CD ALAIN LOUVIER. Flûtes, espaces, promenade…

CD ALAIN LOUVIER. Flûtes, espaces, promenade…

Paru depuis le 1 juin 2019

disque monographique consacré à

Flûtes, Espaces, Promenade…

( label TRITON)

Présentation de ce disque par Pierre-Albert Castanet
dans un livret  bilingue 36 pages illustrées en couleurs, texte de Jean-Michel Bardez, notices détaillées d’Alain Louvier

Sur ce CD monographique consacré à Alain Louvier sont gravés pour la première fois
Herbier 7 2018 clavecin et flûtes, Qu’est devenu ce bel œil ? 1976 flûte et bande,
Neuf Carrés 1972 4 flûtistes, Promenade 1971 flûte et pianoHerbier 1 2004 2 flûtes

Alain Louvier, clavecin, piano, François Veilhan, flûtes,

Ensemble Campsis : 

(Elise Patou, Françoise Ducos, Myriam Chiapparin, François Veilhan, flûtes)

Prix public 15 € + participation aux frais de port

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English translation Alain Louvier : « Flûtes, espaces, promenade… »

jacquette CD
CD ALAIN LOUVIER. Flûtes, espaces, promenade…

CD ALAIN LOUVIER. Flûtes, espaces, promenade…

Between Nature and Culture

Between Nature and Culture
Alain Louvier’s works for flute

Like his mentor Olivier Messiaen, Alain Louvier is best known for his prowess on keyboards (harpsichord, clavichord, piano, and organ). Yet his catalogue as a composer, currently numbering over 130 works, reveals a strong connection to the aulos.

Unlike Plato, who in his Symposium, had the flute-girl dismissed from the company, Louvier has always had a particularly soft spot for the multifaceted register of the flute (as a solo or ensemble instrument – as in Pentagone (1966), Suite en do (1977), Musique de neige (1986), Quatre paysages (1997), Eclipse (1999), Heptagone (2003), Bach, Bachélios (2009), and Le soleil s’est noyé dans son sang qui se fige (2018). His work encompasses the full gamut of transverse flutes (Neuf carrés, for example, spans five octaves, from bass flute to piccolo; the composer has in fact stated that he belongs to “the generation that has seen the flute, with its conquest of the lower registers, rise to the rank of a ‘family’ of instruments”).

Not only does the compilation on this record faithfully reflect the aesthetic approach embedded in scrupulous scoring, it also captures the broad range of core interests that feed the composer’s imagination, notably botany, ornithology, astronomy, entomology, arithmetic, and analytical geometry. Maybe it is worth recalling that when it comes to poetic metaphor or (im)probable transposition, Claude Debussy said: “Music is the arithmetic of sound as optics is the geometry of light”.

Following in the footsteps of Guillaume de Machaut and Iannis Xenakis, two of his favourite forerunners from very different eras, Louvier judiciously invites Nature and Science into his works. Thus, while some pieces in Chant des aires (1988) for solo flute and twenty-four flutes directly translate two-dimensional geometrical shapes (you really can hear, for example, a trapezium or a rectangle!), the Herbiers (herbarium) cycle (notably Herbier I – 2004 – for two flutes, Herbier III – 2008 – for flute and four guitars, Herbier VII – 2018 – for flute and harpsichord) draws on poetry and botany, culture and nature. There is something irresistibly intoxicating about the dreamy soundscapes conjured up by so many delightful subjects: the cruciferous plants that provide the title and irrigate the programmatic logic underlying Herbier III. Listen to the pieces entitled Sycomore (sycamore), Genévrier (juniper), Cytise (laburnum), Ornithogale (star of Bethlehem), Onagre (evening primrose) and Nigelle (love in a mist)… Aficionados will almost inevitably be put in mind of Messiaen’s Catalogue d’oiseaux and will have little difficulty in grasping the associations in Herbier VI, where the double basses evoke trees, and Herbier VII, which speaks of the different types of wood used in flute making.

