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Neue CD Luc FERRARI, Brunhild FERRARI, Vincent ROYER / NEW Album ÉPHÉMÈRE… by Mode

29 Nov 2015

REVUE La Folia November 2015

mode 285

Luc FERRARI: Ephémère (1974)
new version for viola & tape by Brunhild Ferrari (2012)
Vincent Royer, viola

Brunhild FERRARI: Le Piano Englouti (2012)
version for viola & tape
Vincent Royer, viola

Vincent ROYER – Luc FERRARI: Pour que le vent soit propice (2011)
based on “Ce qu’a vu le Cers” (1978) by Luc Ferrari
Vincent Royer, viola, voice, percussion & electronics

… a release in which Royer almost completely dissolves into Ferrari’s tapes. … If it hasn’t been evident already, Royer is one of the best Ferrari proponents around.
— Grant Chu Covell, lafolia.com, November 2015

This album tells stories of the wind, the ocean and a village feast in the southern France… The listener is led into a poetic journey about freedom and impermanence. It brings together three Ferrari-related works: by Ferrari himself, by Ferrari’s wife Brunhild Meyer-Ferrari and an improvisation by Royer to one of Ferrari’s soundscapes.

Luc Ferrari was very interested in collaboration. New music violist Vincent Royer began collaborating with Ferrari following their meeting in

Regarding Ephémère (1974), Ferrari wrote: “This musical piece – which, as its name says, is based on the effects of the sea – is intended
for musicians open to all types of music. As the name says too, this tape has been conceived as a snap of time.” In 2012 Brunhild Ferrari realized this new version for Royer’s viola.

Brunhild FERRARI’s Le piano englouti (“The Sunken Piano”) is a tape piece comprised of recorded and processed sounds. The sounds were recorded over 14 years, at a Greek island almost swallowed by the noisy Aegean Sea, and in 2010, at a very discreet and silent Japanese
island. Originally composed to accompany a piano, as in Debussy’s work of the same name, this version is arranged for Royer’s viola.

The ROYER/FERRARI Pour que le vent soit propice uses Ferrari’s tape piece “Ce qu’a vu le Cers” as the basis for a viola & electronics
improvisation. This live recording captures the special mood of the intimate concert surroundings it was recorded at.

Liner notes by Brunhild Ferrari and Royer.
Also by Luc FERRARI on Mode Records:
Chansons pour le corps; Et si tout entière maintenant (mode 81)
Madame de Shanghai, Après presque rien, Visage 2 (mode 228)
Les Grandes Répétitions: 2 films on STOCKHAUSEN & VARÈSE by Luc Ferrari and Gérard Patris from 1965-66. (mode 276, DVD only)
Also by Vincent ROYER on Mode Records:
Giacinto SCELSI: The Works for Viola (mode 231)

The sounding Being

02 Jun 2012

Portrait of Vincent Royer by Egbert Hiller

Vincent Royer – violist, improviser and composer

“The violas – nobody sees them, nobody hears them, yet the heavenly father feeds them”. Although viola jokes still do the rounds, they seem anachronistic now and bring only a weary smile to Vincent Royer’s lips; for nowadays the viola has become firmly emancipated from its little sister, the violin. That does not mean that it merely tries to equal the violin’s sound. On the contrary; it is its individual colour, on the one hand warm and elegiac, on the other hand rough and potentially bristly, that has gained an entirely new worth in the course of modernism. And when Paul Hindemith pointedly emphasises this particular aspect of the viola’s importance in his performance indication “Beauty of sound is of secondary importance” (in the fourth movement of his sonata op. 25, 1), then there is a sound ideal behind it which suggests a process of change that is still going on today.

“Beauty of sound” is the main object for Vincent Royer; what he understands by that however is not only different from the classical ideal but also sharply differs from Paul Hindemith’s beliefs. There is no hierarchy among fixed pitches, micro- intervals, sound clusters and noises in Royer’s idea of sound. They are all equal in their striving for freedom of sound, leading him on a voyage of discovery.

