Annette Vande Gorne / Werner Lambersy

… made of sweeps, of moving textures, of an ever-present fabric of sound that is modeled to enhance the emotions conveyed by the words. AllMusic, USA

… the most best record available where music and spoken word is mixed. Sztuka Fabryka, Belgium

  • M&R • Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (Direction générale de la culture, Service de la musique)

CD-R (IMED 1839)

  • Label: empreintes DIGITALes
  • IMED 1839
  • 2018
  • UCC 771028183920
  • Total duration: 70:30
  • OGpak
  • 125 mm × 125 mm × 10 mm
  • 50 g

Download (IMED 1839_NUM)


From Literature to Music, the Path of Culture

For a period of eight months, with the production of a review comprising 71 never-before published texts, and many cultural, educational and scientific activities, L’Année nouvelle showcased the vivacity of the French short story and, on a broader scale, the riches of our contemporary French literature.

The short story illustrates the importance of literature in our culture, and this disc is the perfect example. The writing of a text implores its reading; without this double axis, a text does not exist. But reading must be understood in a pluralistic sense, not just in the different and varied interpretations of the meaning, but in the abundance of adaptations which can be developed from the original. Music is one of these possibilities.

From the beginning, L’Année nouvelle was closely associated with the production of this disc, the fruit of a collaboration between two great talents, new and different, who renew the language and the music, who renew our perceptions of these two while fostering an ages-old tradition, a tradition that they regenerate with a strong and vital force.


Some recommended items
In the press


Peter Marinus, NL Groovemaster, August 25, 2002

Annette Vande Gorne is a Belgian professor of electroacoustic compositions and also the programmer of the International Acousmatic Festival in Brussels. On this CD she weaves music and text together by using the poems of the Belgian poem Werner Lambersy, read by Vincent Smetana, in her tape manipulations. The result is a very unusual CD which at times sounds very spacey and new age-ish. There’s a lot happening in the songs. Le ginkgo has manipulated floating synthesizer sounds, buzzing heavily, over which the poems are read. This piece sounds very calming. It stays very interesting because of the use of different sounds and the difference in dynamics. It all seems as if you’re floating thru space and every once in a while a meteor comes flashing by. Architecture nuit consists of a poem,read over a manipulated tape. Different voices melt together here. Each with its own sound and atmosphere. Sometimes cutting industrial noises, bubbling sounds, whispering and bashing percussion interfere. Noces noires is a dark poem with sounds of bells, flutes and crackling noises. This piece takes more than half an hour but continues to stay interesting. A very unusual, but very interesting CD. Sounding like a thrilling radioplay.


François Couture, AllMusic, October 11, 2001

Impalpables is a reissue on empreintes DIGITALes of Annette Vande Gorne’s album Le ginkgo; Architecture nuit; Noces noires (SONARt, 1995). Unlike many albums of musique concrète, this one has a theme: the writings of Werner Lambersy, a Belgian poet of international repute. The three works culled here are the result of a collaboration between the poet — who reads his own words — and Vande Gorne who dressed them. The music always remains enslaved to the words. Lambersy’s voice is left mostly untouched. The music is made of sweeps, of moving textures, of an ever-present fabric of sound that is modeled to enhance the emotions conveyed by the words. Lambersy’s writings are highly metaphorical and revolve around the search for the Growth of Man. Thus the general atmosphere of the album is of serenity and introspection: no harsh contrasts or frantic developments. The composer’s intent was clearly to let the listener focus on the voice. Only Architecture nuit includes treated samples of Lambersy’s voice in the sonic fabric, but they don’t get in the way of his narration. All texts are recited in french, with english translations included in the booklet. Impalpables is better approached from a literary perspective.

… made of sweeps, of moving textures, of an ever-present fabric of sound that is modeled to enhance the emotions conveyed by the words.


Geert De Decker, Sztuka Fabryka, November 1, 2000

Now some music from a citizen of our country, Annette Vande Gorne she lives in the French part of Belgium while we live in the Flemish speaking part. empreintes DIGITALes is from Québec a part of Canada where they speak almost French. Therefore you hear a lot of French on their releases, are the booklets in French and English and have they contacts with French speaking artists from other countries. Annette Vande Gorne has put her music on poems from Werner Lambersy, a poet who lives also in the French part of Belgium. The poems are therefore in French, but the enclosed booklet, 45 pages, gives us a complete translation of all texts that are read in the compositions. In the first composition Annette creates with waves an atmosphere that goes close to the poem, it is of a man that makes a journey, to himself. She is able to create with ambient tunes the feelings that the man encounters through his journey. The following composition is more chaos, this time no ambient tunes but random sounds and various of tunes is the music. This time it is also not the music that follow the words, but the words of the poem receives also a random attitude. Words are read loud, quick, slow, calm and not only one by one but several sentences are read at the same time. In this composition no waves as in the first composition. Waves return in the third composition but on a more dramatic way, it follows the way the poem is performed, slowly and dramatic. Reading the explanation in the booklet you know why. It is a poem (black wedding) about a person who meets the feeling of death that is approaching . Soft and dramatic sounds and tunes comes over you, it is a composition that takes more then 34 minutes. This album is far out the most best record available where music and spoken word is mixed. You do not to know French to like this CD, because the large booklet gives you full translation and information about each composition, while French itself has a poetic beauty.