Likewise, Louvier is a skilled exponent of the art of dichotomy. While the 1972 composition Neuf carrés (nine squares) for four flutes (and ten transparencies) is based on weeks of calculations and months of graphic work − each of the short pieces being attached to a specific geometrical figure (Carré simple (square), Diagonales, Rotation-éventails (rotating fans) − Promenade (1971) for solo flute and piano is a free melody made up of fragments of sequences, essentially “primitive” elements, punctuated theatrically by the performer’s moving around, and accompanied by sundry sound effects.

Moreover, like Berio or Zimmermann, Louvier is not above a quote. Unsurprisingly, towards the end of Promenade, he makes a point of surreptitiously (and wickedly) slipping in a neatly-fitting extract from his revered Claude Debussy, explaining his intention that the flautist give the impression of being the one to have found the Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. Finally, while we are on the subject of tributes, it is worth noting that, for the mixed piece entitled Qu’est devenu ce bel œil (1976), scored for flute and magnetic tape, the original cell (with a modern chromatic flourish that belies its true age) is taken from the opening of the eponymous song by the Renaissance composer Claude Lejeune (unsurprisingly a favourite of Messiaen’s).

Throughout his rich body of instrumental works, Louvier, heir to the classical and romantic genius of Mozart or Beethoven, or to moderns like Debussy and Varèse, makes unlimited use of the flute’s characteristic “pastoral” virtues and its emancipated “urban” vocabulary of today. Exploring the space between deftly harnessed constraint and carefully restrained freedom, Louvier’s pendulum oscillates unreservedly between nature and artifice, deploying breathing techniques, microtonality, flatterzunge and multiphonics for the prime purposes of musicality and poetry.

Unlike Plutarch, who tells us that Alcibiades “refused to play the flute, holding it to be an ignoble and illiberal thing”, we can rest assured that Alain Louvier’s work for a wind instrument with such a malleable plasticity stems from a nobility of heart and mind. In addition to the five works in this CD collection Flûtes, espaces, promenade…, we invite you to travel on and explore the score for Envols d’écailles (1986) for flute, viola and harp (here too, the sharpest and most informed ears may also pick out in the third and final movement a motif subtly altered from the celebrated Sonata dedicated by Debussy, in the twilight of his life, to the now legendary combination of the three instruments).

Pierre Albert Castanet

Traduit en anglais par Alan Fell et Jean-Christophe Hecquet

Bio Alain Louvier

Born in 1945, Alain Louvier focused his studies on mathematics while obtaining nine first prizes at the Paris Conservatory for music. He was a student of Olivier Messiaen, Henriette Roget and Manuel Rosenthal. In 1968, he became the last prize-winner of the Grand Prix de Rome in musical composition awarded by the Institut de France.
In Paris, he was named Director of the Boulogne-Billancourt Conservatory. Between 1972 and 1986, his remarkable policy for a renewed pedagogy was manifested by his ordering from several contemporary composers short pieces (in all styles) for pupils of all ages.
As Director of the National Superior Conservatory for Music of Paris from 1986 to 1991, he supervised the transfer of its location to the City of Music in 1990 where he established new divisions for pedagogy, studies in sound and modern dance. From 1991 to 2009, Louvier taught music analysis at the CNSMDP and orchestration at the Regional Conservatory of Paris.
From 2009 to 2013, he resumed his direction of the Regional Conservatory of Boulogne-Billancourt.
Since 1971, his activity has focused on conducting the creation of many new works in particular with the Ensemble de l’Itinéraire, or within the curriculum of the Conservatories (Stockhausen, Scelsi, Grisey, Levinas, Tessier, Stroe, Murail, Blondeau, Campana, Mantovani, Campo…).
In his composition work, since 1964, Alain Louvier has shown us very personal manners of writing and gesture for keyboard playing (eight books of Studies for Aggressors for piano, harpsichord, organ, celesta… , three books of Agrexandrins).
He is also interested in the translation into music of geometrical forms or numerical series ( Hommage à Gauss, Neuf Carrés pour quatre flûtes, Chants des Aires, L’Isola di Numeri).
He has especially enlarged news horizons by introducing modality into the microtonal universe of thirds, fourths, sixths or eights of a tone (Le Clavecin non tempéré, Suite en DO, Anneaux de Lumière, “S”, Eclipse, Herbier 2, Sonate pour deux altos).
He gives particulary attention to the spatialization of his instrumental and vocal works (Promenade, Duel, Sept Catactères d’après La Bruyère, Le Jeu des sept Musiques, Heptagone, Archimède, Herbier 6, Nonagone).
The introduction of these micro intervals gives his orchestra a resonance of poetic aura that continues in an original way a longtime French tradition (Canto di Natale, Poèmes de Ronsard, Concerto pour alto, Météores…).
Besides this, in 2001/2003, Alain Louvier published 60 Chansons de France with Gallimard-jeunesse.
Alain Louvier has always claimed to be a “versatile musician”: essentially as a composer, he draws his inspiration from his diverse knowledge of musical languages and instrumentation. He defines himself as “a composer knowing how to conduct” and he is not averse to playing the piano or the harpsichord.
His deep understanding of the family of flutes stem from his long-standing collaboration with his fellow students in flute, in particular Pierre-Yves Artaud who created Promenade, Neuf Carrés and Chant des Aires, and to whom Herbier 7 (his most recent work) has been dedicated.

