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A new work – a concerto for apartment block and orchestra – has been performed in Paris. The premiere of Pierre Sauvageot’s Grand Ensemble: Dialogue Between an Apartment Building and a Symphony Orchestra saw musicians of the Paris Chamber Orchestra spread across the balconies of an apartment building overlooking Paris’s Place d'Aligre market square.
The concerto, performed “with the participation of inhabitants” combines the sounds of the symphony orchestra with the noises of apartment life – voices, kitchen sounds, the sounds of children, televisions, fights, dogs and toilets flushing.
“I see it as a dialogue between the building, the residents and noises in the building,” Sauvageot told France 24. “I make a symphony putting violins with babies crying, violins with a lift going up and down, steps in a corridor with the sounds of the kettle drum. I’m even using radios being turn on.”
Sauvageot’s compositions often focus on public space. His Allegro Barbaro featured 100 amateurs playing mopeds and horns while his Harmonic Fields was a symphonic walk for 500 wind instruments and a moving audience.
The performance of Grand Ensemble was presented by Lieux publics – National Center for Creation, of which Sauvageot became director in 2001. The work will travel to Marseille, Belgium, Austria, Denmark and the USA.