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The introducing gesture in the first movement (a friction, two bows rubbing each other and “whipping” the air in circular motions) is the key material of the piece and inspiration for its title and development. First explored in its primary form (in the air), the circular rubbing of the bows is then “amplified” through contacts with the body of the instrument. The different contact points (corners, bridge, using bow wood and hair) transmit the friction’s vibration to the cello’s body and create different forms of filtrations. The combination of contact points results in a natural “amplification” of the friction. Bow overpressures and rubbing-speed variations create a crescendo until the first climax, which combines the use of the two sides of the instrument’s body.
The second movement develops fast circular brushings on the strings. The left-hand position is specific (the hand “surrounds” the bow, and the bow is placed between the fingers), and allows various “filtrations” using single/double harmonic/multiphonic nodes on the same string. This “unusual” technique-gesture allows fast changes between 2 positions (bow in front/behind/in the middle of the fingers) and creates natural variations. A first interlude explores finger pressure variations on “middle” strings (II, III) to explore the (otherwise impossible) playing on two adjacent-non-adjacent strings (II-IV, I-IV). Using the bow near the nut, A second interlude builds an extended polyphonic “choral”, combining up to four harmonic/multiphonics on four strings.
The third movement develops two ideas. The first idea (battement/filtration) unfolds through a repetitive left-hand “tapping” on the strings (IV-III). The tapping generates the strings’ vibration, which allows the bow (wood softly lying on the strings) to naturally bounce. Starting “sul tasto”, the bow slowly moves down the string towards the bridge. As the tapping becomes more percussive, the bow-bounces increase and create random “wood-filtrated” harmonics. This process is repeated with additional improvised parameters. The second idea (air filtré) develops in two steps. The first step combines a slow glissando made by the left-hand thumb under the string, while a slow circular brushing is made by the bow on the same string. This results various harmonic filtrations, including “crossing points” when the finger and the bow reach a common position on/under the string. The second step uses the wood - hair of the bow to play on each side of the bridge (in front - behind). The left hand fingers play on both sides using slow glissandi to create a specific form “counterpoint de souffle”.
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