Co-commission of the Lubéron Quartet Festival and Mondsee Musiktage.
Premiered on August 25, 2019, at Silvacane Abbey as part of the Lubéron Quartet Festival, by the Auryn Quartet.
Feuilles d'eau by Silvacane is a work for string quartet dedicated to the Auryn Quartet.
Created during the summer of 2019 at the Abbey of Silvacane in the south of France, the piece first of all echoes the ornamental motifs typical of the 12th century Cistercian abbeys called “water leaves”. These are leaves that flare and fold in volutes, decorating the capitals of columns which carry the fallout from the vaults. These sober patterns already inspired me to transform musical material throughout the piece.
But the title also refers to the magnificent work of Fabienne Verdier  in her Feuilles d'eau de Silvacane (2004): a series of six canvases measuring 46 x 27.5cm made with ink, pigments and varnish. . It represents six sheets of water in diluted black ink on a gray background (the Silvacane stone). A small red square represents alchemy - the inner fire leading to transcendence - on each of the canvases. For the colourist and the lover of instrumental textures that I am, Fabienne Verdier's technique is fascinating. It is inspired by the Chinese calligraphic style entitled Mad Grass: fleeting impression, extravagant improvisation born from an inner drive. This artistic approach finds resonance in me because the "click" bringing the idea that will irrigate an entire room is always surprising. I never really know how this abstract idea suddenly became concrete and written down on paper!
During the writing of this piece, I therefore had in mind this sobriety of the Cistercian abbeys and the images of this diluted, liquid and diaphanous ink on the canvases of Verdier. But of course I thought of the leaf of nature itself! I looked for various color and grain palettes to dress the sound of the string quartet and nourish the material like sap nourishes a plant. I used an organic material that regenerates and renews itself constantly. It floods the whole room with the images I had.
First of all, that of the cool and misty dawn and the dewdrops which bead on the leaves (pizzicati at the beginning); iridescent reflections of the rising sun on the leaves; weak and unstable rays of light trying to pierce through the foliage (harmonic tremolos). The latter are more and more insistent to emerge from these melted flat areas with a rustling texture and whose bows are imperceptible. The grain changes (on the bridge, on the fingerboard, flautando, ricochets) as the light varies in color and intensity over the course of a day. These are all impressionist touches that blend together and become diluted in the material. They give way to a brilliant and dancing central part with an inexhaustible pulse, thus celebrating the mysterious and vital force of the plant material always in transformation. The play ends with the radiance of the moon rising over the gardens of Silvacane, bathing the water leaves in this twilight glow.
This piece was completed in March 2019 at Maison Messiaen during the residency in partnership with the Agence Iséroise de Diffusion Artistique.