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Written for two pianos and live electronics, Philippe Manoury’s Le temps, mode d’emploi (2014) was commissioned by a multiplicity of venues (including Wigmore Hall) and financed by Siemens Music Foundation. This is the first recording. Collectors may know a smattering of Manoury’s works, notably Helffer’s Cryptophonos or flutist Pierre-André Valade’s Petit Aleph, while Iimo Ranta’s recording on MIDI piano of Pluton presents another large-scale example of Manoury’s output.

Manoury described the present piece as ‘a large musical fresco on various ways to express time’ (contemplative/active, delayed/ real, continuous/discontinuous, smooth/ pulsed, etc). The electronics enable the tally of pianos to rise to six ( four virtual pianos, with much sound processing). Andreas Grau and Götz Schumacher are ideal interpreters and appear to be immersed in the music, not to mention possessed of infinite virtuosity. If Stockhausen’s Mantra and late Boulez (Répons, Sur incises) are part of the journey to Manoury, he carves his own way, exploratory in temporal, gestural and sonic domains with plateaux of beauty and complexity. Not for the faint-hearted, but fascinating and massively rewarding.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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