The Wings of Desire

The Wings of Desire

(Les Ailes du désir)



Desire. One of the strongest feelings we can experience. It can be devastating or full of joy; it can drive us crazy, make us forget everything we have been taught. It gives us wings, although not always with the best of results. The pièce de resistance of The Wings of Desire was created after reading a popular book by philosopher Gilles Deleuze and psychoanalyst Félix Guattari. The authors analyse the relationship of desire to reality and to capitalist society in particular. Their statement that the pressure of society on the individual causes loss of creativity struck Thierry; he wondered what would happen if he let go off everything he had been taught about composing. The result was Les Machines désirantes (desiring machines, a term from the book). The piece is almost literally steaming with pounding passion, but as Thierry remarks, one can never be completely free of influences: this piece was actually structured by his cultural background.

Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du soldat about a soldier who makes a deal with the devil, trading his fiddle in return for unlimited economic gain, fits this theme perfectly. No wonder Stravinsky included a tango; the dance breathes passion, desire and seduction. Thierry explored the world of tango himself, and added another tango from Piazzolla for some extra fire. Mallarme’s experimental poem L’Après-midi d’un faune, loosely based on the ancient story of the Greek god Pan, is one of the landmarks of French literature. The story of the faun, just waking up, telling about his desire for several nymphs inspired Debussy to create his Prélude, a lovely dreamy start of a program about desire. There is an extra layer in this program: a dialogue between French music from the early 20th century and contemporary music. (Strictly speaking, Stravinsky is not French, but the French seem to have adopted him).


Claude Debussy

Prélude à l’Après-midi d’un faune for flute, clarinet and piano (arr. Webster)

Richard Blackford

Murmurations for flute and clarinet

Igor Stravinsky

Suite de l’Histoire du soldat for clarinet, violin and piano

Thierry Pécou

Quelqu’un parle au Tango for clarinet, violin, cello and piano

Svante Henryson

Off Pist for saxophone and cello

Darius Milhaud

Caramel mou for voice, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano

Astor Piazzolla

Le Grand Tango for cello and piano

Thierry Pécou

Les Machines désirantes for piano, flute, saxophone, clarinet, violin, cello

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flute, saxophone, clarinet, violin, cello, piano

More information

Les Machines désirantes is part of Ensemble Variances’ new CD and shows the composer as an outstanding pianist

Have a look of you like it - it’s Anne "erotic" solo


Tour partnership: Spedidam, Odia

The Ensemble Variances receive support from Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication - Drac Normandie, Région Normandie, Spedidam, Sacem, Ville de Rouen, Odia Normandie, Onda. The Ensemble Variances is member of Fevis, Futurs Composés, Bureau Export and Profedim. It is member of Groupement d'Employeurs Solstice, supported by Région Normandie. Caisse des Dépôts, main sponsor of Ensemble Variances.