8 rue des rêveries
For Flute, 'Cello, Vibraphone and Piano
Duration: 4 mins 30 secs approx.
8 rue des reveries is a response to Le Palais ideal, an ornate castle built in France by Ferdinand Cheval, a postman. Working alone he built Le Palais over a period of 33 years beginning in 1879. The building was the house of his dreams; a realisation of the wanderings of his mind whilst on his postal route. The fruit of his labours is a work of exoticism; an ambitious combination of styles and influences that is in many senses beautiful.
In France both Debussy and Ravel were composing for the majority of the time that Ferdinand Cheval was building Le Palais ideal and for me, placing the building in a musical context was important. I had both of these composers in mind during the composition process and for me there is something of each of their styles present in this piece, but viewed through a lens of my own.
Composing the piece, I imagined the kind of music that I would write if I lived inside this house: a form of exoticism at once simple and complex. Whilst Cheval evokes a great number of places and cultures in his Palais ideal, I looked to timbre and instrumental colour in an attempt to create just one: that of the house. I wanted an ethereal soundworld that would represent (for myself at least) the house as a dream, both in the mind of the postman who built it, but also in the surreal quality of the building itself.
The rapid ascending gestures which occur throughout the piece represent the Palais towers or spires, tapering off into the skies, whilst the flute and cello statements in the opening bars are quasi fanfares for this quasi castle.In the same way that the postman, Cheval, used stones to construct his wildest imaginings, I used building blocks of musical material to through-compose a piece which although structured, hopefully has something of the feeling of an improvised fantasia.
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