Histoires de gestes

The history of percussion is one of gesture: the act of striking, of course, usually associated with percussion instruments, but also the acts of shaking, rubbing, scraping, plucking, caressing, massaging…




With these Histoires de gestes (Stories of gestures), Sixtrum is particularly interested in composers who use gesture as a basic element of their works. Oddly, some of these works play with silent gestures, or at the the limits of silence, such as Pierre qui roule n’amasse pas paraddidles gather no moss by Quebec composer Myke Roy, premiered in 2009 by Sixtrum, that stages a “sound-mime” grappling with his musical imagination. The relationship with silence is also present in Gilles Mottet’s works Oxymore and Jeux de miroir “where the listener and the player fill silence with references to their own experiences with the world of sound.”

Painting with Breath, by New Zealand composer David Downes, uses sound created by bamboos and bullroarers that cut through the air. Pièces de gestes, by Belgian Thierry de Mey, choreographs the movements of five pairs of hands playing on tables, while Strings Attached by American-Autralian composer Erik Griswold maked the players experiment with different sound gestures, for instance using strings attached to the percussion sticks. Live sound sculptures!

Finally, Mémoires de peaux by French composer Bruno Giner contrastingly uses the pure and powerfull stroke movements, almost choreographic and highly virtuoso, of six percussionists playing drums.

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