Magazine article Gramophone

Radigue: Naldjorlak I, II, III

Magazine article Gramophone

Radigue: Naldjorlak I, II, III

Article excerpt

Radigue

Naldjorlak I, II, III

Charles Curtis vc

Carol Robinson, Bruno Martinez basset-hns

Shiiin [F] SHIIIN3 (59' * DDD)

For 30 years Eliane Radigue devoted all her energies to creating electronic music until, one epiphanic night in 2004, she heard the cellist Charles Curtis and decided that she'd like to write him a piece. And you can't help but wonder what it was about Curtis's artistry that shook the core of her creative being so fundamentally.

Radigue called the piece she made for Curtis--and its two sequels--Naldjorlak, a self-invented word that, apparently, evokes a concept of union and of starting out from almost nothing, which if, like Radigue, you are immersed in Buddhism, will rhyme with your understanding of the Tibetan language. But there's a ghost in the machine. Naldjorlak I, for solo cello, embraces the so-called wolf tone, an inherently unstable fifth that equal-tempered tuning would normally 'correct', and the instrument is thus transformed into a harmonically pure resonating chamber. When I say 'the instrument', I mean it literally: the tailpiece and spike of the cello are also made to resonate in sympathy, and this music of drones, overtones and bare sonic bones begins in the cello's bowels and subsequently generates itself as if by magic as Curtis leans increasingly on the wolf tone, filling the air with dancing, throbbing frequency overtones all with a life of their own. …

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