Royer continually searches for new sounds and playing techniques, in which the sympathetic resonance of the materials (wooden and metal parts of the instrument) and sound-analytical concepts (spectral music) together with the sheer inexhaustible potential of the harmonic series all serve as sources of inspiration. He perceives equal temperament as a traditional proportioning which excludes important tonal elements, especially those belonging to the micro-tonal area. By contrast, entire tonal relationships can be derived from the increasingly finely-differentiated harmonic series of the sound spectrum.

Given this background, it is surprising that Vincent Royer was marked by the equal-tempered piano during his early years. He grew up in a music-loving family; however it was an accomplished musician in the neighbourhood who nourished his professional ambitions. She awakened his enthusiasm for the black and white keys and offered him a solid basic training. His first contact with string instruments came at the age of 13 through a violinist almost as young as he, whose playing and charisma influenced him deeply. He ended up choosing the viola because of its rich tonal possibilities and above all its closeness to the timbre of the human voice. It was precisely the capacity of this instrument to explore the darker sounds that appealed to Vincent Royer, since one of his principal concerns is to emphasise the emotional and existential dimensions in and through music. His education in Freiburg, where contemporary music is assigned a great importance, sharpened his understanding of this decisively on both intuitive and rational levels.

“The sounding Being” plays a central role in his artistic thought, and this still comes most urgently to the fore in concert situations, in live events. In its highly-concentrated interpretative approach, the analytical penetration of the “material” is paired with a perception of the musician as medium, through whom the sounds flow and are shaped as they come into existence. This process also becomes apparent in ritual and theatrical moments which, in a concert, go hand in hand with the meticulous exploration of structural aspects. Bearing in mind that the appearance and disappearance of a sound metaphorically reflect our own coming into being and fading away, existential questions resonate directly in the “sounding Being”. Royer communicates this concept of sound, closely bound to life itself, to young musicians in his teaching, for instance as professor for chamber music (since 2009) at the Conservatoire Royal de Liège (Belgium).

His work as an interpreter of newer and the newest music is flanked by a devotion to creativity: to composition and improvisation. His own, very few pieces open up an almost magical intensity of sound which unfold in various, mostly smaller instrumental combinations. He by no means writes only for “his” instrument and with “Lumen”, for viola and electronics (2003), produced a beguiling solo piece.

Royer also demonstrates that he is on the cutting edge in his use of live electronics, nevertheless without denying tradition. Even if his compositions to date remain largely focussed on the purely musical, he does transcend the barriers to other genres and media in the field of improvisation. Royer works with painters and dancers with the aim of stimulating our awareness through the juxtaposition of visual and tonal spheres. This has more to do with the factor of movement – in real as well as imaginary space – than with a correspondence between colour and sound in the synesthetic sense. For Royer himself, the movements of playing, the physical gestures and spiritual forms of expression, the inner and outer stimuli, are an essential part of music-making through which time – and music as a temporal art – become visible. This phenomenon becomes even more evident in improvisation. Royer improvises both alone and collectively: he has discovered brilliant partners in Tiziana Bertoncini (violin), Martine Altenburge (cello) and Benoit Cancoin (double bass) of the Brac Quartet; likewise with saxophonist Frank Gratowski, the visual artist Joëlle Tuerlinckx and the architect and video artist Matthias Siegert.

Although his activities as composer and improviser are certainly not merely of secondary importance, Vincent Royer remains first and foremost a performer.

He has a wide repertoire of both solo and chamber music that he is continually broadening and enriching with unusual projects. His contact with the French-Rumanian composer Horatiu Radulescu was of great importance; they met each other in Darmstadt in 1988 and Royer developed into one of his most outstanding interpreters. He even coached the Jack Quartet in their work with Radulescu’s music and the CD “Intimate Rituals” stands out amongst Royer’s own interpretations. Music of tremendous emotional intensity but at the same time of delicacy and fragility is the result. Just as compelling are the sound collage-like “Trois Pièces pour Alto, Piano et Son mémorisé” by Luc Ferrari (with Jean-Philippe Collard-Neven) as piano partner and “The Book of Scenes” by David Shea.

