Transcriptions: 7 interpretations with inadequate instruments
Modernity has been influenced by numerous attempts of translations and correspondences between different languages, particularly music and the visual arts.
In 1948, the French poet Paul Ëluard wrote a series of poems dedicated to his friends painters and published in the book Voir. In 1956, the French composer Francis Poulenc composed Le travail du peintre, a cycle of pieces for piano and singing in tribute to Paul Éluard’s poems. Thisseven-movement work was dedicated to the artists Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Georges Braque, Juan Gris, Paul Klee, Joan Miró and Jacques Villon.
With the intention of binding these productions and proving that it is possible to get beyond the difficulty in translating the passages between such heterogeneous languages, I brought together 7 contemporary musicians and asked them to perform, under my direction, each of the movements. The general assignment was to play each piece non-academically, spontaneously and in a personal way. Between virtuosity and clumsiness, the musicians included the instruments usually used in their musical practice, adapting them to Poulenc’s original piano and singing score and improvising with errors, corrections and expressions.
According to this new order, the movement dedicated to Pablo Picasso was recreated by means of a performance with a cordless guitar and percussion. The second one, inspired in Marc Chagall, was played with a cello, music and singing. A saxophone was chosen to Georges Braque and a Portuguese guitar for Juan Gris. Finally, Paul Klee was interpreted with a bass guitar, Joan Miró with an accordion and a flute was used to play Jacques Villon’s movement.
Lic. Valeria González, Universidad de Buenos Aires