CD "Gerard Pape - Ascension to Purgatory" by Costin Cazaban
(from Le Monde de la Musique, April 2007)
A composer who is both cultivated and sensitive, always on the cutting edge of technology, Gerard Pape draws from his acquaintances, his contacts (notably with Xenakis), without precious intellectualism or specious eclecticism. The sonority of Fleuve du désir (River of Desire) for eight solo violins might recall “La Lontananza” of Luigi Nono, but the interplay between order and chaos, the Freudian symbolism and the use of micro-intervals leads us towards wider associations.
A culture of ambiguity (unstable harmony sometimes evoking tonality) combined with the fluidity of form (which makes reference to fractals and chaos theory) lives together in his music. Dynamic and nervous, La Naissance du Son (The Birth of Sound) also plays on the «progressive sliding» of the structure. In Ascension au Purgatoire (Ascension to Purgatory), the percussion symbolizes at the same time Dante allowing himself to be guided by Virgil and the terrestrial belonging of the poet. The most direct expression of this program is to be found in Funeral Sentences, in the plaintive heterophony of the two sopranos (with the very moving participation of Janet Pape and Armelle Orieux) which alternates with episodes of percussion.
This recording benefits from the participation of well-known artists, among which are Irvine Arditti, Rohan de Saram, Nicholas Isherwoood, Roland Auzet or Maurizio Barbetti.