Traduit en anglais par Judith Cabaud

HERBIER VII for flute and harpsichord

Alain Louvier (2018)
HERBIER VII for flute and harpsichord 14’21
After Herbier 1 (2 flutes),
Herbier 2 (mandolin, guitar, and harp) in 1/8 tones
Herbier 3 (flute and 4 guitars),
Herbier 4 (harpsichord and piano),
Herbier 5 (horn and percussion),
Herbier 6 (double basses and narrators),
….here is Herbier 7, for flute and harpsichord….
Written for a typically baroque formation, Herbier 7 is distinguishable, however, through the scordatura of the harpsichord, where the upper keyboard features 7 keys lowered by a ¼ tone, according to a sequence of perfect fourths:
C2, F2, A#2, D#3, G#3, C#4, F#4

Specific harmonies are heard, using unusual pentatonic modes, based on 3/4, 5/4, or 7/4 tones, available on the upper keyboard, or ¼ tone beats by the coupling of both keyboards, sounding like slightly discordant bird calls …
The flute (and the piccolo) may also play other ¼ tones, the language used here being more “post-baroque”
As in the other Herbiers, the titles are named after plants (with their Latin scientific names). For Herbier 7, I chose plants, generally trees or shrubs, which have been used for making flutes, of extreme diversity from time immemorial. Reed or bamboo, of course, but also boxwood or ebony…

These 7 little duets are of increasing duration; from the shortest to the longest
Juniper (n°7), Pearwood (5), Ebony (3), Sycamore (1), Reed (2), Bamboo (4), Boxwood (6)
Being multiplied each time by 1.32, the 7th root of 7…

The seven plants of Herbier 7….

1 – Sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus (1min25)
The wood of the sycamore maple is one of the most precious of European forest hardwoods. It is light-colored and homogeneous, and can therefore be easily stained. But it is also a hard wood, appreciated in carpentry, furnishing, parquetry and sculpture. It is highly valued by instrument makers for making flutes, bassoons, as well as bodies for string instruments.
Its fruit are L-shaped keys or ‘samaras’ which, in autumn, look like small parachutes falling in a spiral…
7/4 and 7/8 measures; some shrill, quarter-tone cuckoo-fourths , and trills/spins can be found throughout this somewhat casual piece….

