Ex-Daft Punk Thomas Bangalter signs his first piece for orchestra, for a ballet by Preljocaj, "Mythologies"

Ex-Daft Punk Thomas Bangalter signs his first piece for orchestra, for a ballet by Preljocaj, “Mythologies”


Half of the former star duo of the French touch is back on the music scene, this time on a score where we did not expect it. He wrote the music for Mythologies, Angelin Preljocaj’s latest creation.

“It’s amazing, Daft Punk separates and what will come out is a work for orchestra without electronics”marvels the choreographer a few hours before the premiere. Scheduled at the Grand-Théâtre de Bordeaux until July 10, the creation co-produced with the Bordeaux National Opera will go on tour for 37 dates from September.

“For several years, we wanted to do something together”tells the 65-year-old French choreographer to AFP. “I asked him if he was interested in writing for an orchestra, he really wanted to, long before Daft Punk broke up”announced in February 2021 after 28 years of service of the prolific duo formed with Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo. “Thomas needed a libretto to work, to invent, so I wrote a libretto with several mythologies, and he wrote the music, and then I received the music, and what it inspired me, m ‘took me somewhere else again, it was like a palimpsest’, continues the choreographer.

Abandoning the machines to compose the score of a ballet is a process that necessarily “took a long time”, believes Romain Dumas, the conductor, at the heart of the production of the work shaped by three, as in a creative “ping-pong”. “When we write for electronics, we don’t have to take these data into account, such as managing the breath of wind players or how to attack a note for strings”raises the conductor.

This project has also proved to be a challenge for the musicians who have engaged in “assiduous training”, almost “athletic” to translate into endurance the music of Thomas Bangalter, sometimes nervous with his ruptures, but also sometimes lyrical or with cinematographic accents.

In this score, the composer summons influences from Baroque music. “Thomas is passionate about Vivaldi and Bach”but also by the “stream of American minimalism”from John Cage to Steve Reich, “which has innervated the whole style of current American film music”says Romain Dumas. And in this set, “there are more electronic things, extremely short and repeated motifs (…) something very complicated for the human instrumental gesture”. In the only interview given to the Facebook account of the Opéra de Bordeaux, with his face uncovered, Thomas Bangalter confides for his part: “The reason I took on this project (because I don’t like to do things I’ve done before) was that it was going to be interesting songwriting-wise”.

In his MythologiesPreljocaj explores the myths that have passed through time since Antiquity and their resonance with today’s world in a succession of paintings, alternating cold or shimmering tones. We meet there “ancient mythologies, the Amazons, the Minotaur, but also the Mythologies evoked by Roland Barthes like wrestling, and then those that we are creating without realizing it, and which will perhaps become mythologies of 21st century like war or Covid-19”details the choreographer, whose style combines classical language and contemporary dance.

In a refined staging, with costumes of ancient inspiration, ten dancers from the Ballet Preljocaj and as many from the Ballet de l’Opéra National de Bordeaux crown four years of collaboration between the two houses. With this creation, Preljocaj, known in particular for his ballets The park and Snow Whiteconfirms his love for electro after collaborations with Air, DJ Laurent Garnier and Daft Punk from whom he had already borrowed the film’s soundtrack tron for his piece Gravity.

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