silent movie – ensemble


17.11.2018 // 20:00
Luxembourg, Philharmonie Luxembourg / Grand Auditorium

15.05.2018 // 19:30
VIII Ciclo de Conciertos de Música Contemporánea Fundación BBVA

(Austrian Premiere)
15.03.2017 // 19:30
Wiener Konzerthaus, Berio-Saal
PHACE Series 16/17 – N°3


Nacho de Paz


Sylvie Lacroix, flute
Reinhold Brunner, clarinet
Stefan Obmann, trombone
Berndt Thurner, percussion
Mathilde Hoursiangou, piano
Roland Schueler, cello
Krassimir Sterev, accordeon

René Clairs (1898–1981) surreal science-fiction comedy Paris qui dort is a humorous and witty story, in which he dug deep down into the box of filmtricks and created a fantastic masterpiece of avant-garde cinema. A mad professor invents a machine, which brings lively Paris to an absolute standstill. Only the warden of the Eiffel Tower and a small group of travellers could escape.

Yan Maresz composed a genious musical counterpoint to the historical film. His music accompanies the individual scenes alternating in ways complementary and divergent. Both movie and music focus especially on the atmosphere of individual scenes, the psychology of the characters, the relativity of time and a sense of time as the movie’s central issue.

Paris qui dort (1924) 75‘
© Collection Fondation Jérome Seydoux-Pathé
Director: René Clair
Composer: Yan Maresz (2005)
Ircam computer music designer: Benoit Meudic
for small ensemble and electronics

The music written to accompany the film “Paris qui dort” is conceived as a counterpoint to the picture with a constant concern to serve the movie, whatever the musical level of complementarity or divergence in action. Being counterpoint on the temporal level, the music is also an “harmonization” of the character’s psychology on a local level; and it is also an “orchestration”, in the sense of extension in the timbral domain of the specific ambiance of each scene. The broad formal unfolding is provided by the cinematographic plot, and in this aspect, the music follows quite precisely the cutting of the film, consequently adopting its dynamic articulation. On the other hand, the music does not follow precisely the editing, but rather anticipates, comments, sustain or maintains the rhythm beneath it.

The central theme of an “upset” temporality, participate in creating timeless “havens” in which human psychology, unprepared to experience such a new reality, is scrutinized with much irony and humor by René Clair. The composer can only rejoice by such a thematic, because the situations generated by the play on this “upset and misplaced” time, like frozen time or speedup time, are eminently musical situations which find here a natural deploying space for their accomplishment.

The quite unusual ensemble (flute, clarinet, accordion, cello, trombone, percussion, electronic keyboard) proposes a rich sound palette allowing me to obtain the specific color I was looking for. The electronics in real time (analysis/synthesis, generation of spectral rhythmic structures, extraction of noisy components from the instrumental sounds, sound transforms, etc.) is used to enrich and magnify the acoustic sound material.

(Yan Maresz)



VIII Ciclo de Conciertos de Música Contemporánea Fundación BBVA
Fundación BBVA
Plaza de San Nicolas, 4

Event Dates

March 2017
  • Date
  • 15.Mar.2017 19:30


    Wien, Konzerthaus

    René Clairs surreale Science-Fiction-Komödie ist eine humorvolle und geistreiche Erzählung, in der er mit allen Mitteln der Filmtrickkiste arbeitet und ein fantastisches Meisterwerk des Avantgarde-Kinos schuf.
    Yan Maresz entwirft einen genialen musikalischen Kontrapunkt zu Paris qui dort, eine Musik, die den Film begleitet, komplementär oder divergent zu seinen Bildern.

    Read more