2 – Reed Phragmites australis (1min55)
Also called ‘common reed’ or ‘ditch reed’, this plant is commonly found across the globe, in moist, cool soils, along rivers, lakes, and ponds. It appreciates muddy soils and is resistant to stagnation in water, but is sensitive to salt. The inflorescences were utilized to make small brooms. The plant may be used to stabilize erosion-prone areas, and is also regarded as an invasive plant. Many flutes are made of reed, such as the panpipe.
Its legendary flexibility (‘I bend, but I do not break’) produces quasi rubato arabesques: perfect fourths brushing against one another in quarter-tones, triplets, quintuplets, septuplets, nonuplets… thus avoiding the sensation of a straight line, unthinkable for a reed…

3 – Ebony of Mozambique Diospiros melanoxylon (1min 10)
A tree which originates in the dry regions of Africa located between Eastern Senegal, Eritrea, and Southern Transvaal in South Africa.
It is a small tree 4 to 15 meters in height, with a grey, prickly bark, and deciduous foliage in the dry season, with pinnate leaves. The flowers are white, formed in dense clusters. The fruit is a pod 3 to 7 cm in length, containing one or two seeds. It is sometimes called African Blackwood.
Baroque flutes are often made of ebony.
Evocation of the Renaissance dances, with short and long pieces alternating freely. The main melody, with frequently repeating notes, uses a special 1/4 -tone alphabet to translate a few lines jumping from one subject to another:
… Raga de la harangère – Ebène – la rage de bois coupé, fracassé – Mégère d’avant-garde….

4 – Bamboo Phillostachys Viridiglaucescens (2min 35)
Originating from Asia, bamboos are fast-growing plants. They are ideal for quickly building hedges, screens, windbreaks, etc.…due to their high adaptability and the huge diversity of their varieties. The foliage is a shiny green on top, a glaucous green underneath. They have been used from time immemorial to make flutes, especially in Japan.
Seven sequences of 21 seconds, in a cadenza, alternatingly given to the harpsichord and the flute; gamelan-type sounds produced by using 3/4-tone intervals on the upper keyboard; “gusts of wind” in arpeggios, where the flute plays at unsteady speed, as if to warn of an impending storm.

5 – Pearwood Pyrus communis (1min )
Pearwood is a cultivated species native to the temperate regions of Europe and Asia. It can reach twenty meters in height and live up to 300 years. It is grown and naturalized on every continent. Its 5-petal rosette flowers, white with light-pink buds, cover the pear tree all of a sudden… Springtime is here.
Pearwood is mostly used for recorders.
An ultra-short piece in the form A-B-A’: A in a supple polyphony of quintuplets, A’ likewise repeated on the piccolo.
B is more rhythmical, in 15/8: perfect chords ‘distorted’ with the buff stop, coupled with the lower four-foot. The combination is somewhat aggressive…

6 – Boxwood buxus sempervirens (3min 10)
Boxwood originates from Southern Europe and Asia Minor. As its botanical name indicates, it is an evergreen. It requires an adequately calcareous, not overly moist soil. Boxwood can live up to six hundred years. Once pruned, it is used for garden edging (as already described by Pliny in Roman villas).
Boxwood, a very hard wood giving the smoothest surfaces, was the essence most widely used for flutes in the Baroque period, because it enabled to obtain a brilliant tone, well suited to solo instruments.
Since about 2010, boxwood has been severely attacked by a moth from China, the boxwood moth (see the caterpillar on the picture)
This piece is intended solely for the 8-foot lower choir, and can therefore be played on a spinet or virginal. With its slow, hieratic tempo like a chaconne, it offers a flow of contrasting sound variations (multiphonic or tongue-ram for the flute, flailing palms or sliding forearms on the harpsichord). The very slow tempo enables long values to be divided into uneven numbers, up to 11 or 15…

7- Juniper « cade » Juniperus oxycedrus (45 sec)

Cade, or cade juniper, is a small tree or shrub frequently found on the Mediterranean coastline (from Morocco to Iran), characteristic of pine forests and scrublands. Cones, which are eatable when fresh, are brown to orange. The tree is sometimes called prickly cedar, or sharp cedar. Juniper – which is relatively insensitive to humidity – is used as a cork material. It is difficult to carve, as it is very hard and cracks easily.

This is a virtuoso piece in precise lines, which becomes gradually “dirty” through the use of clusters on the harpsichord. Framed by the word ‘CADE’ translating into the notes C-A-D-E…. Herbier 7 ends with the piccolo.

