#132– January 31, 2022
Photo credit: Priska Ketterer
“Fanfare Chimérique” by South Korean composer Unsuk Chin is our Composition of the Week.
Fanfare Chimérique was written between 2010 and 2011. It was commissioned by IRCAM – Centre-Pompidou and the Ensemble Intercontemporain, which premiered the work on April 15, 2011, at the Centre-Pompidou in Paris, under Patrick Danvin. Unsuk Chin has later revised the work in 2019. We present here the first, original version.
The live electronic’s device was produced at IRCAM’s studios and realized by Benoît Meudic.
Fanfare Chimérique is written for too identical wind ensembles, using the following instrumentation, 2 flûtes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinettes, 2 bassons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones and 2 tubas.
The electronic sampler should be spatialized through a set of 6 loudspeakers distributed on stage and behind the audience. All players should remain standing throughout the piece. The music has a duration of 14 minutes and it is available at Boosey and Hawkes on rental.
Unsuk Chin speaks about Fanfare Chimerique in an interview prior to the premiere:
“If Lewis Carroll understood what the child psyche suggests of an expanded dream world, it is precisely these small glimpses of onirism – which are the realm of the imagination – that I try to express through his music. Thus, the title of the piece, Fanfare chimérique, which evokes not only those fantastic creatures straight out of Greek mythology, which mix the bodies of different existing creatures, but also the ideas of illusion, utopia, or unattainable dreams. However, my piece is not about Greek mythology or genetics. For me, music is an abstract art form. I chose this title, first of all, for its musical and sound qualities. Second, the allusions it carries are only relevant in terms of electronic processing – especially in the parallels it suggests in terms of real-time sound processing. Fanfare chimérique is my first piece for solo winds. And, also for the first time, I am composing for two identical ensembles – which will be spatialized. This concept – two ensembles confronting each other in space and real-time electronic processing – has allowed me various games of mirroring, contrasts, and chiaroscuro…” (Interview with Unsuk Chin by Jérémie Szpirglas)
Unsuk Chin was born in Seoul, studied with Ligeti in Hamburg, and is now resident in Berlin (Germany).
She is the winner of the 2004 Grawemeyer Award for her Violin Concerto, the 2005 Arnold Schoenberg Prize, the 2010 Prince Pierre Foundation Music Award, the 2017 Wihuri Sibelius Prize, and the 2018 Kravis Prize.
Her output features both electronic and acoustic scores. Music is modern in language but lyrical and non-doctrinaire in communicative power. She has an acute ear for instrumentation, orchestral color, and rhythmic imagery. Her music is performed worldwide by major orchestras, contemporary music ensembles such as Bavarian State Opera, Berlin Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Radio France Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and others.
As well as contemporary music ensembles such as Ensemble Intercontemporain, London Sinfonietta, Klangforum Wien, Asko|Schönberg Ensemble, Ensemble Modern, Arditti Quartet and Kronos Quartet.
Unsuk Chin is the Artistic Director of Tongyeong International Festival in South Korea and Weiwuying International Music Festival in Taiwan from 2022.
More on Unsuk Chin