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Pascal JUGY (b. 1964)
Des brumes au zénith
C’était en mai [3:56]
ARPAM [16:49]
Swinging in the rain [1:54]
Major Swing [2:10]
Valse en sol [3:42]
Ondine [3:27]
Gouttes d’eau [7:32]
Ragâmophilie [3:02]
Noms d’oiseaux, for guitar [14:36]
Johannes Hustedt (flute), Andreas Hiller (10-string guitar)
rec. 2013, Loché sur Indrois, France
ANIMATO ACD6166 [57:10]

The French composer Pascal Jugy was born in 1964 in Loches. A scientist by training he subsequently studied music at the University of Strasbourg, and then at Lyon and IRCAM where he took lessons in analysis and composition with Ivan Fedele, Magnus Lindberg, Jonathan Harvey and Gérard Grisey. Nevertheless, despite these advanced cutting edge studies, the self-taught guitarist is a tonal proponent and remains devoted to the guitar, chamber music (duos, trios, quartets) and vocal-choral music.

That is very evident from this album of music for the combination of flute and 10-string guitar. The latter is most unusual but adds an extended range to the lower register and allows increased sound colours. Jugy is a composer of fresh and attractive music, brief pieces with descriptive titles that explore the range of his stylistic influences. The opening, for instance, C’était en mai has a winsome quality that revels in lyricism that honours the great lineage of Gaubert and Fauré as well as a certain, perhaps Poulenc-inspired, tartness. The ‘great city’ (unnamed) evoked in the three-movement ARPAM – presumably unrelated to the very real bunker of IRCAM – is met during the course of a day’s perambulation. The lyricism of midday gives way to the gaiety of the afternoon and a charming stroll at dusk, the music coming to a gentle, satisfactory close.

The brief, slightly jazzy and splendidly titled Swinging in the rain shows Jugy enjoys popular culture and Major Swing confirms that he likes playful titles; assuredly this guitarist-composer knows Django’s Minor Swing though rather than the Quintette of the Hot Club of France, Jugy ensures his two proponents enjoy nonchalant boulevardier songfulness. There is a brief Waltz and a somewhat impressionistically coloured Ondine, albeit one buttressed by a sturdy theme – it’s not Ravelian. Gouttes d’eau derives from a longer piece called Géopoèmes et gouttes d’eau, a languorous, nicely textured piece full of variety of moods. Very different is Ragâmophilie which evokes, in the most modest of ways, Indian influences on Jugy, whereas it’s Messiaen who gently haunts the Noms d’oiseaux for guitar solo with which the disc ends. This piece allows those 10-string extensions to be savoured, whether in repeated phrases or the lingering lyricism of the writing.

This nicely recorded disc is most persuasively performed by Johannes Hustedt and Andreas Hiller and has an interview with the composer in the booklet. This is music of gentle, appealing warmth.

Jonathan Woolf

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