Braud Piece ImageVantablack is the blackest substance known, absorbing up to 99,965% of radiation in the visible spectrum. The idea of a sole element “hiding” all the light made me think about a concertante piece. I chose to gather my piece around a solo horn: the large range of the instrument, as well as possibilities of microtonal inflections and a large array of timbral choices were a crucial factor in designing the musical material. The ensemble formation was determined by Kornel Thomas’ suggestion that I write for the full Nebula Ensemble. I had to find a solution to deal with a pretty exotic set of instruments, so I decided to split the ensemble in three groups of four musicians, echoing each other but also joining forces in tuttis. The piece is also divided in three big sections, themselves divided again: the first one exposes material and suggests different paths, expanding elements through different processes. The second one results from the energetic nature of the first section: it’s fairly quiet, soft, and introduces unusual sonorities in a more reduced ensemble. The last one brings the microtonal elements to life, and recreates harmonic and non-harmonic spectrums before getting back to some previous elements. The trombone joins the horn in unison for a crazy and sparkling final cadenza.

Augustin Braud