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Alleluiah Graffitis

Jean-Philippe Audin


The Prelude in G occupies a special place in music.

After having long held the role assigned to it by its composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, as the opening piece in the series of Suites for solo cello, the Prelude began, from the second half of the twentieth century onwards, a brilliant solo career in film and advertising.

It has become part of the collective unconscious and is still gratefully received by audiences of all ages and persuasions.

My experience from multiple performances of the complete six Bach suites has shown me that the court dances that follow do not receive the same reception as this first piece by far. Unless the preludes are played again at the end of each suite, after the gigues, satisfaction is never forthcoming, replaced by the fear of being lost in the counts and of missing the last chord of the last movement, intoxicated by the emotion and abused by the multiple repeats and the three parts of the minuet. Moreover, the rhythmic stability of the prelude contrasts paradoxically with the liberties taken in the interpretation of dances whose traces have long since been erased.

The opening bars of the prelude live with the cellist for life. With the index finger of the left hand alone they could play the notes of the first bar, the second with two and so on to the fourth. How many times have our friends asked us to show them? How many of them stammered out these first notes over and over again, poking the lock of a sky that was supposed to be inaccessible? Like professionals, alone between play and I!

Joyful, the motif - I hear the Alleluiah of universal joy - is accompanied by the obstinate G of the bass on the strong beats, while the intermediate notes complete the harmony and ensure rhythmic continuity.

But how do you get out of it and stay in it? Varying the motif and the modes of play, feeding it with rhythms and harmonies captured during travels and encounters, here are 32 variations on the motif of the prelude to J.S. Bach's first suite, written for the cello, this formidable machine for travelling through time and space and its infinite variety of acoustic perfumes. Micro-preludes, graffiti (tags). Like so many colourful doors opened by the same key.

The order here only responds to an editorial constraint. Alleluiah Graffitis lends itself to a random reading. Depending on the moment, one may prefer continuity to surprise, convention to provocation. One will encounter sonorities and techniques that do not appear in any classical method.

This recording was made at the now destroyed Davout studio, the Parisian temple of recorded music, where I participated in so many recording sessions with so many great composers, Delerue, Legrand, Coulais, John Barry, Lalo Shifrin, Cosma, Kravitz, Yared, Desplat, Lai, etc.

Jean-Philippe Audin


Reviews on... -> France Musique/Le Bach du dimanche - Pizzicato - Radio Coteaux - Froggy's delight - Voce Nustrale - Musikzen - -



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