Despite an unexpected and early death at the age of 52, Grisey made his mark as a teacher, composer and theorist. He was particularly influential on his contemporaryTristan Murail. Grisey was born in Belfort in and became part of the stylistic movement that reacted toBoulez stylistically, rejecting the serialism that dominated the country in the s. He received his training in Germany at the Trossingen Conservatory between and before pursuing his studies at the Paris Conservatoire withMessiaen.
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Despite an unexpected and early death at the age of 52, Grisey made his mark as a teacher, composer and theorist. He was particularly influential on his contemporaryTristan Murail. Grisey was born in Belfort in and became part of the stylistic movement that reacted toBoulez stylistically, rejecting the serialism that dominated the country in the s.
He received his training in Germany at the Trossingen Conservatory between and before pursuing his studies at the Paris Conservatoire withMessiaen.
The group consisted of young instrumentalists and composers who shared an interest in electro-acoustic music and a disdain for serialism.
As a teacher, Grisey was highly successful. He taught regularly at the Darmstadt summer courses from to and then held teaching positions at the University of California at Berkeley between and and the Paris Conservatory from until his death in In Paris he began as the professor of orchestration and was later appointed professor of composition.
His students, which included Eric Tanguy and Magnus Lindberg, were given the opportunity to explore different compositional styles and find their own voice. Though Grisey was quite open-minded regarding the compositional techniques he taught, his music was much more focused. He aimed to explore human perception and acoustic properties in his works, which came to represent the new spectral music style which took the country by storm in the s.
He explored this idea further with the minute cycleLes espaces acoustiques, which took 11 years to complete. This work is based on the harmonic spectrum of E and a pattern of inhalation-exhalation-rest. During the rests, the harmonic spectrum remains for a period on E. The orchestration differs greatly between the various movements, which can be played independently with the exception of the Epilogue or with an adjacent movement, as the end of one part forms the beginning of the next.
The cycle opens with a solo viola Prologue and includes a large orchestra in Transitoires and the Epilogue He also imitates the electro-acoustic technique of ring modulation using only instruments. These two pieces are essentially studies in harmony and timbre. With Tempus ex machina for six percussion instruments, Grisey explored a new obsession: time. In this work he used superimposed pulses and tempos which are transformed throughout the entire piece.
He explored the effects of tempo changes, in the form of accelerations and decelerations, and how they are perceptually significant. This treatise proved very influential, especially to his friend Tristan Murail.
The first example of this can be seen in his largest work until this point,Talea , which exhibits a nonlinear form full of abrupt motions and a very complex and discontinuous form. Sometimes the transitions between tempos are delicately composed and sometimes explicitly abrupt.
The latter is a meditation on human mortality and hints and new harmonic techniques involving compression and filtering.
However, Grisey was unable to continue his experiments with these techniques as he died suddenly of an aneurism.
See the article in its original context from November 22, , Section 1, Page 54 Buy Reprints View on timesmachine TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. Gerard Grisey, one of the most important French composers of the generation after Pierre Boulez, died Wednesday in a Paris hospital. He was The cause was a stroke, the French Consulate said. Grisey was born in Belfort, France, and studied from to at the music high school in Trossingen, Germany. He also had lessons with Henri Dutilleux at the Ecole Normale de la Musique in , began work on electroacoustics with Jean-Etienne Marie in , and in attended the Darmstadt summer school, where Karlheinz Stockhausen, Gyorgy Ligeti and Iannis Xenakis gave courses. As a winner of the Rome Prize, he spent the next two years in the Italian capital.
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