In the preface to Vampyr! Tristan Murail writes: “The sound we are looking for is that of the guitar solos of Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, etc.,” and then, in bold type and with an exclamation point, we read: “The musician must put all the energy of rock music into his interpretation of Vampyr! and this implies the appropriate number of decibels!”
Vampyr! is part of “Random Access Memory”, a cycle of pieces aimed at reconciling rock and classical music. Murail wanted to create a series of highly idiomatic timbre studies. According to the composer, the piece has a sound “for which electric guitars were created”; the typical distorted rock sound. Vampyr! is unrelated to spectral music in terms of tonal structure, although other parameters, such as the development of range, are related to Murail’s thinking.
The title, rather striking, refers to horror and B-movie science fiction, as do other titles in the cycle. This theme is clearly identifiable in the saturated guitar sound and the frequent and hysterical use of tremolo.
Anthony Fiumara, excerpt from the program of the Warsaw Autumn Festival, 2003.