Ciro Longobardi

Luc Ferrari: Exercises d'improvisation

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Luc Ferrari was one of the pioneers of electronic music, and his works of the 1960s and 1970s were influential among musicians who wanted to merge live performance and improvisation with taped sounds. Exercises d'improvisation (1977) was conceived as a suite of short pieces for up to 8 players, limited by certain parameters yet left open to the performers' choices of raw musical material, number of exercises to play, and other variables. In this 2011 concert performance, Ciro Longobardi improvises harmonies at the piano while he is accompanied by pre-recorded electronic sounds, which consist of drones, oscillating pitches, and rapid flutterings. The music has a hypnotic, ambient quality, and rather than emphasizing gestures or melody, Longobardi aims instead to sustain certain textures that fit the rather static patterns of the tape. The closing piece, À la recherche du rythme perdu (1978), employs material from Musique Socialiste (1972), a work for harpsichord and tape. Here, Longobardi plays piano, and the improvisational approach is conceived in terms of jazz, instead of the classical orientation of the earlier piece. In contrast to the soothing flow of Exercises d'improvisation, À la recherche du rythme perdu is active and fragmented, and the music is much more challenging. The piano is quite close-up in the mix, and for a live recording the sound is remarkably free of audience noises except for the applause at the end.

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