Other composers that he values highly include Edgard Varèse, Gérard Grisey, Iannis Xenakis, John Cage, Eric Satie, Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, Pascal Dusapin as well as Claude Debussy, Jean-Philippe Rameau and Claudio Monteverdi, to name but a few. Simply belonging to various ensembles and orchestras, such as the Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra, means that he is not limited to contemporary music, but familiar with the whole of music history. Even if French music is a focal point for a native of Strasbourg, Royer is nonetheless characterised by plurality and aesthetic openness. He considers himself as someone who crosses national borders, given his background and above all his artistic identity, mediating between (not only) French and German traditions.

He focuses particular attention on Giacinto Scelsi, whose viola pieces he brings to life congenially and whom he once characterised as his “spiritual father”. This is far from being just blind admiration however. It is more that Royer shares with Scelsi a respect for sound which also prevents him from getting lost in superficial virtuosity, despite the fact that Scelsi’s music demands an astonishing technical prowess. For Royer, sound is closely related to consciousness. The “sounding Being” is also a seeker within himself, someone who does not suppress the outer world, but rather reflects and transforms it wondrously into music.

Egbert Hiller

The Strad Jan 2012

27 Feb 2012


Big Bang sur Musiq3

27 Feb 2012

Big Bang !

Chaque lundi après le JP de 22h.
Production et présentation: Anne Mattheeuws
LE magazine de la création musicale contemporaine !

L’alto de Scelsi: rencontre avec Vincent Royer

// Vincent Royer, altiste, improvisateur et compositeur vient d’être distingué par un “coup de coeur” de l’Académie Charles Cros pour son enregistrement des oeuvres pour alto de Giacinto Scelsi, 9e volume d’une intégrale Scelsi chez Mode Records.
Scelsi est au centre de cette rencontre où il sera question également de Bob Verschueren, l’un des nombreux artistes avec lesquels Vincent Royer poursuit son exploration du sonore.
Vincent Royer, Bob Verschueren et Gene Coleman, réunis sous le nom de “Trio Minestrone”, se produiront au Botanique à Bruxelles le 3 novembre prochain, en marge de l’exposition “Bioadversité” de Bob Verschueren (jusqu’au 6 novembre).

// Séquence Archipel de la Médiathèque avec Pierre Hemptine – de Jean-Luc Guionnet à l’orgue nomade

programmation musicale:

  • Giacinto SCELSI. – Xnoybis. Vincent Royer, alto. Mode.
  • Giacinto SCELSI. – Manto III. Vincent Royer, alto et chant. Mode .
  • Giacinto SCELSI. – Etude II. Vincent Royer, alto. Mode .
  • Giacinto SCELSI. – Coelocanth I. Vincent Royer, alto. Mode .
  • Vincent ROYER. – Lumen: extraits. Vincent Royer, alto. auteur.
  • Vincent ROYER et Bob VERSCHUEREN . – Les tourments du poireau: extrait. Vincent Royer, alto. auteur.
  • Luc FERRARI. – Tautologos III. Vincent Royer, alto – Luc Ferrari, piano. Sub Rosa.
  • Jean-Luc GUIONNET. – Pentes: extrait. Jean-Luc Guionnet (orgue de Notre-Dame-des-Champs – Paris) & Éric La Casa (prise de son). à bruit secret – 07.
  • Zameer Ahmed KAHN. – Bhojpuri: extrait. Zameer Ahmed Kahn, harmonium. Cinq Planètes.
  • Lois V VIERK. – Manhattan Cascade: extrait. Guy Klucevsek, accordéon. Composers recordings.
  • Rüdiger KARL. – 18 Miniatures: extraits. Rüdiger Karl, accordéon. FMP.

