Daniel D’Adamo/Thierry Blondeau: Plier-Déplier (YAN.003)

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Daniel D’Adamo
Thierry Blondeau
Plier-Déplier

Béla Quartet
Julien Dieudegard
violin
Frédéric Aurier violin
Julian Boutin viola
Luc Dedreuil violoncello
Recorded, edited, and mixed in 2012 by Gérard de Haro at Studios La Buissonne
Mastered by Nicolas Baillard
Steinway prepared by Alain Massonneau
Produced by Marc Thouvenot & La Buissonne
Release date: November 19, 2013

Plier-Déplier (Folding and Unfolding) is the title piece, jointly composed by Daniel D’Adamo and Thierry Blondeau, of this fascinating program of string quartet music. Played with astonishing (meta)physical accuracy by the Béla Quartet, it comes across as three-dimensional and tangible. Prerecorded snippets allow insight into the preparatory elements of these constructions. Some are distant, others intimately close. Such extremes give credence to the between-ness of things, just as the rising and setting of the sun confirms our allegiance to the day. Though nearly all of these 19 pieces average two minutes in length, there’s a sense of expansion at play from one to the next. Silence is as much employed for its notecraft as scored action. Calling these vignettes therefore feels grossly inaccurate, as they are no less narrow in scope than a haiku. So-called extended techniques become the norm, while traditional bowing serves to insist on the contrivances of measured speech, directed emotion, and impositions of time. In the present context, urgency of clarity becomes a disruption to the comforts of a given instrument’s tessitura, stretching the limits of possibility as naturally as blinking. Implications abound in the creak of a tuning peg, the scrape of an un-vocalized string. Contrasts of breezes and gales coexist in a fluttering storm, while harmonics resound like sirens of the heart, coaxing themselves to shore.

Blondeau and D’Adamo each offer a solitary composition as postlude. Where the former’s Last Week-End on Mars evokes air raids and space travel, using electronics to enhance the vagaries of time, the latter’s Découper – petite passacaille touches the edges of its own vocabulary—not with the tongue but with the fingertips. The quartet’s delicacy, interspersed with forthright expulsions of air, gives a taste of the meal that never reaches this proverbial table. Instead, it leaves us to ponder the empty plate before us as if it were our own life, scarred by years of silverware and unthinking consumption.

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