Jacques Tchamkerten, Ondes Martenot
Bratislava Symphony Orchestra
Recorded April 24, 2016, at Studio 1, Slovak Radio, Bratislava.
Producer: Davis Hernando Rico - Balance engineer: Martin Roller
"Your clothes conceal much of your beauty, yet they hide not the unbeautiful. And though you seek in garments the freedom of privacy you may find in them a harness and a chain."
(Khalil Gibran: On Clothes, 1923)
I discovered Khalil Gibran’s text on nudity while I was composing this piece, and after all movement’s titles had already been fixed.
In the first movement of Nudités I imagine the Ondes representing the pure and naked human body, and the strings an abstract piece of clothing. Both would become occasional antagonists or partners; both would refuse or need each other – or even enjoy moments of total independence. I hope my listen-ers will feel these situations as pleasant, and that they not only deal with sen-suality and eroticism, but also with spiritualism.
The second movement is inspired by an ancient statue (once owned by the emperor Hadrian), of which I made a short film in 1990 in Munich’s Glyp-tothek. That drunken, sleeping, and obscenely posing Faun must have some strange dreams…
The third movement deals with a classical painting subject, hinting to voyeur-ism – which I take from its humorous aspect.
The far-fetched title of the last movement may be inspired by Satie – but only its title! I don’t remember how and why exactly I came to imagine setting to music two Greek wrestles in full action, who were not noticing that their struggling session had already reached night time. All spectators had al-ready left; the moon would make them stop and inspire them to less antagonistic activities… Pancratiasts are reproduced on many ancient vases, sculptures and drawings. After having finished writing this Concertino, I remembered some still unedited film material, which I had shot (also in 1990) at the Brussels Musée Wiertz, among which figured a sequence with a sculpture of two wrestlers in full action.
This “musical program” can also be totally ignored; my piece can be felt like an invitation to a mysterious “another world”. Only music can do such a thing. I must admit, this third Concertino is my most “esoteric” piece so far, and the Ondes are the ideal instrument to emphasize it. Needless to say, such strange music requires listeners whom I recommend to prepare themselves, like before participating to a meditation or to a yoga session.
Adriano, May 2016 (edited by Ian Lace)
Jacques Tchamkerten was born in Geneva in 1960. After organ studies with Pierre Segond at the Geneva Conservatory, he became a pupil of Jeanne Loriod in her Ondes Martenot class. On the conclusion of his much-admired studies, he was unanimously awarded a gold medal of the French Conservatory of St. Maur. As an Ondes Martenot soloist, he has performed with orchestras and chamber groups, in ten different European countries and participated in a number of recordings, including five CDs conducted by Adriano. From 1990 until 1996 he was a member of the Sextuor Jeanne Loriod, an ensemble of six Ondes players. He is responsible for the upkeep and administration of Geneva’s Conservatory Library. As a musicologist, Jacques Tchamkerten is the author of monographies on Arthur Honegger, Émile Jaques-Dalcroze and Ernest Bloch. He has also written a considerable number of articles on early 19th century French-Swiss music, and French music of the 19th and 20th centuries. His work includes contributions to the Dictionnaire du Théâtre en Suisse, the Dictionnaire de la Musique française au XIXème siècle and the New Grove Dictionary. He also participates in various music symposiums. In 2011 he was awarded the Prize of the Fondation Pierre et Louisa Meylan for his manifold musical activities.