Production et présentation : Anne MATTHEEUWS

Réalisation : Eric STEVENS

| Part 1 | Part 2 |


Quatuor Brac Live

03 Nov 2011

This release features the single set played by Quatuor Brac–Tiziana Bertoncini (Violin), Vincent Royer (Viola), Martine Altenburger (Cello) and Benoit Cancoin (String Bass)–at one of the premier locations for improvised music: Les Instants Chavirés in Paris.

An intense atmosphere gave birth to a magnificent sonic exploration of simplicity and complexity, density, colours and textures. This is an evening to be remembered and enjoyed many times!

The performance was captured with a close Ambisonic setup (Core Audio TetraMic) and a more traditional ORTF pair (two United Minorities tuned Oktava mk102 cardioids), placed further off, both fed into one of the best microphone-preamps and ADC’s available (Metric Halo ULN-8). The stereo downmix features a careful blend of both time-aligned systems.

Scott Fields Ensemble – Frail Lumber

01 Oct 2011

Recorded on June 5, 2010 at the Loft, Cologne, Germany.

Scott Fields (b. September 30, 1956 in Chicago, Illinois), is a guitarist, composer and band leader. He is best known for his attempts to blend music that is composed and music that is written and for his modular pieces (48 Motives and 96 Gestures). He works primarily in avant-garde jazz, experimental music, and New Music.

Fields was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He started as a self-taught rock musician but soon was influenced by the musicians of the Association for the Advancement for Creative Musicians, which was active in the Hyde Park neighborhood in which he grew up. Later he studied classical guitar, jazz guitar, music composition and music theory. In 1970 Fields co-founded the power avant-jazz trio Life Rhythms. When the group disbanded two years later he played sporadically, but soon all but quit music until 1989.

Since then he has performed and composed actively. His ensembles and partnerships have included such musicians as Marilyn Crispell, Hamid Drake, John Hollenbeck, Joseph Jarman, Myra Melford, Jeff Parker, and Elliott Sharp.

Giacinto Scelsi Volume 9: The Works for Viola

19 Jun 2011

Vincent Royer, viola & voice

1. Manto (1957) First recording with male voice (10:23 )

2. Coelocanth (1955) (10:51)

3. Elegia per Ty (1958) Séverine Ballon, cello (10:28)

4. Three Studies* (1956) First recording (13:43 )

5. Xnoybis* (1964) First recording (11:21)

Volume 9 of Mode’s Scelsi Edition is devoted to the first complete recording of Giacinto Scelsi’s works for viola solo and duo.

• Manto was a prophet in ancient Greece. Scelsi translated her oracle maxims into cryptic phonemes which the viola player has to sing simultaneously in the third movement. In Manto, the sound of the viola is expanded and explored via experimental playing techniques. This is the first recording of the third movement.

• In Xnoybis, Scelsi’s exploration “into the inside of the sound” is taken to its extreme. A central tone, variously colored and surrounded, moves in microtonal steps — no melody in the traditional sense, but a sole wandering sound. This is the first recording of the viola version in a transcription by Vincent Royer.

• Elegia per Ty for viola and violoncello is Scelsi’s tender rememberance of his former wife Dorothy (nicknamed “Ty”). It is among his most important chamber works.

• Coelocanth and the Three Studies belong to Scelsi’s earlier style of composing. Concise motivic gestures are developed by improvisation. These expressive, virtuoso pieces are overwhelming in their ecstatic ferocity. This is the first recording of the “Three Studies”.

• Violist Vincent Royer is one of the most outstanding performers of contemporary music today. Mr. Royer, who was born in France but now lives in Cologne, Germany, is among a handful of musicians who have truly mastered the works of the Spectral composers, such as Gerard Grisey. In his hands, these challenging and complex works give way to new forms of musical expression that are mysterious, powerful and filled with beautiful colors. A key to his deep understanding of new music is his close collaboration with living composers, like Horatiu Radulescu and Tristan Murail, two important composers with whom Mr. Royer has enjoyed a close working relationship.

