Activity 01: Geek Bagatelles video recording

News - Geek Bagatelles Recording ©OdP

In order to register a DVD and a CD of Bernard Cavanna's work "Geek Bagatelles", Orchestre de Picardie, led by Arie van Beek, spent two days (September 21 and 22) at Théâtre Impérial de Compiègne. The film maker / movie director Delphine de Blic and the crew from Track-B production were managing operations. 

The musicians and the smartphones' choir (composed by pupils from Lycée Boucher de Perthes in Abbeville) led by Pierre Bassery, were surrounded by cameras and microphones, as close as possible to the instruments. 

The audience joined them on Friday September 22, to participate to this unique recording.

Musicians, smarphonists and audience were delighted by this unusual experience.

Interview with Quentin Lepoutre, from TRACK-b production:

The project initiative is the encounter between a video maker, Delphine de Blic and a composer, Bernard Cavanna. They did several movies together. Delphine is able to translate Bernard's music, to make it accessible, to put images on sounds. It's really a fertile alchemy.

Bernard and Delphine made 3 movies together, before this "Geek Bagatelles" project. Delphine was especially intrigued by this smartphones' choir and wanted to honour Bernard's work continuation. She is always looking to place pictures on a music which sincerely moves her, which is Bernard's music.  

The movie (like every movie) is meant to be shared, not to stay on a shelf. It's an invitation to (re)discover music through those images. Watching Delphine's movie you can, even when you're far from being a music-lover, even if you're a complete neophyte, get interested in music.  What moves people who love images, either in the production crew or among the cameramen filming, is to capture something from the shadows for the public and to share it. This idea of sharing is really important. 

When you're a concert spectator, the closest you can get from musicians is approximately 10 metres. In this peculiar case, the cameramen are shoulders to shoulders, 1 metre distance from the musician, using long focal length lenses, which allow seeing the percussion impact, for instance. You can focus on mere centimetres of a violin's strings. You observe the musician's eyes when it's their turn to play. You also experience their wait, seconds before they start to play. It's truly a microscopic observation of a whole, you can never sense as a spectator. It's complementary, as a new pair of glasses. You enter into the musician emotions.

Delphine's work is clearly a music interpretation, not a transcription. It's a huge task, as you have to synchronize sounds with images. To do so, you have to know the music perfectly. The movie's not a simple video recording but an original creation. The goal is to offer something different than what you can see on television or during a concert.

Interview with the pupils from the smartphone's choir:

We learned about this project through our music teacher, Mr. Pécourt.
Some of us already took part in this adventure last year, performing with the orchestra the world premiere in Cité de la Musique in Paris and in Abbeville.
We were interested by the originality of the project. It was something we never heard about before.

As musicians ourselves, to play with smartphones is different and rather original. It's pretty funny. We're not playing the sound, strictly speaking, so it's a lot more disruptive that if we had our own instrument in our hands. What is different, compared to a violin, for instance, is that the violin will always have the same fingering when each mobilephone doesn't possess the same sensibility. It's harder to obtain the result we want. 

It really is an enriching adventure, as you do not have the opportunity to take part in something like that every day.

We want to thank our music teacher, Mr. Pécourt for embarking us on this journey!