Originally from Aix-en-Provence in the south of France, Leila Bordreuil moved to the USA to study at Bard College and now lives in Brooklyn. She will play twice at Third Edition on Friday 9th February — a duo with double bass player Zach Rowden and as part of a larger ensemble performing new works by Sean McCann. Bordreuil will also give a talk about her work at KMH at 2pm earlier the same day. We met in NYC in January and switched on the recorder whilst talking about Eliane Radigue and Leila’s recent, fraught experience interviewing the legendary composer.
by Kate Molleson
A composer writes an orchestral piece by inviting every member of the ensemble to visit her at home, one-by-one, to devise their parts collaboratively. This is how Eliane Radigue makes music: slow, exacting, verbal, personal. In many ways her work is a paradox. She writes drone music that dances. It is simple and rich, spacious and detailed, unhurried and full of movement, spiritual and non-didactic, narrative and abstract. Over the past 50 years she has honed a uniquely concentrated creative practice in order to access an expansive realm of partials and subharmonics — “sounds within the sound,” she calls them. She works instinctively, and her instinct has always drawn her to slowness and subtle modulations, yet she demands from her performers a kind of precision that is physically and mentally virtuosic. She claims with a shrug that her technique boils down to “fade in, fade out, cross fade,” whether in her early long-form synthesiser works or the acoustic pieces she’s been writing for the past decade. Yet it’s the complex, iridescent interior expanses of her music that achieve exquisite lift-off.