Traduit en anglais par Elisabeth Torné

Qu’est devenu ce bel œil ? for flute and tape

Qu’est devenu ce bel œil ? [1] for flute and tape.  6’36  1976.  Published by Heugel  (collection Mélanges)

First performed in 1977 by the classes of the National School of Music of Boulogne-Billancourt.

This piece can also be played on the oboe, or even on the cello (in harmonic sounds).

“During the school year of 1976-1977, at ENM de Boulogne […] I decided to make a breakthrough by  imposing on all pianists, violinists, and flutists a short piece combining instrument + tape; Heugel publishers lent themselves to the experiment. The result was Mélisonance for piano and tape by Guy Reibel, Continuo for violin and tape by Michel Zbar, works by two composers who perfectly mastered the studio technique.

I had dedicated myself to the flutists, and chose to ‘tinker’ by accurately writing the diagram of the tape and by recording it track by track, successively playing celesta, tubular bells, ¼ tone pianos, spinets, kazoos, etc.” Three cellos begin by giving, as if coming from far away, Claude Le Jeune’s famous chanson of Qu’est devenu ce bel œil ?

« […] The score for the mixing (done in real time with three stereo tape recorders playing  eight pre-recorded tracks) is highly organized, as can be seen on the diagram reproduced here.

[…] It is therefore a tape of instrumental nature, where the original sounds have changed very little. To me, this was like a small orchestra which couldn’t have been put together live. In fact, this tape could eventually be recreated using the indications in my sketches. »

Claude Le Jeune’s Chanson

« This short a cappella chanson for 3 voices, with its strange chromatics, is amazingly modern, especially given that the staggering melismas of each one of the three voices produce, vertically speaking, only perfect chords… but not those expected! This chromaticism, the fruit of research conducted by musicians and poets of that time period, who loved ancient Greece, is not of the “modulating” type in the classical sense, such as used by Mozart or Liszt: it is chromaticism in color, if I may be so redundant.  In fact, a statistical analysis shows that out of the 65 perfect chords generated by those three  isochronic voices, 38 are… minor ; F minor and C minor occur more frequently than C major, which is however the starting tone; transitional chords are noted in B-flat or E-flat minor: a finely melancholic harmony, for a pessimistic text… »

My melodic scales, and even sometimes my series of 12 sounds, are all based on the 3-voice melismas of Claude Le Jeune (see diagram below).

“The flute part was composed after the tape: I wanted it to contain both free sequences and measured parts, because what’s involved, in relation to a magnetic tape that unwinds, is two kinds of dialogues requiring different qualities. The performer (with 2 or 3 years of flute playing) must learn to recognize how the soundscape unfolds (harmonic colors, events, the concept of the minute passing …) In the end, a D pedal sustains the entire second part of the piece.

Alain Louvier

Traduit en anglais par Elisabeth Torné

[1] What has become of those lovely eyes?

Neuf carrés pour quatre flûtes

Neuf carrés pour quatre flûtes (1972) 21’22 Leduc Publishers
Written at Villa Medici, at the request of Pierre-Yves Artaud, these 9 pieces use 4 flutists playing all flutes (piccolo, flute in C, alto flute in G, bass flute in C)
First performed in full on 11 December 1982 at ENM de Montreuil, by the Quatuor Arcadie.
The entire work is built on a figure of plane geometry, which, in nine graphs, becomes more and more elaborate and complex. Nine squares can be seen (Neuf carrés), with areas ranging from 1 to 9 (and therefore, with sides from 1 to 3). Each piece is a rigorous translation of all or part of this figure, according to a specific method, always different. For a better understanding, the author wishes “the mother figures generating each piece to be projected during the performance”
There are a lot of quarter tones here, as well as multiphonic sounds (being systematically explored in the book by Pierre-Yves Artaud and Gérard Geay, Flûtes au présent, published in 1980)
This is of paramount importance in terms of geometry/music translation, with the influence of Xenakian graphics – which have always fascinated Louvier – being present throughout.
Here, though, there are no statistics. The Pythagorean Theorem is omnipresent in the calculations of durations and pitches, starting with the diagonal of the first square, equal to 1.414 (the square root of 2), which the Greeks were unable to solve, producing the totally inharmonious tritone interval C-F# (the famous diabolus in musica)
On stage, the 4 flutists are disposed in a square, and in piece no. 5, the solo flutist plays in the center of the square while spinning.