… the most best record available where music and spoken word is mixed.


Jon Christopher Nelson, Array Online, August 6, 2000

Ms. Vande Gorne is the founder and program director of the centre Musiques & Recherches and the Métamorphoses d’Orphée studio in Ohain, Belgium. She also serves as Professor of electroacoustic music in Liège, Brussels and Mons. Many of her electroacoustic works exhibit her long-standing interest in combining text and music as she revels in the ‘music of words’ and the ‘music of sounds.’ Impalpables contains three such works based upon the French writings of Belgian author Werner Lambersy.

The first track, Le ginkgo, provides an interpretation of excerpts from Lambersy’s short story of the same name. The tape portion is derived largely from vocal material and was composed at the GMEM studios in Marseilles. In this work, a recording of the author reciting text is presented in a clear, unprocessed and linear fashion accompanied by electroacoustic material.

The short story provides an account of a world in which the ‘Tree of Ten Thousand Crowns’ is the single remaining tree on the planet. This ginkgo tree drops all of its leaves once every theoretical year and the ceremonial gathering and counting of the leaves follows. Upon finding that one leaf is missing, the ‘Master of the Great Numbers of All Written’ sets out on a journey to find the missing leaf. This journey provides an interior voyage that leads to a discovery of self and ultimately love.

Although the relationship between the text and the sonic accompaniment is clear, it is subtle enough to remain transparent and provide a rich backdrop for the text without distracting the listener. Le ginkgo is an evocative sound exploration containing luscious sonorities. The work exhibits many attractive features and warrants repeated hearings. Many of the sound objects embody motion and provide an evocative sonic journey to accompany the text.

The second work on this recording, Architecture nuit (Architecture Night), was produced at the Métamorphoses d’Orphée studio and at Ina-GRM in 1988. This work sets five Lambersy poems against an electroacoustic background. Throughout the composition, Vande Gorne is concerned with space and the treatment of words and timbre within space.

In contrast with Le ginkgo, the recordings of the poet’s recitations are presented in a more dense, contrapuntal texture in the first two settings of Architecture nuit. Furthermore, the text is obfuscated through the use of extensive filtering. The kinetic hyperactivity of the first two of the five settings provides an appealing and exciting sound world. However, the dense counterpoint ceases as the final three poems are set in a more linear fashion. Each of these three poems are accompanied by more sparse materials. Furthermore, the accompanimental timbres change little and occupy a limited sonic palette. For this listener, these timbres were somewhat harsh and metallic. I would have enjoyed Architecture nuit more had Ms. Vande Gorne been able to recapture the momentum and energy found within the first two poems somewhere within the final three settings.

Annette Vande Gorne’s Noces noires (Black Wedding) contemplates the ‘approach of death and its reflection on us, the living.’ Written in 1986, Noces noires presents the poet reciting his poem while the musical setting provides text painting. The work unfolds slowly with well-paced expanses of time between stanzas accompanied by resonant processed cymbals and bells. This somber composition revels in austere beauty. Despite the many attractive features of this work, I was distracted by several spots that seemed to lack the technical finesse that predominates the rest of the CD. Specifically, the sound levels of several entrances of a noisy sound source at 13:40 and 13:54 seem too abrupt emanating from the preceding context. Nonetheless, the erratic nature of this sound object is very appealing after this point. Similarly, the use of increasingly frenetic and urgent sonic activity after 18:45 provides an effective formal device. However, the mechanical and unnatural decays imposed upon the acoustic sound sources stand out as distracting anomalies within the otherwise smooth and flowing context of the composition. 0The final minutes of the work include a return of the opening sonic material. In conclusion, I find many attractive features in the compositions found on Impalpables. Lambersy’s poems and short story are striking and provocative while Vande Gorne’s music enhances and colors the text with imagination. Annette Vande Gorne’s unique voice melds the worlds of text and sound.


Francis Monroe, Hurly Burly, no. 12, January 1, 2000

A work very oriented towards listening the voice as a membrane through which the poem glides. where the whole of sound constitutes an inseparable part of the phonetic layer which leaves a message by way of shadow. Annette Vande Gorne is founder member and programming director of the Musiques & Recherches center and the Métamorphoses d’Orphée Studio which were inaugurated in Ohain (Belgium) in 1982.


