Category / Instrument
Commissioned by
UPIC pour le 70e anniversaire de Iannis Xenakis
Maison de Radio-France
Studio Olivier Messiaen
Rohan de Saram

Attracteurs étranges


ln reality, attractors are mathematical objects that belong to the vast scientific domain called "chaos", including fractals, the study of turbulence, and many other phenomena with often evocative names: Cantor dust, the Koch snowflakes, the butterfly effect... The poetic force of these objects comes from the fact that generally simple forms, though rich and striking for the imagination, are produced by very complex, but hidden operations. However, no mathematical procedures were used to write this piece. ln this case, there is only poetic analogy: the melodic contours trace spirals with trajectories that always seem to return toward one or several of the same points, but in fact often follow varied, distorted or twisted paths. We sometimes seem to reach a point of equilibrium: but the equilibrium is unstable and projects the music into a new cycle of oscillations.
Attracteurs étranges was commissioned by the Centre d'Etudes de Mathématique et Automatique Musicales and premiered in Paris on December 8, 1992 during a concert celebrating Iannis Xenakis' 70th birthday in the Studio Olivier Messiaen at Radio France. In it, the cello writing is very virtuosic, moving rapidly between various playing modes, from the most traditional to the most contemporary, using all of the instrument's large range, even the extreme high register, and in addition, demanding great precision in micro-tonal tuning. All of this requires that performers, beyond overcoming the technical difficulties, have great mastery of the musical discourse, to establish continuity through the ever-changing playing modes.

Tristan Murail
English translation: Jacqueline Rose,
CD Metier Une rencontre


1 CD Metier, MSV28590
Robert Schumann, Fünf Stücke im Volkston Op.102
Tristan Murail, Attracteurs étranges - Une lettre de Vincent
Robert Schumann, Fantasiestücke Op.73
Tristan Murail, C'est un jardin secret, ma soeur, ma fiancée, une fontaine close, une source scellée...
Une relecture des Scènes d'enfants (Kinderszenen) Op. 15 de Robert Schumann

Marie Ythier (cello), Samuel Bricault (flute), Marie Vermeulin (piano)

1 CD Accord, AC4659012
Couleur de mer - L'attente - Treize Couleurs du soleil couchant - Attracteurs étranges - La Barque mystique
Ensemble Court-Circuit, Pierre-André Valade (conductor)