Un jour si blanc

François Couturier

CD18,90 out of print

François Couturier’s solo excursion “Un jour si blanc” is conceived by its maker as the second volume in a planned trilogy, and an extension of the earlier quartet disc “Nostalghia”, dedicated to filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. The highly poetic approach – both in the playing itself and in the referential and allusive conception – is again evident. The new album’s starting point is a poem by Arseni Tarkovsky, which gives the disc its title and atmospheric implications. Thereafter, the music opens up associatively, making trans-idiomatic improvisational interconnections. “I wanted to pay tribute to some great artists I particularly like”, says Couturier. These include Johann Sebastian Bach, Arthur Rimbaud, Claude Debussy, Franz Schubert, Toru Takemitsu, Joan Miró, the painters of the Blaue Reiter group and more. Meanwhile, “Lune de miel” quotes liberally from “I Fall In Love Too Easily”… But if standard jazz is a component of this disc it is filtered through the focus of a player steeped in the European classical and experimental traditions. This first solo disc from the insightful French pianist is also a richly creative contribution to the unaccompanied piano genre established at ECM, as Couturier now joins the distinguished list of improvising pianists – Chick Corea, Paul Bley, Keith Jarrett, Marilyn Crispell, Jon Balke, Misha Alperin – who have recorded alone for the label.

Featured Artists Recorded

September 2008, Auditorio RSI - Radio Svizzera, Lugano

Original Release Date

29.01.2010

  • 1L'aube
    (François Couturier)
    05:57
  • 2Un calme matin orangé
    (François Couturier)
    03:32
  • 3Lune de miel
    (François Couturier)
    03:42
  • 4L'intemporel (Hommage à J.S. Bach)
    (François Couturier)
    04:55
  • 5Le soleil rouge
    (François Couturier)
    02:47
  • 6Der Blaue Reiter
    (François Couturier)
    02:57
  • 7Sensation (Hommage à Arthur Rimbaud)
    (François Couturier)
    06:40
  • 8Un jour si blanc (Hommage à Andreï Tarkovski)
    (François Couturier)
    05:28
  • Colors
    (François Couturier)
  • 9Part 102:12
  • 10Part 202:15
  • 11Part 302:17
  • 12Part 402:26
  • Clair-obscur
    (François Couturier)
  • 13Part 103:49
  • 14Part 201:20
  • 15Voyage d'hiver
    (François Couturier)
    03:41
  • 16Par les soirs bleus d'été
    (François Couturier)
    04:34
  • 17Moonlight
    (François Couturier)
    01:33
Its lovely performances, whether spontaneously devised or created from existing material, are the reflections of a gifted pianist first shaped by classical music. But the poet in Couturier … answers to diverse inspirations. … His responses give rise to some sensuously expressionist improvisations.
Ray Comiskey, The Irish Times
 
Das ist mal impressionistisch, mal harsch zupackend, dann wieder ist Couturiers Anschlag fast transzendent, bald beenden kalt klirrende Cluster jeden Wohlklang. Außergewöhnlich ist diese pianistische Leistung, weil sie hohe Intensität des Zuhörens abfordert, eine Konzentration auf Klang und Klangtechnik als Kunstwerk.
Alexander Kluy, Rheinischer Merkur
 
Ein paar Themen von Bach, Takemitsu oder ein Jazz-Standard (I Fall In Love Too Easily) genügen als Material. Sie fungieren als Sprungbretter ins Ungewisse, tauchen auf wie Rufe aus der Ferne. ... Als Pianist des Anouar Brahem Trios machte er sich international einen Namen. Dieses Jahr wird er 60 Jahre alt und fügt seinem Schaffen mit dem allerersten Soloalbum nun ein Meisterwerk hinzu. Vergessen Sie einfach mal, dass es sich dabei um Jazz handelt.
Karl Lippegaus, Süddeutsche Zeitung
 
François Couturier ist ein Grenzgänger zwischen den Welten, und das nicht nur in musikalischer Hinsicht. Die Inspirationen zu seinem aktuellen Soloalbum reichen von J.S. Bach über Arthur Rimbaud und die expressionistische Malerei bis hin zum sowjetischen Filmemacher Andrej Tarkowsky… Den Standpunkt des französischen Pianisten zwischen Jazz und anderen Formen zeitgenössischer Musik zu verorten, wäre zu kurz gegriffen: Sein musikalischer Kosmos streift die barocke Polyphonie ebenso wie die Beschaulichkeit des Impressionismus oder die atonale Musik, verbunden in einer Intensität und Innerlichkeit, die bisweilen an den Meister Keith Jarrett denken lässt.
Falko von Ameln, Jazzthing
 
