Portulan: thus were called the ancient sea atlases used from the 13th century onward, marking out coastlines and harbours, indicating currents and depths. Portulan: a cycle of chamber music pieces by Tristan Murail, written for eight instruments (flute, clarinet, French horn, piano, percussions, violin, viola, cello). In this cycle, each piece uses a unique combination of instruments within the ensemble.
Through this album, Ensemble Cairn celebrates its years of companionship with the composer Tristan Murail. The fifth piece of the Paludes, for instance, had been specifically commissioned by Ensemble Cairn and premiered during the Musica festival in October 2010.
“ [This cycle] is also a form of autobiography, written in metaphors: each piece refers to something – a place, a journey, a book, an aesthetic experience – of significant importance to me. Portulan, in itself, is the title of a poetry book written by my father, which had made a strong impression on me as an adolescent.” Tristan Murail