March 19, 2022

Olivier Messiaen, Le Merle noir (The Blackbird)
Gérald Grisey, Nout
Messiaen, Theme et variations
Jeffrey Holmes, Kaun (Kenaz)
Francois-Bernard Mache, Vigiles
Thierry Pécou, Méditation sur la fin de l’espèce (Meditation on the End of Species)

Ensemble Variances is based in the French city Rouen – famous for the cathedral that inspired 39 paintings by Claude Monet. The group’s west coast tour begins in Santa Monica with this green program, which considers the survival of birds and whales in the not-so-distant future. French composer Gérald Grisey invokes the Ancient Egyptian sky goddess. Receiving its world premiere – a ritual sextet by Jeffrey Holmes evokes apocalyptic dualities in an old Norse rune. Zoomusicologist and Messiaen student, Francoise-Bernard Mache is vigilant to the music made by wildlife. Thierry Pécou invested a decade studying music and culture in Canada, Russia, Spain, and Latin America. He brings a global perspective and certain lyricism to the existential question: “Can we sustain planet earth?” In Europe, both Pècou and Mache are widely admired, decorated, and have more than a dozen albums between them, yet these mid-and-late career composers are nearly unknown in the US.



Carjez Gerretsen, clarinet;

Anne Cartel, flute

Nicolas Prost, saxophone

Liana Gourdija, Romuald Grimbert-Barré, violin

David Louwerse, cello

Laurène Durantel, bass

Pierre Bibault, guitar

Marie Vermeulin, piano

Elisa Humanes, percussion

Thierry Pécou, piano & musical direction