Nun legt der 60-Jährige sein erstes Soloalbum vor. Es beschreibt in siebzehn teils ausgeschriebenen, teils improvisierten Stücken eine Reise von der Morgen- zur Abenddämmerung und enthält Hommagen des Künstlers an verschiedene Musiker, Dichter und Maler. … Couturier macht kein Hehl aus seiner klassischen Ausbildung. Er ist ein Impressionist mit feinem Sinn für Zwischentöne.
Manfred Papst, Neue Zürcher Zeitung am Sonntag
 
Faszinierend und einem nahegehend, welch melodisch-gestalterischer, klangfarbenmalerischer, romantisch-expressiver wie dynamisch-zupackender Kosmos hier erschlossen und direkt spürbar wird. Hier tun sich Wunderwelten des Melos, aber auch der Abstraktion auf, die unmittelbar Herz und Gemüt berühren.
Johannes Anders, Jazz’n’more
“A quiet promenade from dawn to dusk in an ideal world where fragrances, colours and sounds correspond ... Seventeen intimate impressions, many of them improvised, in different hues, calm or impetuous, melodious or abstract.”
- François Couturier

An autonomous and captivating album in its own right, “Un jour si blanc” was conceived by François Couturier as a second volume in an ideational trilogy, and an extension of the earlier “Nostalghia: Song for Tarkovsky” (ECM 1979).. The poetic approach of that disc – evident in the playing itself and in the referential and allusive conception – finds an echo in this solo piano album.

It’s the French pianist’s first solo album, and a richly creative contribution also to the unaccompanied piano genre established at ECM long ago with landmark recordings of Chick Corea, Paul Bley, and Keith Jarrett. “Un jour si blanc” was produced by Manfred Eicher at the Auditorio Radio Svizzera, Lugano – already a noted space for ECM recordings, including Stefano Bollani’s “Piano Solo” and Marilyn Crispell’s solo “Vignettes”.

The new album’s starting point was a poem by Andrei Tarkovsky’s father, Arseni Tarkovsky, which gives the disk its title. After this, the recording opens up associatively, making improvisational interconnections. “I wanted to pay tribute to some great artists I particularly like”, says Couturier. These include Johann Sebastian Bach, Arthur Rimbaud, the painters of the Blaue Reiter group, Claude Debussy, Franz Schubert, Toru Takemitsu, Joan Miro and more. “Lune de miel”, meanwhile, quotes liberally from “I Fall In Love Too Easily”. But if standard jazz is a component of this disc it is filtered through the focus of a player steeped in the European tradition, a player who can readily access the history of classical music and contemporary composition, and a sense for structure is paramount, even when Couturier is in full improvisational flow.

François Couturier first recorded for ECM with the Tunisian oud player Anouar Brahem on the pan-cultural album “Khomsa” in 1994, subsequently becoming a member of Brahem’s highly popular trio – a period documented on the recordings “Le pas du chat noir” (2001) and “Le voyage de Sahar” (2005). He also recorded in duo with the violinist Dominique Pifarély (album “Poros”, 1997).

“Nostalghia: Song for Tarkovsky”, recorded in 2005, brought Couturier’s music to a new audience. The disc was also warmly received by the international press, with the Irish Times’s Ray Comiskey writing that “composer and pianist Couturier evokes the emotional and spiritual climate of Tarkovsky’s films. Mixing classical rigour with improvisation, both formal and free, what emerges is austerely beautiful, etched in sombre hues that are redolent of an unslakeable thirst to connect with a deeper well of the spirit, one that may be felt but never quite known.”

A solo showcase/CD launch concert is in preparation, to be held at Paris’s Maison de la Poesie theatre in February 2010. Further Couturier discs are in preparation, including a new ‘Tarkovsky quartet’ disc with Anja Lechner, Jean-Marc Larché and Jean-Louis Matinier, recorded in December 2009.
YEAR DATE VENUE LOCATION
2024 June 24 A Rite of Summer Festival Tavertet, Spain