Cinq Pièces
for flute and percussion (2010)

Written at the request of Ayako Okubo and Olivier Maurel, to whom they are dedicated, these pieces are all deliberately very contrasted from one another, yet follow a single line of development from beginning to end. Each is based on periodicities, and on various forms of repetition, but also on their gradual erosion. Whereas the repetition is very obvious in the first piece, which uses four cymbals and a tam-tam to mesaure out a basic pulse in strictly chronometric, 'Newtonian' time, by the fifth it has sunk below the surface to a deeper structural level, becoming all but completely inaudible—the 'transcendental', pre-clock time experienced in ancient times. In the second piece, an angular melodic line played in the very highest register of the bass flute to the accompaniment of ever-faster figurations on the woodblocks gradually assumes its final form through a process of slow permutation. In the restless and energetic third piece, the music constantly oscillates between irregular and regular figurations. By the fourth piece, the unusual (and inherently unstable) playing techniques required by the score make it difficult—perhaps impossible—to perceive the highly precise rhythmic figures being played. The final piece, in which audible pulsation and instrumental contrasts are dissolved, creates a synthesis of these two very different instrumental families, the percussionist playing sustained, pure sounds in microtonal increments on crystal glasses in the same narrow register as the flute.