• Liner notes by Friedrich Jaecker and Sharon Kanach.

Review By Stef

For those who think that improvisation, extended techniques and tonal explorations belong to the realm of avant-garde jazz, I can recommend a close listen to this fantastic album of modern classical music, composed by Giacinto Scelsi and performed by Vincent Royer on viola and Séverine Ballon on cello. I review classical music rarely, and when I do, I seem to have a preference for string duos, as with the equally recommendable “Manto and Madrigals” by Zehetmair and Killius.

This album is quite unique in the sense that it is the first recording of the complete works for viola and cello. It consists of five pieces, ranging from the experimental “Manto”, in which Royer even sings, to the more restrained and austere “Coelanth”. “Elegia per Ty”, dedicated to his former wife, is the most gripping piece, with cello and viola playing in a tender embrace, full of sadness and controlled tension.

There are no themes so to speak of, just soundscapes, composed with an incredible sense of minute development and sense for effect, and performed with an uncanny precision. The end result is incredibly mesmerising and compelling.

Fantastic music.

Andrew Clements
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 1 September 2011

Mode’s commitment to the challenge of recording the complete works of Giacinto Scelsi is extraordinary. Sales of such austere, difficult music can be relatively small, yet this is already volume nine in the series. The disc is devoted to the Italian composer’s works for viola, though the Elegia per Ty involves a cello as well, and in one of the movements of Manto, the violist has to sing as well as play. Xnoybis, from 1964, was originally written for violin at a time when Scelsi’s music was at its most extreme and concerned with exploring the implications of single sounds. All of the other works here were composed in the 1950s, when a continuous line, rather than a single pitch, was the focus of his attention. Coelocanth from 1955, named after the famous “living fossil” fish, and the Three Studies from the following year, are perhaps the most conventional works here; both are based on incantation-like melodies. The demands placed on the soloist are immense, often requiring several different playing techniques to be used simultaneously, but Vincent Royer’s performances are immaculate.

Didascalies 2

01 Apr 2010

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01 Jul 2008

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Plastic No.1

22 Jun 2008

An excerpt of the composition Plastic No.1 composed and conducted by Norbert Stein and played by the James Choice Orchestra at the Loft in Cologne.

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Das Andere opus 49 Premiere

03 Dec 2007

Vincent Royer, viola, gives the West Coast Premiere of Das  Andere.

Live performance recorded on December 3, 2007
at Zipper Concert Hall at the Colburn School in Los Angeles
as part of the Monday  Evening Concerts.

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25 May 2007

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Intimate Rituals

27 Feb 2007


December 5, 2007
A strong return for concert series

“In “Das Andere” (The Other), Vincent Royer, who has recorded all of Radulescu’s viola music, produced luminous squeals of harmonics that sang like voices from a distant, mystical realm. Earthy, powerful arpeggios were the contrast.
The performance was breathtaking.

By Mark Swed, Staff Writer mark.swed@latimes.com

“Vincent Royer embodies the inspiration deep within Radulescu’s music
and performs it with such a grace and focused attention that it shall
never be forgotten” John Pickford Richards, violist Jackquartet

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The Book Of Scenes

28 Nov 2005

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Angewandte Musik

30 Apr 2001

Le Marteau sans Maître

02 Jan 2001

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28 May 2000

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Traverse 1999

02 Jun 1999

Computer Music Journal – Summer 2001

Traverse (1999), by Gerhard Eckel (Austria) and Vincent Royer (France), was for me one of the major highlights of the conference. For perhaps the first time I witnessed a viola and a notebook computer performing together on stage in a fully integrated manner. Here the computer truly became a live instrument.

Reviewed by Thomas Gerwin (Berlin, Germany)
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from Vincent Royer.