Keyboard player Jean-Philippe Goude took off as a composer in a more personal way in the early nineties, writing for the Ensemble. After a stint with the nebulous Magma and a time spent with French singer-songwriter Renaud, as well as composing for films, television and advertising, Goude established the Ensemble, compôsed of ten or so soloists, among them Paul Meyer on clarinet, Hervé Cavelier on violin, and pianist Bruno Fontaine. Along with other occasional performers, Goude and the Ensemble put the expressive clearness of rock melodies or familiar-sounding song tunes first, paralleling them with a certain American-style minimalism at its most lyrical - think Garrett List. With this new album entitled Rock de Chambre, Goude shows himself as talented as ever with strings (somptuous arrangements for cellos) and winds (woodwinds being strikingly predominant), notwithstanding a mention for the accordion, the celesta and the bass viol. Yet all this without giving the impression of piling them on top of one another and still leaving a place for drums (Bill Bruford and Francois Laizeau) and the whole thing infused with the of heartfelt interpretations.
Compared to previous productions, Goude's musical world here opens onto a far wider spectrum. First, the material is far more eloquently amplified, running from baroque to minimalistic, via the music-hall genre. Secondly, the structure of the orchestra plays upon permanent variations to its advantage, resulting in fourteen compositions performed by greatly varied formations. This was made possible with the help of a wide variety of musicians; six mainstays and twenty guest performers. The richness of tone, which runs throughout, from the crystal organ to the electric guitar, is based upon cord instruments disposed in the manner of a chamber orchestra. Cellos, with their priviledged proximity to the human voice, play the part of protagonists, the best example being the double version of the title track. Its alternation between bass and synthesizer inspires particulary interesting changes in harmony. These short works have an old-fashioned daintiness that seems a perfect theme song for displaying an antique toy collection...
7 a Paris (magazine)
The heart of summer makes for listening to airy music which defies classification. This is the season for quatuors and the triumph of the latin spirit. Jean-Philippe Goude is a composer capable of creating limpid yet dreamlike music and his Aristotelian work "De Anima" came out recently. This is surely to be filed in the "nouvelle musique" category, yet the atmosphere is melodious and mincing, fragile as open lacework. Each note is like a light, refreshing drop of water. Goude works with a small ensemble, sometimes just two violins, a piano and a clarinet are enough. I've rarely heard an album so atuned to the mood which reigns in the summer shadows. An elegant jewel of a record.
|The 's opinion
Rock de chambre, a sumptuous album is striking in its extremly rich composition. The arrangements are breathtaking and the some forty musicians who participated have perfectly mastered their art here. This time Jean-Philippe Goude has truly taken his know-how to new heights, having been able to create a flawless link between the two major influences in his work: classical muisc and rock. His methods are unique and his influences numerous. That's how baroc, rock, pop and folk, classical American repetitive minimalism and electro-acoustic tendancies all find a place in his oeuvre without ever contradicting or overlapping...
...Nowadays, the meandering tunes of Jean-Philippe Goude might well restore the promise of a new song for a new day!
... More than talent is needed to establish a dialogue between a violin and a creaking escalator without sounding like something dictated by the G.R.M. The vocal compositions Salve Regina or Libera Me, wonderfully interpreted by the irreprochable contalto Gerard Lesne sometimes evoke those by Arvo Part, that is to say an Arvo Part who, like Mozart's Messe in Ut minor, makes room for the profane. Listening to that instrumental pieces, it's the transparence of Gorecki that comes to mind. Free wanting to illustrate anything (in particular) this music has real self-confidence and Goude seems to really know where he's going. ... As Schoenberg used to say: "many a masterpiece has yet to be written in C major"...
...and while were at it, why always go looking in far-off places (America for example) for pumped-up glory? With an equal style (in repetitive music), "La divine nature des choses" (Arcade) by Jean-Philippe Goude, a highly talented young French composer, is still overlooked by wordly, if not to say lobotomized! critics. Many a name comes to mind while listening to this all-white album: Debussy, Satie, Fauré and César Franck. But Goude contrary to Glass, never borrows shamelessly or without giving credit where credit is due. He breathes new life into his mentors' style in these fourteen instrumental tracks for piano, bassoon, synthesizer, crystal organ, etc, where one finds all the subtilities of French Chamber Music. For example, one happens upon an unexpected emotional paralell between the track "je suis chose legere" and C. Franck's quintet by Alfred Cortot and the Ysaïe Quartet. This sort of musical science, well-documented, yet light and refreshing, bears forward real truth in sound. It's glowing and well-balanced, meandering from melancholy to moving joy, growing to then wither, going from Ying to Yang and back again. In a word "la divine nature des choses" is to music what writer Lawrence Durell is to philosophy: a sort of lucky charm that begs to be listened to, to teach one a thing or two more intelligently and more in depth than the phony voices of the usual hustlers of the post-modern scene ever could.