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Aspects of colour and timbre in Julian Anderson’s Incantesimi: Exploring French connections

Rae, Caroline ORCID: 2017. Aspects of colour and timbre in Julian Anderson’s Incantesimi: Exploring French connections. Presented at: Julian Anderson Symposium – Julian Anderson Total Immersion Weekend, Barbican Centre and Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, 20-21 October 2017.

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While discussing the vexed question of influences, the French composer Maurice Ohana declared that ‘an animal is known by what it eats’. Indeed, it was Ohana who first introduced me to Julian Anderson when we were both students in Paris during the 1980s eagerly devouring the feast of contemporary French music that engorged the capital. Then studying with Tristan Murail, Anderson was among the first British composers to begin assimilating the lessons of Musique spectrale, including from the music of Gérard Grisey, although it would be misleading to suggest that Anderson should be defined as a Spectral, or even post-Spectral composer. Like many French composers, including Henri Dutilleux – another whose music he has long admired – Anderson resists the convenience of simplistic categorisation. Yet, despite what might be called his omnivorous tendencies (if the metaphor is to be extended further), French music has long been part of the musical diet that has nourished many of Anderson’s works, and it is this aspect of his music that I shall be investigating. This paper examines the French connections in Anderson’s music through considering his treatment of instrumental colour and the interplay of timbre in his orchestral work Incantesimi (2015-16). Taking Anderson’s own definitions as a point of departure, I will explore how this work relates to his concept of the Style incantatoire, a tendency in French music that has hitherto been little explored.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Music
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 08:39

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