delage, the trendy orientalism of Ragamalika was just a minor aspect of a much broader and deeply-rooted interest in non-Western cultures. Poulencs arrangement of Polish folk songs into an 8-part set of chansons, started out as a service to a client, but turned into an ode to Polish exiles in Paris and a declaration of love to his hero, Chopin. The Trio of Mieczysław Weinberg, too, speaks of admiration and gratitude in its echoes of Slavic masters such as Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Bartók.

Trio

Repertoire list

Brahms

Clarinet trio op. 114

Adagio 

Debussy

Sonate pour flûte, alto et harpe

Debussy

Six épigraphes antiques

Debussy

Suite bergamasque

Van Parys

Harp Trio

Takemitsu

And then I knew ‘twas Wind

Ravel

Sonatine

Granados

El fandango de Candil

Intermezzo

Gubaidulina

Garten von Freuden und Traurigkeiten

Satie

3 Morceaux en forme de poire

Jongen

Deux pièces en trio op. 95

Celis

Trio op. 13

Weinberg

Trio op. 127

It was Debussy who, in 1915, for the first time combined the flute with the viola and the harp in a trio sonata. The innovative sound with its enchanting, somewhat melancholic pallet, would go on to seduce many a 20th-century composer. Debussy himself reveled in the audacity of his felicitous find, but also realized that the sweet-and-salty flavor would take its time to become an acquired taste: 'I’m not sure if this music should make you laugh or cry. Maybe both.'

In this concert program Revue Blanche takes on Debussy’s groundbreaking trio together with a plethora of (original as well as arranged) repertoire for the same cast. Among the stylistically varied options: the illustrious clarinet trio of Brahms, key pieces from the French Belle Époque, as well as more recent compositions by Tōru Takemitsu and Sofia Gubaidulina (both conceived as dialogues with Debussy’s Trio) and work from the 1970s by Frits Celis and Mieczysław Weinberg. With this portfolio as a point of departure, the concert programmer is invited to compile his very own top pick of trios.