Parages and other electroacoustic works 1971-1985 3CD Box set
Entre terre et ciel (1979)
Symphonie au bord d'un paysage (1981)
Les palpitations de la forêt (1985)
Born (1940) in Talence, France, Jacques Lejeune studied music at the Schola Cantorum with Daniel Lesur, at the Conservatoire National Supêrieur of Paris with Pierre Schaeffer, and at the Groupe de Recherches Musicales with François Bayle. He entered the GRM (Musical Research Group) in 1968 and directed the Cellule de la Musique pour L'Image (Music for Images Department) in which various productions for stage and television were produced. In 1978, in partnership between the National Audiovisual Institute, GRM, and the ADAC (City of Paris), Lejeune launched the Ateliers de Musique Êlectroacoustique (Studios for Electroacoustic Music) designing both its curriculum and program.
Six of Lejeune's compositions are featured in this 3CD retrospective totaling near three-and-a-half hours of music. Presented chronologically, these works for tape represent a stunning array of themes, images, and destinations covering the years 1971-1985. Throughout Lejeune's compositional development, the informal content of dreams, reflections on the written fable, and the mythological thinking of our ancestors — all reappear.
Originally released on LP by INA-GRM, both Parages and Symphonie au bord d'un paysage have been remastered and re-released here for the first time on CD. Parages (1973) is a work exploring distances (or vicinities), cycles, and the transparency of the sky. A deep undercurrent of perpetual movement, altitude — flight and fall — is ever-present in the piece, encompassing a procession of auditory colors, places, and events. These elements multiply, uniting beyond their individual musical processes, further immersing the listener within an increasing auditory field. Symphonie au bord d'un paysage (1981) is a composition concerned with motion, panoramas, and geographical relationships — all as if being at the edge of a vast chasm. This expanse projects the listener onto an audio compass, traversing specific territories, while contemplating the path and its spatial trajectories along the way. Also included is Lejeune's masterwork, Blanche-Neige (1975). This has been regarded as one of the most peculiar and elusive recordings in the whole GRM-related canon. This early LP, also known as Fantasmes, was originally recorded for a theatre/ballet production of the same name. Loosely based on the text by the Brothers Grimm with its narrative symbolism and tale of the deep forest, Blanche-Neige is one of the finest compositions of cinêma pour l'oreille (cinema for the ear) for tape and electronics from the period. Cri (1971) is the earliest piece featured in the set, with an emphasis on the very nature of vocal expression. Integrating mixed landscapes and a spacious use of cyclical elements, this work offers a fantastic prelude to Lejeune's evolution as a composer. Additionally featured are Entre terre et ciel (1979) and Les palpitations de la forêt (1985). These two works are concerned with the natural world, labyrinths, clusters, and intermingled morphologies of the Earth.
For Lejeune, his methods are always galvanized through tangible images. It is expressed in an acoustic research based on an ambiguity between the anecdotal and the musical. This follows the work of Luc Ferrari, with his notion of anecdotal music; bringing into relation the sounds of everyday reality and the musical narrative. Lejeune's pieces may be further described as a "character passing through a series of landscapes."
The boxed set includes a 28 page bilingual booklet (in English/French) with detailed program notes as well as a 32 page booklet of interpretive stanzas surrounding these bizarre and evocative works. Meticulously translated and collected for the first time in print, these writings offer a rare insight into Lejeune's creative process. Parages and other electroacoustic works 1971-1985 is an essential overview of one of the seminal figures in musique concrête.