La nuit rouge de ses paupières

Violin and live electronics.

The title of the piece, La nuit rouge (de ses paupières), derives from the novel Friday, Or, The Other Island by Michel Tournier, a retelling of the Robinson Crusoe legend.  In Tournier’s version, the fate of Robinson Crusoe takes a completely different turn.,  He becomes a sort of an animal and returns to the wild. Friday is not his slave, but becomes Robinson Crusoe’s master.  In the beginning of the novel, when Robinson Crusoe is completely lost and despondent, he closes his eyes and “looks” at the sun with his eyes closed.  He sees red lightning streaks through his closed eyelids.  It is an experience that everyone has had.  Metaphorically, this is the image upon which this piece is based.  The close-knit dialogue between the violin and the electronic is also a metaphor for the dialogue between Robinson Crusoe and himself throughout Tournier’s novel.

Violin: Szuhwa Wu
Composition and live electronics: Lorenzo Bianchi Hoesch

Première at “Cité des Arts” de Besançon, 2014.

Interview excerpts :

Lorenzo: It is a piece for violin and real-time electronics.  It is a very violent piece, without any moment of peace.  The composition establishes a very close dialogue between the violin and its electronic double. This is a very difficult and virtuosic piece to play, where the drive to take on the soloistic and performer character on stage is vital.  This is also why the piece is dedicated to Szuhwa. Interview translation.

Szuhwa: The technical set-up is rather standard for “mixed” music: the sound I produce on the violin is picked up, amplified and transformed via a small microphone.  In addition, I use a foot pedal, which allows me to control directly the computer program written for this piece.

Lorenzo: The electronic part of the piece is constructed with several very simple tools that establishes a straightforward dialogue between the computer and the instrument.  The real-time sound transformations include the “Reverse” effect, which records a short clip of sound and plays it back, in reverse; the “Freeze” effect, which “freezes” a short sound snippet and renders it perpetual; and lastly, a “Distortion” effect.

Szuhwa: I loved the piece from the start.  I loved this singular and fantastical sound that he has envisioned for the violin.  It feels like I am playing from the innards of my instrument.  It is a sensation that I have never experienced before, that is also very musical at the same time, because he takes full advantages of the timbral complexities and richness of the violin. For the performer, playing the piece at the speed and the volume he demands is extremely powerful and physical.