Allain Gaussin, a pupil of Olivier Messiaen at the CNSM in Paris, and a veritable alchemist of sound, created a sensual and sparkling work that aims to induce in listeners the sort of “internal awakening” that the Japanese refer to as Satori – the title given to a piece for solo clarinet he wrote in 1998.
Composed a decade later, Tokyo-City for solo Piano draws on the same inspiration, fuelled by several stays in Japan. Gaussin sets out to reproduce the various sensations he experienced during his walks around the Japanese megalopolis: a fear of being swallowed up by its vastness gives way to a bedazzlement in the face of a buzzing universe awash with harmonies and colours.
The work follows a dual symmetrical structure (in terms of register and tempo): after an enigmatic start entrusted to the low notes of the piano, a musical figure gradually emerges from “floating polyphonies”, producing a veritable toccata which is slowly deformed, like an anamorphosis. Then, only a glimmering of crystal-clear harmonies remains, and the work ends sparsely on the highest notes of the piano.