Review of Exils by Rémi Jousselme, Contrastes Records, 2016
“Composition should be something that truly has being, something that should have arisen from the composer’s own turbolent interaction with reality. For the composer, reality is nothing more than sounds.”
Toru Takemitsu, Confronting Silence Selected Writings pag 14
Yes, reality. For a composer, as Toru Takemitsu tells us in his book Confronting Silence, reality is sound, nothing but sound … and for an interpreter? It’s the same thing? Are they the same things?
Tise question, which perhaps would make more than a jazzist smile, is not so trivial ifwe compare ourselves to classical music where for centuries the practice of a formal distinction between the composer, who create music by “anchoring” it on a score and who play music interpretating it by transforming the indications and the signs of its author into sounds, notes.
This question came to my mind by listening to this cd for two reasons, the first listening to the particular interpretation that French guitarist Rémi Jousselme has infused to the music of Toru Takemitsu, it seems to me that Jousselme has been particularly able to emphasize one of the aspects that characterize the Japanese composer’s music: the sense of Ma.
Ma, the non-space, is an important element not only in music but also in other aspects of Japanese culture, such as No theater, architecture, but also the same relationships between people.
Here, I think Jousselme has succeeded in making this impalpable aspect of Japanese culture into his music by infusing it not only in Takemitsu’s music but also in that of the Bulgarian composer Atanas Ourkouzounov, who succeed in merging ideally with those of the Japanese colleague and in whom we can find a tribute to Takemitsu and variations on a Japanese theme.
The other aspect is the particular character Jousselme wanted to infuse on this cd: it is in fact devoted to the immigrants, the people who for a long time have lived or, perhaps better said, survived in desperate conditions in that Jungle camp set up near Calais. The attention that is further strengthened by the sad and desperate stories created by Royds Fuentes-Imbert, which are narrated within the 44 pages of the booklet accompanying the CD, are accompanied by strong, intense drawings and images that blend with the melancholy music of Takemitsu and Ourkouzounov, for an even strong result. Excellent record!
TORU TAKEMITSU (1930-1996)
1. Over the rainbow (Harold Arlen) (02.52) 2. Amours perdues (Joseph Kosma)(03.42) 3. Summertime (George Gershwin) (03.10) 4. L’Internationale (Pierre De Geyter) (02.38)
5. A boy named Hiroshima (03.26) 6. Over the rainbow again (thème) (00.51)
From ‘In the Woods’
7. Wainscot Pond – after a painting by Cornelia Foss (04.04) 8. Muir Woods (06.25) 9. A piece for guitar for the 60th Birthday of Sylvano Bussotti (01.27) 10. Summertime (thème) (01.22)
ATANAS OURKOUZOUNOV (1970)
Eastern Songs (first recording and dedicated to Rémi Jousselme)
11.Na ti mome dzivri (Bulgaria) (01.56) 12.Edo lullaby (Japan) (02.20) 13.Niška Banja (Serbia) (01.27) 14.Kutchiika titcha pred dramuliika (Bulgaria) (02.05) 15.Polegnala e Tudora (Bulgaria) (02.31)
Postlude in Green (Tribute to Takemitsu)
16. I. (02.34) 17. II. (03.32)
Toryanse Tales (Variations on a Japanese Theme)
18.Lento,liberamente (01.02) 19.Moderato (00.47) 20.Vivo (01.09) 21.Calmo (01.39) 22.Lento (01.51) 23.Lento libero,senza tempo (Vivo) (01.12) 24.Vivo & Lento,liberamente (02.45)
TORU TAKEMITSU (1930-1996)
25. Amours perdues (thème) (01.31)