Philippe Grisar

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Music Matters

ProjectenPosted by Philippe 20 Aug, 2014 14:10:08


It is one thing to review. It is another to be reviewed.

In march 2014 The Goeyvaerts Trio released on Challenge records a cd with music from Arvo Pärt (Stabat Mater) and Ivan Moody (Simeron).

CD | Challenge Classics | 0608917261622 | CC 72616 | 03-14

The production is wonderful and the record gets nothing but outstanding reviews.

My contribution with the Goeyvaerts Trio, however modest writing liner notes is, makes me pride to have been part of this production. It was the cellist Pieter Stas' idea to supplement it with a horough, interesting and non-musicologist text on the music (especially Pärts tintinnabuli) and the ideas they convey. We have been talking for hours about music, words, religion and philosophy. So inspired by him (and a bit the other way round as well) and my own background and research I set to work. The text is not intended as a work of philosophy or a paper, but tries to take one along with the ideas of our conversations. At the same time I tried to open up the religious texts for anyone, believer or sceptic. The mystic and esoteric where this kind of music may be associated with, has been left behind.

The text may be found in English, German and French in the booklet of the cd. The Dutch version can be found and read on the trio’s website. www.stringtrio.net

This august a new review was published in the Dutch Magazine LUISTER. Other reviews can be found via my website: philippegrisar.be/music-matters/index.html

Here is an English translation of the review:

Translation of ‘Luister’ review (Magazine Luister july/August 2014)


a Luister '10' (triple A)

Performance: *****/ Registration*****

Spiritual, ethereal– these are the words that don’t do justice anymore to these abyssal flageolet tones and sublime purity. When on has heard Arvo Pärt before, one knows to expect an extensive stillness and spiritualization. Even so, the extreme precision and purity of this recording (‘virtuosity’ is too braying a word) are a revelation. These are at the same time the means wherewith the strings and vocalist give voice to the Stabat Mater, wherein the thirteenth century poet-monk turns to the Mother of God; she is pre-eminently the one who is acquainted with loss and grief. Yet these gossamer crystal-clear tones rise beyond words and create space for every individual emotion. To play the Stabat Mater, the Goeyvaerts Trio use the older and uncompromising pure intonation although the equal tempered intonation (we all know as those of the piano) is more common for practical reasons.

Ivan Moody wrote ‘Simeron’ (Greek for Today) in 2012 specially for three vocalists and string trio – the Goeyvaerts Trio to be precise. Moody’s profound association with Eastern-Orthodox church music is evident. Transparent ‘ton-sur-ton’ chords provide a mystic atmosphere; crystal clear intoned intervals (secundes and nones) are carefully layered one upon the other, as the layers of paint by an icon painter. And even as words fall short with this meditations of sound on resurrection and salvation, Philippe Grisar philosophic contemplation in the beautifully bound booklet, are indeed a meaningful supplement.

By Margaretha Coonstra

Translation Ph. G.




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