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Musique qui sent la table et la pantoufle (2004)
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Ensemble Aleph
photos: Sophia Murer
Instrumentation I (Ensemble Aleph): cl, trp, soprano, pf, perc, vl, vlc

Instrumentation II (Nieuw Ensemble): cl, ob, soprano, pf, perc, vl, vlc

Duration: ± 6 minutes

Text: Claude Debussy

First performance: 10 september 2004 during the Gaudeamus Music Week in the IJsbreker in Amsterdam by Ensemble Aleph

Written for: Ensemble Aleph

On the occasion of: '3e Forum International des jeunes compositeurs', Moulin d'Andé, Frankrijk

Publisher: Donemus

Reviews: "Highlights of the Aleph show included trumpeter Lutz Mandler's simultaneous performance on two alphorns (connected to a single mouthpiece), Mayke Nas' Musique qui sent la table et la pantoufle, a good example of the humorously serious work of this up and coming Dutch composer, and the pun and a grin of Dmitri Kourliandski's Pas d'action ('action step' or 'no action' depending on how you choose to translate it)."
(Guy Livingston in Paris Transatlantic Magazine, 10 oktober 2004)

"Musique qui sent la table et la pantoufle for voice, clarinet, trumpet, violin, cello, piano and percussion by Mayke Nas from the Netherlands was a very short, aphoristic piece, which started out and ended with very soft, sparse, percussive effects, in the middle of which came by short, sporadic passages with the other instruments, most notably the prepared piano, trumpet and soprano."
(Anton Rovner in New Music Connoisseur, Dresdener Tage des Zeitgenossisches Musik Festival, oktober 2004)

"Musique qui sent... by Nas began with plopping sounds, led by soprano Marijje van Stralen, until she started to sing the words of the title, only sparcely accompagnied by the ensemble."
(René van Peer in het Brabants Dagblad, 13 januari 2005)

Audio sample of a live performance by Nieuw Ensemble & Marijje van Stralen / Bas Wiegers
Claude Debussy was not only a gifted composer, but also a merciless critic who wrote about his colleagues with razor-sharp humour. Like a true Frenchman, he was obsessed with food. In the reviews and articles he wrote under the pseudonym 'Monsieur Croche' he used many culinary analogies to give air to some of the displeasures he experienced in the concert-hall. After a concert that, to his taste, was ill-programmed for example, he wrote: "Je suis parti avant... On ne mange pas du rosbif après des petits fours" (I left before the end. One shouldn't eat roast beef after sweets.). And after a new piece by Grieg "... cela s'étire un peu comme cette pâte de guimauve que dispensent les petites boutiques de foire, à laquelle se sont probablement suspendues les mains de marchand" (... it resembles the kind of liqourice they sell on funfairs, to which the fingers of the seller still seem to be sticking).

Musique qui sent la table et la pantoufle was written in the summer of 2004 for the French ensemble Aleph on one of these critical jottings by Debussy: "Musique qui sent la table et la pantoufle, ceci pris dans un sens spécial aux mécaniciens qui disent: 'Ça sent l'huile'." (Music redolent of the table and the slipper. This to be taken in a special sense from mechanics who, testing a badly assembled machine, say, 'It smells oily'). With this text Debussy was refering to music by composers who he thought composed too much with their heads and too little with their hearts.