Gérard Pesson


"Being awake while the master sleeps." Using these words, Gérard Pesson defines transcription. Carving out a path between irony and distance with the original, he breathes new life into the imaginary landscapes of Ravel, Scriabine and Mahler in a manner which is not void of melancholy. How we hear their works is altered, suspended in an illusory manner by a form of memory which is both flawed and creative.

Choirs of the dead and the living, the transcriptions of Gérard Pesson are exercises in admiration. We encounter Ravel, the "frail, mysterious, bashful and caustic" brother, Scriabine, whose incandescent, hallucinatory piano pieces summon up the verb itself, that of Constantin Balmont or Ossip Mandelstam, and in whose poems Pesson has embedded his chants, and Mahler, whose Adagietto from the Fifth Symphony is adorned with the verses of August von Platen. In Chants populaires, the poems of Philippe Beck are derived in analogical manner from the Brothers Grimm tales, thereby perpetuating their delectable, cruel games. We will also be treated to a new piece, a threnody-like homage to the untimely death of a friend. Amongst these choir works, Pesson will be breaking through the surrounding smoothness and dulcet tones with instrumental pieces: an unmeasured prelude for piano, in homage to the composer and harpsichordist Froberger, as well as two short cello pieces, stripped to their bare essentials, providing the evening's audience with an archipelago of sounds. And, last but not least, Catch Sonata, which transcribes, in the place of music, Freud's Fort-Da spinning-top game, in which an idea which refuses, in silence, to be distanced or erased, is seized upon.