For this concert, the Béla Quartet opened its suitcases for an evening in Marseille...

He found Henry Fourès' striking work Un bel éclair qui durerait, for quartet and augmented percussion. The piece explores the possibilities of the strings' acoustic discourse, in dialogue with the virtuoso art of percussionist Jean Geoffroy, who in addition to his infallible instrumental technique, transmutes the natural choreography of the hands into unheard-of sounds.

Following on from this, the four musicians will play the piece written by Robert Pascal for the Quatuor Béla, Obscure Lumière, in memory of the victims of the Camp des Milles during the Second World War, in resonance with the Hymne des Milles composed in 1939 by Adolf Siebert, then in detention at the Camp des Milles. The composer's refined music has been ardently defended since his early days, when Robert was still teaching at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Lyon. His highly personal style combines rigorous writing with inspired, humanist poetry.

Last but not least, Francesca Verunelli, a singular creator recognizable by all, offers the Quatuor Béla the premiere of her new string quartet. Following her Unfolding for quartet and electronics, anyone familiar with her art will expect music with diaphanous, adamantine textures. Rich in possibilities, this is a work that will sometimes open with rich, scintillating polyphony, sometimes with sharp, delirious rhythms.

Francesca Verunelli - Creation 2024

Henry FourèsA Beautiful Lightning Bolt That Would Last
In the publishing catalogues of the last thirty years, there are few works in quintet, combining percussion and string quartet. This is because the questions raised by this device are numerous, relating as much to the nature of the project as to the type of formal structuring that it induces and that is linked to it, and to the choice of the various writing strategies to be implemented. The string quartet is an instrumental device that is both "cultural" and "symbolic", in relation to which everyone can immediately situate themselves. In contrast, percussion can then appear as a "monohedron", an inverted world, offering an infinite number of devices (here: phonolites, wooden blades, balafon, hi-hat pedal, bamboo, Tibetan bowls, wooden and metal drums, etc.).
From the conception of the project, it seemed to me that writing had to abdicate part of its power of control, ceding "mastery" to the anadyomene ambiguities that the real-time transformation of percussive sounds could maintain with the quartet.
It's a bit like painting on damp paint in the process of drying, to better grasp the vitality and exalt the material in its insubstantial contingency, at the same time as the idea that drives the project into the immediacy of its realization.
Un bel éclair qui dure is commissioned by Ircam-Centre Pompidou, carried out with the help of Augustin Muller, a computer music director at Ircam.

Robert Pascal - Obscure Lumière
To write a short piece for string quartet in resonance with theHymne des Milles- that was the initial proposal I received from the Quatuor Béla. Accepting the project without hesitation, I was faced with an unknown challenge: how to integrate into my composition music I didn't yet know, and which was coming to me from outside. To be meaningful, the fit had to be broad and deep. Odile Boyer, deputy director of the Fondation du Camp des Mille-Mémoire et Education, made this possible by introducing me to and understanding the site of the camp itself, and by proposing for my reading - among other things - "The Devil in France", a very touching autobiographical account by the German writer Lion Feuchtwanger, who was interned in the camp before being able to escape in 1940. All this may have brought me close to those who lived in the camp at the time, many of them artists and intellectuals, and my composition is driven by an instinctive sympathy for them, especially the musician Adolf Siebert, who wrote the Hymn under such difficult conditions. Obscure lumière is permeated by his song. At least in a subterranean way, because there's no point in composing in the hope of gaining recognition for a song that the majority of the public doesn't know anyway. Nevertheless, the composition allows the Hymn to emerge clearly from the musical framework, just as for the internees, light could emerge from darkness.

Verunelli / Fourès / Pascal
Quatuor Béla, Jean Geoffroy
Tue. February 20, 2024 | 7:00 pm Friche la Belle de Mai (Petit Plateau)


One-off €6
Modulations loyalty card €30*
Limited number of seats
*Gives access to all Modulations in the season 23-24

Latecomers will not be admitted to the theater, as some shows do not tolerate late entries - at the Producer's request.

By e-mail:
On site: on the day of the performance, half an hour before the show, subject to availability.

What are Modulations?
Concerts, performances, regular events...
In other words, a season organized by GMEM.
2nd semester dates:
16/01 - 20/02 - 03/03 - 19/03 - 16/04 - 12/05


Quatuor Béla
string quartet

Jean Geoffroy

Augustin Muller
Ircam Electronics

Clément Cerles
Ircam sound diffusion


Francesca Verunelli  
< CRÉATION 2024 > — 15 min

Robert Pascal
Obscure Lumière - 5 min
string quartet, on "Hymne des Milles". 

Henry Fourès
Un bel éclair qui durerait - 30 min
quintet for string quartet and augmented percussion

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