This work is an inner odyssey of sorts, in praise of multiplicity. The piece features a series of snapshots, each illustrating a specific experience with otherness through characters with different cultural backgrounds.
I chose to use the human voice as the featured instrument. By capturing various languages (Russian, Italian, Creole, English, Arabic, African, made-up language), I was going for a feeling of strangeness. Since I don’t understand these languages, their meaning was not a burden anymore, and I could let myself be guided by their musical qualities.
A fragile hesitation, the rhythm set by sentences, a pause for breath, a burst of laughter — all these ephemeral anecdotes were awakening me to the other and making me thirsty for the slightest fluctuations. I had the feeling I was capturing fragments of souls, and discovering the inner reality of these emotions, a portion of universality.
At the heart of the creative process, as I was soaking in this energy, moments of listening became veritable opportunities to meet. The discovery of the other, of my critical look, of the intimate repercussions that emerged.
“This is the eternal origin of art: a shape appears to a man and demands to be fixed in a work. That shape is not the product of his soul, but an outside apparition that manifested itself to that soul and asked from it an efficient force. This is an essential action. If the man realizes himself, if he says, with all his might, the fundamental word I-You to the shape that appeared to him, then the efficient force flows, and the work is born.” [Translated by François Couture]
This quote is from a beautiful book by Martin Buber entitled Je et Tu (1938). This book, which marvelously describes a philosophy of the meeting, was a huge source of inspiration.
Was it madness to wish to translate into music the experience of reciprocity? To make a moment of intimacy almost tangible? Maybe it was, but it allowed me to experience a true inner journey to the heart of one of otherness’s beauties: the richness of differences.
[English translation: François Couture, viii-08]
Empathies entropiques [Entropic Empathies] was realized between 1998 and 2001 at the composer’s studio in Montréal, and premiered on December 12, 2001 at Espace GO in Montréal, during the Rien à voir (10) concert series presented by Réseaux. Thanks to Camille Locquet, Gisèle Poirier and her family, Sylvana Bitar, Jennyfer, Sergeï, Yvonne Robuste, Dominique de Juriew, Lolita, Pablo Bonacina, Lucie Lukina, Claude Jeannot, Eval Manigat, and Mano Charlemagne. And to the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (
- December 12, 2001, Rien à voir (10): concert solo: Altérité, Espace Go, Montréal (Québec)
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