Gerard Pape

(b. 1965)

mode 67

Electroacoustic Chamber Music


mode 67 Gerard PAPE: Electroacoustic Chamber Works – Arditti Quartet, Voxnova, Ensemble 2e2m/Paul Mefano, Daniel Kleintzy

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Electroacoustic Chamber Music
Aufnahme: Salzburg, Festival Aspekte, 1994 (Live-Aufnahme) ; Paris, La Muse en Circuit, 1996 ; Paris, Théatre Dunois, 1995 (Live-Aufnahme) ; Paris, Studio recording, 1997 ; Paris, Centre Pompidou, 1997 (Live-Aufnahme). Janet Pape (S) ; Nicholas Isherwood (B) ; Cécile Daroux (Fl) ; Daniel Kientzy (Sax) ; Gerard Pape (Zuspielaufnahme) ; Paul Mefano (Dir) ; Arditti String Quartet ; Ensemble 2e2m ; Ensemble Vox Nova. Recorded in 1997.

Two Electro-Acoustic Songs  (1993)   (10:50)
   Time Caught in a Net
   On the Road at Night
     Janet Pape, soprano
     Cécile Daroux, flute
     Gerard Pape, tape & sound projection

Le Fleuve du Désir  (1994)   (12:39)
     The Arditti Quartet
     Gerard Pape, tape

Monologue  (1995)   (32:16)
     Nicholas Isherwood, bass
     Gerard Pape, tape & sound projection

Battle  (1996)   (8:17)
     Vox Nova
     Gerard Pape, tape

Makbénach  (1996-97)   (10:20)
     Daniel Kientzy, saxophone
     Ensemble 2e2m conducted by Paul Mefano
     Gerard Pape, tape & sound projection

Composed between 1993-97, this second volume of works by Gerard Pape on Mode continues his richly darkly dramatic style with new compositional turns. Born in Brooklyn, now living in Paris, Pape is the director of the Atelier UPIC – an electronic music studio utilizing the unique UPIC computer developed by Iannis Xenakis – since 1991. While a resident of Ann Arbor, Michigan he ran Sinewave Studios, a state of the art New Music and Electronic Music studio and organized of the annual TWICE Festival of New Music, featuring composers such as Berio, Cage, Crumb and Xenakis.

The performers on this disc are a veritable who’s-who of European New Music specialists. Pape sites these compositions as influenced by Xenakis, Giacinto Scesli and Julio Estrada. Indeed, they combine the power of Xenakis with the microtonal explorations of Scelsi. All works, with the exception of Le Fleuve, interact the performers with vivid use of electronics and/or tape, many composed on the UPIC computer.

The evocative texts range from Samuel Beckett to Clive Barker. Battle is a scene from Pape’s upcoming opera based on Barker’s Weaveworld, to be premiered in France in 1

Language : Selections sung in Hebrew.


Gerard Pape
Arditti Quartet/Daroux/Isherwood/Kientzy/Vox Nova/ 2e2m/Méfano
Mode 67

As director of UPIC, an alternative to IRCAM–yes, they do exist–set up to explore the interaction between music and technology, one might expect this American composer’s work to bear some resemblance to UPIC’s founding father and leading light Iannis Xenakis. There is a strident, plangent quality to “Le Fleuve du Désir” (1994), for string quartet and tape, but whereas Xenakis’s string writing has always tended towards brutal scratchiness, coupled with “objective” lack of vibrato, Pape’s pulsating surfaces point rather to musique spectrale (Scelsi is namechecked in his copious liner notes, though Radulescu and Grisey also come to mind). Timbral considerations aside, Pape has a fine feel for the vocal line, be it lyrical on “Two Electro-Acoustic Songs”, snarling and animal on “Battle”, or declamatory on “Monologue”, this latter yet another setting of Beckett, his “A Piece of Monologue”, superbly delivered by baritone Nicholas Isherwood, Pape joining the long list of composers (Berio, Reynolds, Barrett, Kurtag..) seeking inspiration from Beckett… Makbénach” (1997), for saxophone, ensemble and tape, is the closest we get to Xenakis in its gritty ugliness… Oh, a word of warning from someone who learnt more from album liner notes than from college teachers: Pape’s discussion of Julio Estrada’s “continuum theory” will not necessarily help you appreciate the music–instead, careful and concentrated listening will bring its rewards.
—Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic Review, November 2000

Gerard Pape:
Electroacoustic Chamber Works
Compact disc; 1998
Mode 67

Gerard Pape (current director of Les Ateliers UPIC in Paris) is a composer who writes on the cusp between the familiar and the new. In the liner notes, Mr. Pape writes about the new compositional departures which led to the works on this compact disc. His attempt to create the “richest and liveliest compositions” is, for the most part, successful. Taking his cue from the composer Julio Estrada, whom he met in 1991, he set out to independently control various microparameters of sound by constructing trajectory paths for each. All the works on this disc involve live performers with tape and/or sound projection. Thus, the composer further extends his control over the finished product through his work in the studio. Besides Mr. Estrada, lannis Xenakis and Giacinto Scelsi are also cited as influences on Mr. Pape’s work.

