Instrumental ensemble (8 musicians)
Clarinet (Bb and bass), bassoon, horn, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass
DURATION • 16 minutes 30
EDITOR • Bote & Bock / Boosey & Hawkes
COMMISSION • Radio France
PREMIERE • April 10, 1978, Paris, by the Ensemble 2E2M, conducted by Paul Méfano
The tripartite, single movement Oktett shows a clear conception of the «main tone technique» and the «Taoistic» process of metamorphosis. The «moved» first section _the sound impression is darkened by the bass clarinet_ leads from a confrontation of the competing wind and string groups to a coalescence. The «soft» legato of the begining is followed by a wave of sound made up of plucked or struck «hard» impulses, against which only the bass clarinet attempts to assert itself «melodically». the upper strings drive upward in two phases. Finally, all of the instruments swarm arround a single main tone, which changes from measure to measure. _The «tranquil» second part repeats in principle the process of confrontation leading into relative unity. The construction, however, is decidedly more subtle and makes use of new, never before utilized playing techniques._ The «moved» third section presents a succession of duos: clarinet and first violin, bassoon and viola, horn and cello. Teese dialogues lead from a vigorous upward movement to a resigned downward motion.
The revitalizing impulse comes from the double-bass and opens into the nearly eruptive sound of the strings. In a sudden contrasting change, the string quintet has a slow phase. The pizzicatti of the double-bass stand against the chains of glissando trills in the upper strings: the effect of the cello strings plucked with a plectrum, reminescent of the sound of the Korean long zither kômun’go, dominates. The bass clarinet appears once again in the almost concertante ending, bringing about the homogenization of sound.