Grenoble Music – Classical music
classical music / The ninth edition of Folle Nuit is dedicated to classical music in the Grenoble museum. With a theme that makes so much sense this year: night, it’s pretty simple. Amid the many concerts planned, Claire Laplace, music culture teacher at the Grenoble conservatory, is holding a conference on the topic. An opportunity to see the good relationship that unites the composer with the nightlife.
When we talk about the relationship between night and classical music in a broad sense, one name immediately stands out: Chopin and his famous work nocturnal for piano. How to explain the extraordinary popular success of this 19th century play?ᵉ century?
That nocturnal embodying a bit of the archetype of the romantic musician, so the inspired musician, the musician connected to the world of poetry, the musician at once at the heart of society, who frequents concert venues and salons, but who is also a bit disconnected from it in his imagination, in his artistic universe. It is a passage that immediately opens up to many listeners a world of daydreams, an inner world, a world of emotions where everyone projects what they want in listening. We can see this nocturnal as an invitation to spontaneity. Chopin composed it throughout his life, it is not a corpus written in one piece, but small isolated pieces that arrive one, two, at most three, and which cover very long periods. , like a composer’s diary . Listeners easily allow themselves to be carried away by the work and wander in their own memories, in the resonance that the work evokes in them. In other words, it is music that can also be listened to without any burden. I don’t think you feel too guilty for not being the expert when you listen to a Evening from Chopin.
In the night, one has the impression of communing with the world, with other eras, with those who do not exist: disappointed loves, absent from other generations, models or gods.
In general, if we add Moonlight from Debussy, that is Little night music of Mozart, christened sonata “In Moonlight” by Beethoven or even Daydream by Schumann, we recognize that many classic hits refer to the night. Why does this theme speak to composers as much as the general public?
I think it’s human, an affinity for a world where our senses work differently. At night, there’s everything you can’t see, everything you can imagine. And then there’s everything that we project, just look at the effect that the starry sky still has on us today, I think it connects us to the universe in a poetic, mystical, symbolic dimension, something that is very rich for humans. In the night, one has the impression of communing with the world, with other eras, with those who do not exist: disappointed loves, absent from other generations, models or gods. Much of the music that evokes the night references mythological figures, both on the side of the Greek gods, on the side of witches. It is vast in every way open to the imagination.
It also speaks to the general public because it is an imaginative space that everyone experiences. We all have had the opportunity to experience the night in different places, at different times in our lives, so it invites us to reconnect with our experiences, to say to ourselves: ” It’s not far from me anyway. And then, basically, the concert takes place in the evening, tradition has it, which involves leaving your house in the evening, coming back in the evening, being in a state conducive to more listening, less daydreaming, away from the activities of the day. So proposing a work that already speaks to this other world is a wide open door.
What will you offer during your conference?
I chose to focus on the lesser-known stuff to avoid the hits exactly, with a desire to create a journey that mixes music from different eras. There will be matters to the figure of Morpheus, the god of sleep, especially the canon by Brahms to the text by Goethe. I will also mobilize fantastic, literary, romantic evenings, producing many effusions, with contours that are sometimes disturbing, as in From birth from Schumann which was anything but a “dream/relaxation” night. But also stuff from the XXᵉ century like maybe Xenakis and his Evening for 12 voices, which offers a night whose voices are made evil by darkness. For him, it was also a symbolic idea of prison, a night in the depths of the dungeon – it was the politically involved part.
Was the night understood in the same way by the composers of the ages?
The old nights, in any case in the 16th century, were much more connected with the world of the gods, with a conception of the world that is still very much connected with the divine. Much less influential in the XXᵉ century where we are more on the side of nature, on the night side which, by means of modern astronomy, is almost scientific, metaphysical. In the From canyons to stars, Olivier Messiaen thus evokes the idea of a very small Man in a very large universe. Romantic evenings of the 19th century were, for their part, shaped by literature. That Hymns for the evening by the great poet Novalis, for example, has greatly inspired composers such as Schumann.
There are those who compose at night and those at night which seem, in the collective unconscious, to be a special time of creation. For example, did Chopin write his own nocturnal night?
So I can’t tell you what Evening what time of day it is written! (laugh). But yes, the evening is conducive to composition. Musicians also need silence to hear within themselves, to hear music that doesn’t exist yet, and that needs to be put down on paper. The night is conducive to listening, quite simply. We know that Bach played a musical instrument called the clavichord at home, a very quiet keyboard instrument that did not disturb those sleeping in the next room in the least. And then, night is time stolen from day, it’s time to end. Composers always have more music in their head than time to write it. So the night allows us to catch up. I think of that Mozart, on the eve of the premiere of the opera And Giovanni, wrote the overture for the orchestra. These few fundamental minutes, he wrote them the night before the premiere.
La Folle Nuit: Ode to the night Friday 20 and Saturday 21 January at the Musée de Grenoble, from €5 to €20 per concert. Lecture by Claire Laplace on Jan. 21 at 12:15 p.m. in the museum library