Ode au métal

For saxophone quartet, large, modified sheets of metal, musical welding and sound treatment in real time

Ode au métal is an alliance between musical theater and performative sound installation. It is a piece that highlights the material, visually and sonically, by exploring it, exploiting it with human beings at its centre and their breath in the face of the solidity and strength of metal.

This work fills a space where metal resonates, vibrating through the audience which also finds itself in the heart of a tug of war with steel. It is a piece very close to the moment, instinctive, yet lively and emotional. A story of matter and emotions, of touch, of breath, of feelings, of confrontations, Ode au métal explores what it is to be hot, what it is to be alive. The play therefore stands both as a question and as a path of response. Yes, the human will be hit and the metal will vibrate, but who is the stronger? Who is the most emotional, vibrant, alive? Fire, wind, humans, steel?

Être-vent-vibre, the first movement, explores the figure of the musician facing himself, facing the twists and possibilities of his instrument. Real reflection around its own sound, which reverberates in aluminum and steel, which runs in space, from sheet of steel to sheet of steel, to encompass us, to carry us. The alloys that bind and oppose all become interpersonal relationships. The steel resonates, changes the timbres passively, before becoming twisted with rage, in an epic dialogue with the brass, an alloy of copper and zinc that makes up the saxophone, which replies without embarrassment, which whispers and rears up.

The work
Ode au métal was created during a residency with the organization Recto-Verso. The members of the Quasar Quartet worked there with the composer, and were included early on in the composition process, where the possibilities of saxophones facing metal were all explored. Metal becomes a vibrating body, a resonator, an amplifying coating which takes on the position of speaker and microphone thanks to its natural reverberation.