Festival Archipel 2014: Origines

Festival Archipel, Geneva, Switzerland

After more than 2000 years of research on the temperaments, musicians have found a purely mathematical solution to tune their instruments: the equal temperament. But now a silent revolution has deeply transformed contemporary music since it is no longer based on twelve equally tempered semitones. With the support of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation Archipel 2014 will offer a whole series of events dedicated to this fundamental breaking point. In addition to an exhibition and a conference Archipel will stage the Swiss creation of Harry Partch’s latest opera. As a precursor of the Just Intonation Theory as well as an outsider, the American composer developed a harmonic system based on a 43-tone scale in order to play pure intervals and get closer to ancient Greek music intonation. Furthermore, a vocal music concert will be performed in the Pythagorean temperament used in the Middle Ages, in which fifths are pure to the detriment of thirds. Young Italian composer Daniele Ghisi has written interpolations that will be performed between Machaut’s Mass movements, the first mass in the history of music. Additionally, Archipel 2014 will perform the premiere of Goebbels War I based on the text by Gertrude Stein. Its main theme, the return to origins, is also the focus of the pieces by Thomas Adès and Jonathan Harvey since Genesis (In Seven Days) and Buddhist reincarnation (Body Mandala) inspired their work. It is an anchoring in ancient times for Grisey, who refers to Greek, Egyptian and Sumerian death rituals (Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil). For Ferneyhough as well, who opposes, as Deleuze did, Cronus and Aion in his work, it is the time of action and body, and the time of pure moment that is yet to come. 

March 21–30, 2014
Geneva, Switzerland 

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