Saturday, September 22, 2012

Remembering Emmanuel Nunes...

We at the Center were sad to hear of the passing of great composer and musical thinker Emmanuel Nunes earlier this month. Emmanuel Nunes produced a vast and diverse output of instrumental and electroacoustic works that intimately link space and time, movement and metamorphosis, and numerical symbolism and organic processes. Nunes, originally born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1941, had been living primarily in Paris since 1964, where he spent twelve years as a Professor of Composition at the Conservatoire de Paris and later worked at the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM). Nunes has also taught substantially at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, and the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, as well as at the Internationalen Ferienkurse für Neue Musik Darmstadt, where he studied extensively throughout the ‘60s.

Emmanuel Nunes

In an interview with our friends at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Nunes remarked about his time studying with the Darmstadt gang, and how it pushed him to develop his own separate, distinct voice, “I learned quite a lot from the courses by Pousseur, Ligeti, and Boulez. At that time Stockhausen did not come to Darmstadt, and among the crowd of composers having a subscription to Darmstadt, two extremes were in: either the so-called sérialisme intégral, or the graphic scores tendency proclaiming their illusion of liberty. Quite often the acoustical result was nearly the same.

“During those years I still did not compose really, my knowledge in terms of musical technique was more than incipient, but I did have a kind of internal compass, which detained me from stepping into such paths. As I used to say to my students: It is more important for me to know what I do not want, than to know what I want.”

Nunes’ work will be featured substantially at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 2012: Litanies du feu et de la mer I and Litanies du feu et de la mer II will be performed by Noriko Kawai, Improvisation IV - l'électricité de la pensée humaine will be performed by Quatuor Diotima, and Nachtmusik I will be performed by the Remix Ensemble.

Listen below to Nunes’ La Main noire (2007) for three violas, performed and recorded in the studio by Christophe Desjardins, with accompanying video art by Sol mineur 5.

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