This DVD documents the pioneering percussion works from the French school of theatre music, written for and championed by the legendary Parisian group Trio Le Cercle. These are 'French pieces', mostly written by non-French composers whose most important work took place in Paris in the 1970's and 1980's. The cultural friction between immigrant artists and a French culture that embraced them without completely welcoming them is apparent with every note. This is the music of outsiders with a story to tell, where questions of belonging, control, and place are central.
Many of these works are renowned in the percussion repertoire but their combination of theatre (visual, choreographic, architectural), with percussion makes little sense as strictly audio recordings. The visual aspect is essential to their experience. All receive their first commercial video release performed by percussionist Aiyun Huang, who studied with the members of Trio Le Cercle, giving authoritative performances of these works for solo through quartet. Each work is given a unique visual treatment. Liner notes by Steven Schick and Aiyun Huang. Among the highlights:
Vinko Globokar’s '?Corporel' for a percussionist performing on her body as the instrument is visually arresting, and often discomfiting, as we watch the percussionist strike, rub, caress and slap herself.
In Georges Aperghis’s 'Le Corps à Corps', a disjunctive treatment of text soon renders it useless as a vehicle for narrative, but creates instead an extraordinarily rich source of vocal incantations and drones that run parallel to the colourful hand-drumming.
Mauricio Kagel's two works are large pieces of absurd theatre. In an ultimate example of the burning issues of control and anarchy that raced through Paris of the late 1960’s like wild fire, Kagel’s 'Dressur' draws a pointed comparison between the control over horses in the practice of dressage and the control over performers necessary to effect a concert. 'Dressur' asks three percussionists to engage in a series of seemingly pointless and sometimes painful set of tasks.
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.