The little music of the Château Versailles
A bell rings. A chime rings, and the mechanism of a clock starts. A crystal chandelier tinkles in a breeze. Further on, the floor squeaks while a key clicks into a lock. There, an antique harpsichord releases notes of music from another time. To immerse oneself in the sound world of the Castle of Versailles is the promise of a formidable journey through time and space, in the footsteps of the kings of France. However, the current team at Versailles wanted to approach this sound heritage in a modern way, calling on one of the most interesting artists of today's French electronic scene: Thylacine.
Who is William Rezé, alias Thylacine?
Who is Thylacine, the artist invited by the Palace of Versailles to relay its sound interpretation? Behind this stage name is William Rezé, a young musician who is as creative as he is cerebral, with a packed universe in his work. With a classical background, this saxophonist took the turn into electronic music while studying at the Beaux-Arts academy, after which he released several notable albums. Convinced that the environment has a great influence on the music he creates, William Rezé takes his machines on a journey: aboard the Trans-Siberian (Transsiberian, Intuitive Records, 2015), first, and then a caravan turned into a recording studio (Roads vol.1, Intuitive Records, 2019).
After the exhibitions of contemporary art, the Château de Versailles proves once again that it is part of modern times as well as the past.
Baroque becomes electronica
The team at the Château de Versailles invited William Rezé to immerse himself for a few days in the heart of the landmark to create an authentic piece of music based on this exceptional sound heritage. This represented new journey for the composer: "I didn’t want to compose something baroque, which would be what is expected of Versailles,' he explained, "I wanted to leave the story behind and take ownership of the sound world, filled for me with new raw materials!”
Day or night, but always outside the opening hours for the public, Thylacine met the curators of this unique heritage and immersed herself in the splendor of these places where several kings of France lived, from the Sun King Louis XIV to Louis XVI.
“I had visited Versailles as a child,” says Thylacine, “but this time it was a completely different experience. I discovered incredible instruments, such as the harpsichord or the organ, and unparalleled acoustics. In my clip, I can be seen snapping my fingers in an empty room: space is an instrument on its own!”
The clocks of Versailles
In these few days, William Rezé became familiar with the sounds of the castle. The watchmaker of Versailles took him around to understand treasures: at Versailles, there is a pendulum in almost every room—and the castle has no less than 2300!
“I never thought that a clock could find its place in my work,” said Rezé. "Thanks to the watchmaker, I understood specific mechanisms. Beyond the bells of the clocks, the sounds of the cogs and mechanisms were the richest for me.”
Maze of corridors
The young composer was allowed to wander at random among the rooms to seek inspiration in the mazes of corridors, and to appropriate the sounds and the instruments of Versailles. "I created bass lines by playing harp strings, I was able to record the large bells on the roof of the Castle…"
The sweet sound of the organ
But his greatest encounter is with the organ.
“A student of one of the organists at Versailles showed me how to play it, and then I was alone for two hours with this instrument, which was several hundred years old. I got much softer sounds than I imagined: it must be said that I experienced it in a way that was not at all academic! If organists see my video, they’ll wonder what I’m doing—mostly, having fun. I started playing some chords, manipulating the strings: this sound was the melodic trigger of the song.”
The Versailles video on Youtube
Entitled "Versailles," the title and its clip have been available on Youtube since July 4, 2019. This a whole new way to discover the Castle of Versailles, through the now-intimate perspective that William Rezé has on the monument.
His works proves that one of the most famous castles in the world still has many secrets to tell.
Find out more:
Getting to the Château de Versailles