In the early 1960s, Auric became director of two bastions of the establishment: the Paris Opéra and the Opéra-Comique; there was also however a more radical side to Auric’s musical persona with modernist compositional tendencies evident as far back as the early 1930s. In 1968 he produced Imaginées 1
, the first in an important series of four works for different instrumental combinations in a more obviously contemporary style, influenced by his younger compatriots. The piece is episodic and gestural in conception, with fluctuating tempi: ‘Largo’, ‘Vivo’ and ‘Allegro moderato’; fiery rhythmic sections emerge from the lugubrious depths of slower moments. Its harmonic language thrives on ambiguity, with chromatic meanderings and angular leaps leading to more overt atonality and dissonant pitch clusters. One ‘Allegro moderato’ section in 5/8 metre features the pianist’s hands apparently a semiquaver out of synchronization, while another presents a humorously distorted tango bass-line. Contrast and variety are the hallmarks of these quixotic ‘imaginings’.
from notes by Deborah Mawer © 2001