It’s the grande dame‘s birthday today, and i’m rounding off my Éliane Radigue long weekend with another work from the OCCAM OCEAN series, one that in some respects combines those featured in the last couple of days. OCCAM DELTA IV, for bowed harp, microtonal tuba and cello, dates from 2013, and initially focuses extremely intently on a low C. Once again, it’s a drone in which assorted partials can be heard to differing extents, colouring its timbre; here, though, the drone is underpinned with some octave lower pedal notes from the tuba, rendering the drone itself essentially an overtone on this occasion (again a parallel with The Hafler Trio’s Trilogy in Three Parts, in this case the final part). Similarly to OCCAM RIVER XII, the 5th above is emphasised, but it’s ultimately to the 4th above, F, that the cello drone moves, for a time causing some perfect fourth judderings. Throughout all of this is a sense of the sustained pitch swelling and ebbing (only partially achieved through dynamics), as though the music were breathing in and out. Having withdrawn somewhat towards its conclusion, in an echo of OCCAM XI the tuba suddenly lets out a high E (its timbre strikingly similar to that of a bassoon), silencing the F drone, cello and harp reverting to the note C but now as a soft tremolando. Once again, mystery and beauty combine into a truly hypnotic whole.
This performance of OCCAM DELTA IV took place at the 2015 Tectonics festival in Glasgow, and was given by Charles Curtis (cello), Robin Hayward (tuba) and Rhodri Davies (harp).
Happy Birthday, Madame!