Although not as well known as some of his composer colleagues in France, Luc Ferrari (1929-2005) was a remarkable French composer who distinguished himself with a wide variety of works from traditionally notated compositions for conventional instruments to indeterminate scores, improvisations, experimental tape works, radio pieces, films and multimedia installations. This CD, Mode Records’ second disc featuring music by Ferrari, vividly confirms this fact.
• Après presque rien (after almost nothing) is an unusual, moody musical reaction to Ferrari’s series of six Presque rien works spanning more than three decades of his career (1967-2001), conceived for tape recorder and displaying Ferrari’s concept of “anecdotal” music and love of nature. Après presque rien is a vivid instrumental work interspersed with a broad range of taped environmental sounds. It was a special commission from the avant-garde band Art Zoyd, Musiques Nouvelles and CCMIX.
• Visage 2 for two trumpets, trombone, tuba, piano and six percussionists (on this disc) is the second piece in a five-part series of works carrying the same title and spanning the period between 1955 and 1959. While most of the works in this series reflect Ferrari’s fascination with serialism, Visage 2 is a physical confrontation of two sexual bodies, telling gestures with notes, rhythms and instruments.
• Madame de Shanghai blends flute sounds with field recordings from the Asian commercial center of Paris (Avenue d’Ivry), including Chinese and Vietnamese voices. At the end of this piece, Ferrari features the voice of Orson Welles, who directed the 1947 film noir The Lady of Shanghai and acted the lover of “The Lady of Shanghai” (Rita Hayworth). Ferrari says “… I can say that this “dramatic comedy” is a bit of a tribute to the film by Orson Welles.”
• Liner notes by Sabine Feisst and Luc Ferrari.