Since Claire Gibault founded the Paris Mozart Orchestra in 2011, one astonishingly affective but rarely heard musical genre has been at the core of the orchestra’s programming: the melologue – a dramatic narration alternating with, and sometimes accompanied by, illustrative, emotionally-charged instrumental music.
What is a melologue?
The form was first established in the 18th century, but in the hands of today’s composers the melologue has proved to be fresher, more relevant and more accessible than ever. Our contemporary melologues often include a visual element - projected films, paintings or drawings - echoing the painted backdrops that embellished many historic performances. Borrowing from the Irish poet Thomas Moore, Berlioz was the first musician to use the word “mélologue” to characterise the 1832 version of his Lélio, rejecting out of hand “mélodrama” as a term tainted by negative connotations. In reviving, developing and promoting this genre we chose to follow Berlioz, adopting the less provocative but more apt and intriguing “mélologue” which combines the Greek melos and logos.
Pioneering explorers and designers of new performance formats and outreach programmes, we carefully and individually tailor content and presentation for each audience in consultation with promoters. As an independent ensemble of soloists, members of the PMO perform chamber music (duos, trios, quartets…) alongside pieces written for small instrumental ensembles of 12-20 players and full-scale classical and early Romantic orchestral works with 30-50 musicians. Equally at ease in both classical and contemporary repertoire, the PMO offers imaginative original programmes which combine the highest standards of artistry with a love of communication and outreach.