Christophe Desjardins, violist
Manoury, a professor at the University of
The forty-five minute work begins with the computer mirroring what the violist Desjardins had played at about a twelve-second interval. Soon his virtuosic playing was layered upon itself to become seemingly multi-dimensional, speeding circularly around the room though well-placed speakers. Manoury created a mountainous stacking and reproduction of the soloist’s material into a harmonic whole. The piece was far from aleatoric, as Desjardins took all his instructions from the score. Long harmonic notes contrasted to quick pizzicato patterns were most striking. The versatility of the viola as an instrument served the work well.
With the feedback techniques perpetually changing, your reviewer eventually gave up trying to analyze the specifics of what was going on and just sat back to take in the experience. As the work built to its fullest point, a bounce of the bow created a percussive cacophony around the room, a strong pizzicato a huge violent commotion, and high tremolo chords sounded like low-flying jets passing over the Potomac. Desjardins remained poised and committed throughout the work. Only one person walked out, and that only about a minute before the work’s conclusion.
Aaron Grad, A "Partita" For Our Time (Washington Post, May 30)
The next concert at La Maison Française will feature the Trio Hantaï (June 11, 7:30 pm), with the three Hantaï brothers -- Jérôme Hantaï (viola da gamba), Marc Hantaï (flute), and Pierre Hantaï (harpsichord) -- playing a historically informed program of music by Couperin, Leclair, Marais, Telemann, Bach, and Rameau.