Quatuor Hêlios
Percussion Ensemble
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The Quatuor Hêlios is an ensemble of four musicians who have been creating music together since 1986, so rather than presenting the group as a whole entity perhaps we should look at the work that has been produced by four individual minds in collective harmony, by four quite separate experiences/experimentations, by four different musical backgrounds and four musical disciplines each with their own artistic identities. John Cage has been a constant in the group's live work since their reunion (for reference it is worth first listening to their 1989 recording of the American composer's work and to their recording 10 years later on the Wergo label). From 1940 to 1991 the group has scanned (as as radar would scan frequencies) an elaborate repertoire, leaving us in no doubt as to their unique intelligence. Following the death of their philosophical leader, the Quatuor Hêlios inevitably began to reflect on their future directions and more importantly on their actual reason for creating music.
The group turned to new if some what cruel ideas such as the rejection of percussion, as an instrument or as an over all aim, in favour of, for instance, gratuitous virtuosity. Embarking on a new series of musical adventures the group (like a rock group) went on to create a whole new panoply of sound, with a new version of a Vinko Globokar play (a musical ?), a reinterpretation of the work of Toru Takemitsu (a mixed production ?) and finally an escapade into the George E. Lewis world of virtual instruments (with Buchla's magic Lightning wands) and Daniel Koskowitz's world of electronic. The Quatuor Hêlios (again like a rock group) has also decided to create its own tailor-made repertoire [...].
From their musical beginnings with the work of John Cage (the inevitable role model), the group has progressively developed a collective musical identity, one which is their own nd which is free from external aesthetic constraints. The instrumentalist's creative ideas are constantly paralleled by their technical excellence, as in only natural for a group of such experience. The result is astonishing. We leave entertainment behind for something far more serene.

Dominique Répécaud in the booklet of the CD "Quatuor Hêlios" Vand'Oeuvre 0018
Translated by Sarah Ford