Eliane Radigue - Naldjorlak CD 26550

Eliane Radigue - Naldjorlak CD 26550
'Naldjorlak is structured around a tuning of the cello which seeks to consolidate, as nearly as possible, all of the resonating parts of the instrument. The reference for the tuning is found in the instrument itself: the so-called wolf tone. This refers to a particular note which stands out from all others as a jagged or excessively-resonant frequency; most string instruments have one such note. It results from a piling-up of wood and string frequencies relative to tautness, and is generally considered a blemish on an instrument's sound. For Naldjorlak I proposed focusing on the wolf tone because of its instability and extraordinary spectral complexity. When tuning the entire cello to the wolf tone, the wolf frequency moves. One can never tune exactly to it, and the result is a tuning that spans a narrow range of frequencies, something like a small semitone. This small semitone became the foreground pitch material of the Naldjorlak, and can be followed through every section of the piece. Three of the four strings are tuned as closely as possible to the wolf tone, and a fourth string is tuned to a string tension which will cause the tailpiece to also resonate at the pitch of the wolf tone. The endpin is likewise tuned to the same pitch, by the length to which it is drawn out. Every adjustment of a single element causes changes in the other elements, but over time it is possible to reach a consensus tuning, which could be expressed as unison-plus-small-semitone. The result of this unified tuning is a kind of subtle voicing of all specific bowed actions, through the corpus of the cello, to all the other, un-bowed, resonating elements. A remarkable degree of sympathetic resonance is present at all times, and is occasionally articulated through lightly brushing or resting the fingers on the un-bowed strings. The cello behaves somewhat like a bell, or like a tamboura, resonating in a complex but unified fashion.' Charles Curtis

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