Bernard Cavanna

Michèle Reverdy

Born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1943, Michèle Reverdy occupies a most singular position. She is an alert spectator of the overfill of current musical life, and her own analytical spirit and her taste for the art of transmission (since 1983 she has taught musical analysis and orchestration at the Paris Conservatory where she undertook all her own music studies, notably with Olivier Messiaen and Claude Ballif) contrast with the powerful amnesia that presides over every one of her works.
This spontaneous forgetfulness as she sits down to write a new work is matched only by the complete virginity of the blank page and an incapacity to assimilate any element of backward-looking nostalgia or any of the tools of postmodernity. Because Michèle Reverdy associates composing with exploring, none of her works rests on any pre-existent musical language, it vibrates with its own dramaturgical substance and creates its own harmonic reservoir: from this springs work on melody, together with cellular growth through dissemination (the relationship with painting is then explicit) and a rhythmic vitality that, all of them, bear witness to human liberty.
Thus preformed and in-formed, every score is, during the compositional process, subject to a double interrogation, via the pianistic instrumental experience, then through an intuition of the voice. From the instrumental point of view, and respecting both acoustic instrument making and modes of play that are in a state of permanent renewal, Michèle Reverdy is keenly anxious to secure the pragmatism of her chosen performers. And from the point of view of the voice, she recalls that as a child it was through opera that music grasped her and assured her she would “spend her creative time composing operas”. Such a passion for the voice enables one to see how each of her works, even instrumental, seems to have been torn from so many imaginary operas.
This omnipresent vocality, as should be clear, is indeed the great unifying stamp on her catalogue, placed under the sign of amnesia, in which each score quite happily pursues its path in complete independence. This can be seen in the poets she chooses, whether classical (Jakob Lenz, Aloysius Bertrand, Victor Hugo, Franz Kafka,
Lewis Carroll, Tristan Corbière, Saint John of the Cross, Federico Garcia Lorca, etc.) or contemporary (Paul Eluard, Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, Yasushi Inoue, Christa Wolf, Pascal Quignard, Jean-Claude Buchard et Christian Doumet).
Frank Langlois - translated by Jeremy Drake
Conte musical pour acteur, choeur d'enfants (non musiciens) et ensemble instrumental
Michèle Reverdy
Lettre des Iles BALADAR