Celestial shadows, the first symphony by Jean-Luc Fafchamps rubs shoulders with the stars

On November 25, 2022 at the Henri Le Boeuf hall in Bozar, the concert of the Belgian National Orchestra offered a theme centered on the music of science fiction films as well as on the stars. The evening was punctuated by numerous hits of classical music. Among all these hits, the creation of the first symphony by Belgian composer Jean-Luc Fafchamps entitled Heavenly Shadows. Discover or listen to this world creation in replay.

Heavenly Shadows was commissioned by the Belgian National Orchestra and the 32nd edition of the festival Ars Musica and which is also part of the project United Music of Brussels, which opens the classic rooms to a wider audience. A full and enthusiastic hall attended the world premiere of the first symphony — in five movements — by Jean-Luc Fafchamps, Heavenly Shadowswith the Belgian National Orchestra, the mezzo-soprano Albane Carrère, under the direction of Antony Hermus.

Jean-Luc Fafchamps is a Belgian composer and pianist, born in 1960. Founding member of the Ictus ensemble, he participated in numerous creations and was also the author of an imposed piece at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 2010.

This work and this collaboration with the Belgian National Orchestra and Antony Hermus was done in a benevolent and pleasant atmosphere. “It’s you who dreams, I make things possible“, would have said Antony Hermus to Jean-Luc Fafchamps, reported the composer to us in the program Room with a view of November 25 under the presentation of Fabrice Kada.

Jean-Luc Fafchamps had already been able to work with an orchestra but had never considered his compositions under the meaning and term of a “symphony“, a word that refers to a pillar of orchestral music and to an old and almost fixed form of music that the greatest classical composers have been able to approach. In this new composition, elements of Ligeti, a way of considering colors close to Holst and film music, “symphony hollywood“which people today perhaps associate with the genre of the symphony.

Rocked in his youth by science fiction, which he perceives as both intuitive of our time, and dystopian — perhaps also somewhat synonymous with our contemporaneity — he is interested in stories of temporal paradoxes, different materials, space and its gigantism.

First movement: Dark Matter

A reflection on emptiness, littered with complaints

Second movement: Gamma-ray burst in the galaxy

Kind of nocturnal, crossed by a gamma-ray burst. This phenomenon could be due either to a gravitational collapse of a giant star, then forming a black hole, or to the merger of two neutron stars. The idea of ​​this movement is woven around a sudden and short tension, like a flash.

Third movement: Glitches

Glitches, designates the sudden variations in the period of rotation of an astronomical object producing a periodic signal, following a slowdown in its rotation. But, these pulsars, astronomical objects, can experience very large fluctuations in speed, oscillating from sudden slowdowns to unprecedented accelerations, and then resume a more rapid progression.normal“. This movement is an almost repetitive piece with many ideas, which never stops slowing down.

Fourth movement: Noir supermassif

A supermassive black hole is a monster in the universe that even attracts light. The idea of ​​this movement: a hole — which Jean-Luc Fafchamps tells Christine Gyselings to be one of the heaviest and thickest things he could have written — which eats little things trying to make their way through this dense melody. A game of colors with synthesizer, brass, woodwinds, harps, where each melody is caught up in the dark.

Fifth movement: Proxima Centauri B

Once the universe has been swallowed, Albane Carrère, mezzo-soprano sings to us — in a particularly moderate and restrained voice, without manners and in all simplicity according to the wishes of the composer — a lied symphony on a text by Fafchamps. Proxima Centauri B is a possibly habitable exoplanet. A human capsule is sent to Proxima Centauri B with the idea of ​​populating this planet and relocating Humanity. An android in the service of the mission wonders if this destiny is worth it.

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