The five compositions on this re-cording were written between 1993 and 1997. Two Electro-Acoustic Songs, the earliest, is scored for voice, flute, tape, and sound projection. It combines flute attacks with vocal sustains, and vice versa, resulting in an elaborate “timbral monophony.” Though it is perhaps the most con-ventional sounding work,of the five, the sheer display of timbral/harmonic combinations is more than enough to sustain interest. The texts for the songs come from two poems by the Israeli poetess, Dahlia Ravikovitch, and are set in the original Hebrew. In the second song, On the Road at Night, the UPIC is used to both clarify and cloud the harmonic content of the voice and flute parts.

Le Fleuve du Desir (River of desire), for string quartet and tape, was inspired by the composer’s contemplation of fluid flow, both real and imaginary. He uses eight trajectory rates to control changes of pitch, vibrato, amplitude, and bow accentuation, position, color, speed, and pressure. Texturally the piece moves between harmonic series, clusters and noise. The effect is remarkable, and includes human-like sounds such as crying, soft wailing, and speech, all performed by the strings. At times, the eight trajectories contribute to an exaggerated, artificial-sounding texture that threatens to erupt into total chaos. The members of the Arditti String Quartet heard on this recording live up to their customary excellence. One gets the impression that the title refers not to an amorous desire, but instead to a desire which seeks to extract itself from a larger, turbulent context that has imprisoned it.

The longest piece in this collection is Monologue, for bass voice, tape, and sound projection. Although over 32 mm in duration, this work never seems to lose focus. First, there is a vast display of vocal techniques, from the most nasal to the most full-throated. Virtuoso bass Nicholas Isherwood manages to comfortably vary the pitch, intensity, and timbre of his voice, at times producing deep, Tibetan-like growling in rapid succession with very high-pitched nasal whining. Mr. Pape describes this piece as a chamber opera for bass voice and eight-channel tape. The tape part was composed on the UPIC system. The “libretto” is Samuel Beckett’s play, entitled A Piece of Monologue.

Battle, written a year after Monologue, expands upon the vocal exploration of the earlier piece. Battle is scored for four solo voices, two mixed choirs, and tape, and was written for Nicholas Isherwood and his excellent ensemble, Vox Nova. The choirs were prerecorded and spatially mixed onto tape. This piece was inspired by Clive Barker’s novel Weaveworld, as well as the idea that discontinuity and continuity might coexist in chaotic structure. The form of Battle is both antiphonal and episodic. The sections are short and oscillate between antithetical materials until they eventually merge in an uneasy coexistence. Unfortunately, the arbitrary and unclear ending weakens the effect of this otherwise fascinating work.

The last piece, entitled Makbenach, is for saxophone, instrumental ensemble, tape, and sound projection. The work was written for, and admirably performed by, saxophonist Daniel Kientzy and the Ensemble 2e2m under the direction of Paul Mefano. The saxophone part often utilizes wide and erratic vibrato, sounding at times like Greek or Balkan music, and at other times like Albert Ayler. Like the other works, this one was composed according to the principles of multiparametric polyphony. The tape part consists of instrumental and synthetic sounds convolved and mixed with a voice. Makbenach is a suitable ending for a highly idiosyncratic set of compositions.
— Ross Feller, Computer Music Journal


Gerard Pape on Mode:
Gerard Pape Vol.1 (mode 26)
                     Ascension to Purgatory (mode 167)

Arditti Quartet on Mode:
John Cage: The Complete String Quartets Vol. 1 (mode 17)
                  The Complete String Quartets Vol. 2 (mode 27)
                  Vol. 19 – The Number Pieces 2 – Five3 for trombone &
                  string quartet (mode 75)
                  The Works for Violin 5 (mode 118)
Chaya Czernowin: Afatsim: Chamber Music (mode 77)
Peter Maxwell Davies: Le Jongleur de Notre Dame (mode 59)
Bernadette Speach: Reflections (mode 105)
Xenakis, UPIC, Continuum: Electroacoustic &
  Instrumental works from CCMIX Paris
(mode 98/99)
Alvin Lucier: Navigations for Strings; Small Waves (mode 124)
Elliott Carter – Quintets and Voices  (mode 128)

Gerard Pape Profile
The Arditti Quartet Profile
Arditti Quartet Web Site
CCMIX (formerly Atelier UPIC) web site