André Ristic, Six apparitions de Lénine sur un piano
premiere: Oct. 17, 2010 – Victoria BC
Commissioned with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts
André Ristic was born in 1972 in Quebec City, where he received his basic musical training. In the 1990’s, he continued his studies in Montreal in piano, harpsichord, composition and mathematics. He has performed with Ensemble contemporain de Montréal, Trio Fibonacci and l’Ensemble Musiques Nouvelles.
An internationally recognized composer, André’s works share the common themes of humor and speed. Depending on the phase of his career, his works can often be quite esthetically distinct from one another.
Initially, his composition focused on the inclusion of pop culture, as seen in such works as Catalogue de bombes occidentals and Happiness Algorithm. His interests then led him to mathematical representations (Motel Infinity, Après une lecture de Piskounov, Vers), which were soon followed by a focus on the graphical elements of music. Through the development of this notational style, his music has developed an anti-harmonic nature, where pitches only have limited importance.
André currently describes his music as a kind of rhythmical “shuffle-zapping” of elements taken from a collection of instrumental phantasms. This often results in the self-cannibalism of the music itself, in which one of the musical ideas ends up devouring all the others.
Six apparitions de Lénine sur un piano
“Six Apparitions de Lénine sur un piano was intended as the sequel to Sonate de Carnaval, which Aventa performed in 2009. My plan with the original work was to explore the general sonata form and see if I could find some elements that would fit with my usual musical (somewhat delirious) ideals. As I like to “search and explore” in all of my pieces, I put myself in the position of a man stranded on an island, having to build everything with what is available on site, the island being the sonata form and in particular a few representatives of its offspring. I was, however, not completely satisfied with the completed work, because it became apparent to me that I had only explored but a small part of a bigger island than I had originally thought it was – probably because of my lack of good cartographic instruments for the purpose.
Six Apparitions de Lénine sur un piano is a second visit to this island, more precisely to the ‘scherzo’ region of it. In the past, the term scherzo used to imply some degree of légèreté, eventually even satire or joke (this is Charles Ives’ interpretation in a famous piano Trio). I envisioned the work as a collection of everything ranging from vaguely joyous to pathetically comic and caricatured, and as such the piece is a catalog of positive clichés (cliché, in the photographic sense; positive, as opposite of sad, dark, even serious or introspective), the whole of them organized in a zero-thematic scherzo form, with the piano as the central instrument – perhaps representing the composer walking or running through an environment populated by exhilarating, phantasmical musical objects, assembled in short obsessions.
The title refers to a painting by Salvador Dali (1931) depicting a man sitting in front of (but quite far from) a piano, whose keyboard sports 6 regularly spaced phosphorescent busts of Vladimir Lenin. There are other psychoanalytically interesting elements (ants, cherries etc.) on the painting making it a typical ‘chronically paranoia’ Dali work. In the music, the piano part is the only one having a link with the painting (it has 6 sections, presenting musical material that I associate on an intuitive level with Poland, Russia, communism, tyranny). All of the rest has no relation with the painting, but I decided on the title a little like a novelist or filmmaker would choose a single quote for the title of the work – perhaps a simple sentence that might have little or no link with the plot of the whole work. Also, I think the composition and the painting share a desire for intuition, irony, and enigma.” – André Ristic