Portrait of two women, around 1859
Portrait of two women, around 1859

Frank Bedrossian — Epigram

In following the path of Emily Dickinson’s work the reader is always on his own because the american poet has never presented her poems within cycles or chapters that can guide us through, or direct our progression in a clear and explicit way. And if, among all of her poetry, the resonances do exist, these are often secret and mysterious.

I was reminded of this particular experience when I was developing the musical form of Epigram I, II, III and thought that its temporal progression should return that peculiar feeling, in a way or another. I eventually decided that, even though the music would be made of three episodes, they would be played without any actual interruptions. Some fragmentations and silences needed to appear within each part. In that way, my goal was to create question marks about the actual paths within the musical form, which should be full of twists and turns - introducing a genuine structural ambiguity and flexibility. Moreover, the need for a dramatic evolution at a general formal level was remaining still, and the idea of a dynamic unbalanced situation for the proportions came to me, and I decided that a diptych would appear behind the triptych. This is why the poetic climate is slowly changing throughout the piece, until Epigram III inserts some new musical situations and interaction between the voice and the ensemble, that suggest the musical ending.

Also, I chose poems whose succession is not the consequence of an organizing will, but rather an ensemble of poetic associations, where the themes of loneliness, search for identity, death and are constantly reappearing. In this way, the whole puzzle formed by the isolated poems should never give an impression of uniformity. To achieve this sensation, most of the texts were not chosen a priori, but more often during the composition and depending on the poetic atmosphere created by the flow of the music itself, that is also a thought of its own. Then, transitions, instrumental interludes and silences appeared that suggest connections between the different poems. Eventually, I wanted to develop a musical form that could possibly embody the poetry of Emily Dickinson that is complex, dramatic, and unpredictable.

Epigram I, II, III has been elaborated as a whole cycle composed of three different parts, which can also be performed individually. Epigram I is dedicated to Donatienne Michel-Dansac, Epigram II to Françoise and Jean-Philippe Billarant, and Epigram III to Annie Clair-Dau.
—Franck Bedrossian, 2017

28 April 2018
8.00 p.m.
Witten, Blote Vogel Schule Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik Epigram UA UA

Frank Bedrossian — Epigram Ι - ΙΙΙ World Premiere (Teil III)

Ashley Fure — New Work World Premiere

Donatienne Michel-Dansac, Soprano
conductor: Emilio Pomarico

11 June 2018
Paris, Centre Pompidou IRCAM Skin

Franck Bedrossian — Epigram
Rebecca Saunders — Skin Frech Premiere

Juliet Fraser, Soprano
Donatienne Michel-Dansac, Soprano
conductor: Titus Engel