1 – Single square 0’50

A square ABCD, of side 1, of diagonal AC = root of 2: only the tritone C-F# is heard

2 – Diagonals 1’21

A second square CEFG, of surface area 2, touches the first square at C. The 4 melodic lines of the 4 flutes are obtained by projecting all the points in the figure onto 4 straight or slanted axes (DE, BG, GE, AF). The polyphony produced (on a C bass) is read 4 times in invertible counterpoint, with the piccolos gradually replacing the flutes…
3 – Rotation 1 3’22

A third square JIHE, of surface area 3 (of side root of 3 = 1.732) hooks onto the second square at E.

The score offers different ways of reading by sweeping the figure around each of the vertices, like a set of rotating radars. The last part is a great alto flute solo, emitting a hoarse sound, a unison of singing and sound.
Similar to the vision of certain cubist painters, the score is based on a kind of superposition of several viewing angles on the same complex object.

4 – Muro torto 1 1’25

The title is a reminder that the 9 squares were designed at Villa Medici, a famous place bordered by the muro torto, a tortuous medieval enclosure in Rome.
Here, a fourth square MGKL, of side 2 (and therefore, of surface are 4), hooks onto the second square at G. Line ABEFKLM, which surrounds squares 1, 2, and 4, forms this ‘tortuous wall’; the melodic line can be inferred from it, as can the durations, and the 4 flutes (offset by a ¼ tone) describe it very quick 14 times, in parallel harmonies.

5 – Rotation 2 1’55
The figure has grown into nine squares, of areas 1 to 9.

While spinning at a speed which is variable, but precisely indicated, the flutist reads out the landscape, selecting in turn:
The blue line IEFP’NYQBC (reading out the square of distances from the center H to these points). Speed of rotation: one revolution in 16 sec.
The red line RMLVUWX (an ornate reading of the squares of these red sides) ; speed 40 sec. per turn

6 – Linear areas 3’26

This is only about the figure formed by squares 1 through 6.
Six successive “readings” require two graphs
Figure 1: 1) the contours of the squares, by broken arpeggios;
2) the areas of the 6 squares, by reservoirs of notes, breaths, noises of keys
3) the areas of certain isosceles blue triangles, converging toward N (F#)

Figure 2 : 4) 4 zig-zag dotted lines going to N
5) the areas of small black triangles selected for their varied shapes, spaced by rests, represented by glissandi of varying slopes
6) 4 “spot triangles” in pink SNO, ANO, DNO, LNO

These Linear areas thus end with the segment NO translated by the sixth A-F#. This piece is probably the easiest one to follow on the graph, even with no knowledge of musical notation.

7 – Muro torto 2 3’03

A very intricate figure, showing eight tortuous enclosures interleaved, of sixteen notes each. Their polyphonic superposition yields a series of 16 chords of eight sounds, performed using fingerings of multiphonic sounds on all the flutes, particularly fragile and unstable, poetic and evanescent.

8 – Fan-like rotations 3’12
The 4 flutes (including 2 alto flutes) are located at ends R L U  .
They read out the graphic landscape by performing slow, fan-like motions from right to left. Various melodic gestures, and modes of play reflect the variety of the landscape, by a common coding on all 4 lines. The entire piece is based on a G-D double bass pedal.

9 – Intersections 2’48

In conclusion, Intersections is meant to be more pointillist, in four sequences: circles, arcs, diagonals, and trills. The composer went as far as drawing all 27 diagonals in the figure, placing their innumerable intersection points, and transforming them into clouds of staccato sounds in all tessituras.
This piece, which highlights the bass flute and the piccolo, ends with an abundance of energy in trilled polyphonic sounds; as a signature in the form of an envoi, « Hommage à Pierre-Yves Artaud » is noted on the score.
A natural tribute to outstanding performers, who were also researchers.

Alain Louvier
Traduit en anglais par Elisabeth Torné

Promenade for alto flute and piano

Promenade for alto flute and piano. 8’11 1971. Leduc Publishers.
First performed on 10 April 1972 at Villa Medici in Rome. Pierre-Yves Artaud, flute. Alain Louvier, piano.

Generally, this musical theater score is played simultaneously with three Preludes for strings, imagined for piano strings: numbers 1, 3, 4. Both performances, totally independent, will feature “at least two to three minutes of simultaneous play “.

“The piece draws a path for a flutist around a piano. These movements produce new types of sounds each time. Little by little, the score drifts towards phrases from Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, which the artist plays while moving away. There is a mysterious flow of sounds, tones, objects, relating to gestures in space, which promotes associations, deviations, overlaps, emergences appearing in randomness upon hearing the artists.” François Veilhan.

Traduit en anglais par Elisabeth Torné

Herbier 1 for two flutes (using the piccolo)

Herbier 1 for two flutes (using the piccolo). 16’18 2004. Musicare, published by ENM de Nîmes.
First performed on 19 March 2005 by Henri Vaudé and Sabine Teulon-Lardic at the National School of Music (ENM) in Nîmes.
1. Laburnum. 2. Star-of-Bethlehem. 3. Bellflower. 4. Snowdrop. 5. Evening primrose. 6. Nigella. 7. Daisy.
The first of seven Herbiers written between 2004 and 2018, this collection is inspired by the plants from a personal herbarium that Alain Louvier has been keeping since 1954 (a copy of the original drawings complements the score).

« Herbier 1 is a challenge […]. I had no reason to restrict myself technically. What’s more, I didn’t feel much like making calculations, and I thought: ”What would it look like if I, being a botanist, were to give names of plants? ». But, for what musical logic? […] Basically, what we’re dealing with is no longer geometric lines, but a general aspect, whether plastic or botanic, of a plant, or numbers associated with the plant. Thus the star-of-Bethlehem , and its eleven-beat measures … […]. But the general idea of Herbier 1 is more poetic: everything starts out with a same seed, a D, and branches out in a different direction beginning with the 2nd measure… And it is well known (as botanists and gardeners both know), that when two leaves emerge, the species can already be recognized. Thus, the fragility of the snowdrop is symbolized by the airy use of two piccolos. The offshoots of the nigella can be found in the quarter-tone modes produced by two specially-tuned flutes. And the name of the daisy is cried out in the flute! » Alain Louvier.

Traduit en anglais par Elisabeth Torné

Generative Breath

Generative Breath

It is always salutary to locate human actions in the perspective of their tortuous, multifold lineage. New courses charted by today’s species are alive with vibrant, interconnected meanings from the past. At the same time, in the complex process of creating musical sound material, each sea change ushers in a new strand of the previously unheard.
Flautists create relationships between frequencies which in turn, generate a wealth of modes. The flute emerges like a pipeline from an underground, unknown world, from which it brings and releases into the air sounds from age-old space-time continuums redolent of myth. It continues to merge the seductive power of Pan and the Syrinx reed, which the French poet Mallarmé described as “the instrument of escape”. Assembled flutes form panpipes, and on a grand scale, organs. Korybantes and Fauns (rush and cavity) unite in an instrumented form in the heart of woodlands and flora, transfixed, transitory and ecstatic.
Is it possible to shed these more or less subconscious connotations? The network of flute-related symbols is still suffused with meaning. In most religions, the timbre enjoys special status. In Matthew 11:17, Christ railed in no uncertain terms against a poor show of faith: “We played the flute for you and you did not dance”. The Mevlevi Dervishes whirl to the tune of the ney. Krishna has his own flute. Across many cultures, the flute is associated with mystical trance and the Taoist diversity of life. The sound has been associated with angels, perpetuating protective, apotropaic and magical functions (as in the Pied Piper of Hamelin), linked to birds, the winged Eros (and the putti), and a Magic Flute. The list is long: there have been so many stepping stones in the development of such a vivacious instrument crafted from so many materials since Shamanic times.
The air in a flute is like panicking energy seeking a way out. Air in motion fans flames. The motion is tangible, the “animus” can be controlled. Interestingly, the French term for “airway” – the aperture in an organ pipe – is “lumière” (light).
The blossoming of the instrument has also, since the beginning, been a matter of deep sensuality. Mouths, fingers, lips combine to produce sound that can seduce, invent. Dionysian energy and Apollonian lucidity tap into interconnected fields of meaning. Today they are differentiated. At Delphi, they were bonded.
Waves (“strings”!) have infinite potential, yet can entertain frequential relationships that are tenuous and indeed challenge our current perceptive capabilities, creating places of subtlety linked to the most open creative thinking, freed from shackles, blocks and regression, and rejoicing in complexity. Alain Louvier’s works take us back to the original breath from which emerge structures, invitations to dance, the Faun, flora, jubilatory anabases, and, in, the forefront, new timbres, festive textures, counterpoints, and the “generative fifths” championed by Debussy. In all, a truly singular and quite remarkable freedom of expression.
Jean-Michel BARDEZ
Traduit en anglais par Alan Fell et Jean-Christophe Hecquet

bio Francois Veilhan

Francois Veilhan , flutist, soloist.

Many creations. Courses with contemporary composers (D. Lemaitre, B. Putignano, P. Drew, Adam Walrand P. Fouillaud, JL Petit, A. Fourchotte G. Garcin, JL Darbellay, Benjamin G., A. Louvier F. Bousch, A. Gaussin R. Tessier, A. Small, JC Wolff etc …). Dedicatee of many scores.

Founded the Campsis all four variable geometry flutes. Duets with Brigitte Trannoy-Petitgirard , piano, Bernard Heulin , percussion. All Sound Memories (association of the same name, VF Chairman), meets wood, string, keyboard and voice.

Alongside his intense musical activity he was taken to propose and serve other types of concerts (music and lyrics, music and visual arts) festivals and seasons in France and abroad.

He co-organizes in Paris since 2013, the season Dialogue Present (with Aline Artinian), creates or gets many scores. Guest composers.

Invited for master classes, FV is the author of two books instrumental pedagogy (Henry Lemoine). Teaches Hector Berlioz Conservatory 10th in Paris and Western Greater Paris ( CRD Meudon ).

Pulsars discs ( Dominique Lemaitre) , (production and ESADHAAR PIEDNU festival), « To Kill a few ghosts » (Clarisse editions).

Founding member of the Friends of Charlotte Delbo

Bio Ensemble Campsis

Founded in 2009 during a « Concert Poetics » in Vissi d’Arte in Paris, all CAMPSIS was invited, since, in prestigious festivals Musicultura in Lecce (Italy 2010), Music in Normandy (2011), Spring Rouen (2013), Nomads in Paris (2013), PiedNu Le Havre (2013), 5th International Flute Convention in Levallois-Perret (2016), and the season of the town hall 3rd ardt of Paris (2018), season CRR of Paris (2018), seasons of the Documentation Center of Contemporary Music in Paris (2015), Prima La Musica in Poitiers (2013), the City Hall of the 2nd arrondissement in Paris (2013), Ars Antonina in Nice (2012 ), the « Mercredix of Art » in Paris (2010) etc …
Campsis, besides concerts, initiated or used the actions crossing music with literature, to bring to public knowledge during the original show, concerts, unpublished texts by Charlotte Delbo (the play The Sentence) , Maurice Andrieux (mine Memory North of France), or the poetic work of Alexis Pelletier. The ensemble has collaborated with actors Edith Scob, Raphaelle Gitlis, Jean-Claude Mezieres, Laurence Valmont.
Several composers have entrusted the world premieres Philip Drew, Christian Gouinguené Alain Fourchotte Brian Wilshere Paul Pilott, Biagio Putignano, Dominique Lemaître … (see directory). Campsis has recorded a CD dedicated to the music for flute composer Dominique Lemaître, co-produced by ESADHAAR and PIEDNU (published in 2015).