Patricia Lynn Dirks, Computer Music Journal, no. 23:1, March 1, 1999

Impalpables is an appropriate title for Belgian composer Annette Vande Gorne’s latest release. By definition, ‘impalpables’ are things not readily comprehensible by the mind. This disc contains a collection of words and music featuring the poetry of the contemporary [Paris-based, Belgian] writer, Werner Lambersy. Vande Gorne incorporates in her compositions various methods of combining text and music in an electroacoustic environment. It is these techniques that expose the music of the spoken sounds and words contained in the poetry. At the same time, Vande Gorne uses her music as an aural interpretation of the thought-provoking short stories and poems presented.

Le ginkgo [The Ginkgo Tree] (1994) is a radiophonic narration of an eternal society’s quest for mortality. This work was commissioned by Année nouvelle through the Université catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve and Vincent Engel. It was first performed in April 1994 during the Année nouvelle Festival in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. The text for Le ginkgo comes from excerpts of Lambersy’s short story of the same title. This composition was created mainly from electronic manipulations of vocal material read by Vincent Smetana, the narration being heard in different spatial environments, depending on the nature of the text. According to Vande Gorne, the story suggested a musical form that would follow three axes: time, space and movement. The sustained high frequencies and rich timbres present in this music set the mysterious mood for the corresponding character of the short story. When the dream world of the narrator’s tale are combined with Vande Gorne’s lush sound-world it reinforces the fact that the music and story are one. This intertwined atmosphere of Le ginkgo results in a whirlwind of excitement and mystery for the listener.

Architecture nuit [Architecture Night] (1988) is a five-piece composition using excerpts from Lambersy’s book of poetry of the same title. This work was commissioned by the Radio télévision belge francophone (RTBF) to be an entry in the Prix international des radio publiques francophones Paul-Gilson. Architecture nuit was also a finalist at the Bourges Competition in 1990. In each of the five pieces it is literally the words that create the music through Vande Gorne’s fragmentation and juxtaposition of the poetry’s text. The meaning for each piece in Architecture nuit comes from the arrangement of the text rather than the words themselves. Vande Gorne compares the form of each piece to that of a supernova exploding into many parts, rapidly increasing in complexity. It is in Architecture nuit that the spoken text becomes an individual organic member of a more comprehensive synthetic sound family. These vocal sounds are used both percussively in rhythmic gestures and in smooth descending glissandos. Over a background of silence, words can be heard either with vibrato, in mumbled whispers, or in squealing echoes. These variations transform the spoken sounds into comprehensible words while at other times retaining them for their pure sonic value. In this polyphonic sound-world there are varying degrees of comprehensibility, with audible sentences only momentarily emerging in each poem. These word transformations and techniques in Architecture nuit are reminiscent of those used in Stockhausen’s famous tape piece Gesang der Jünglinge (1956). This ability to play upon the listeners’ degree of understanding provides the primary means of sharpening the ears to explore and evaluate the newer world of electroacoustic sounds available today.

Noces noires [Black Wedding] (1986) is a commentary on death, the dying and humanity’s reactions to them. It was premiered in October 1986 at the Centre Georges-Pompidou in Paris. The text for Noces noires is a poem read by Lambersy from his book of the same title. The solo voice throughout presents this composition like a radiophonic production. The solemn tolling of bells, distant trains departing combined with awkward silences act as musical allusions to our associations with death. In Noces noires it is the deceased who is the bride with death as the groom. In order to emphasize a specific text, the solo voice is sometimes heard unaccompanied, alone, surrounded by an eerie silence. At other times, disturbing images from both the text and sound-world are presented, but Vande Gorne’s delicate, though abundant, variations on the sonic material keep the listener attentive and emotionally involved. Noces noires asks the listener how something so inevitable as death can be so questioned, and how it is we are not able to accept death in all its human horror? The sound material present can be compared to mourners who have arrived at a black wedding to give emotional support to the family, or in this case to the narrator. The overall meaning of the entire composition is a personal one. For a true appreciation and understanding this is a composition that may need to be heard several times. The closing line of text in Noces noires best describes the meaning of this work for the author, “Les mots ne serviront qu’à dire mon étonnement devant cela” [“The words will only serve to speak my astonishment facing this”]. Annette Vande Gorne’s passion for the marriage of words and music are evident in all three of her works.

It is this interest that allows Werner Lambersy’s written words to be transformed into a new listening experience of musical expression and aural comprehension. Impalpables is a creative accomplishment both in the literal and electroacoustic spheres.

… creative accomplishment both in the literal and electroacoustic spheres.


Peter Wullen, Gonzo Circus, December 1, 1998

Het Canadese empreintes DIGITALes heeft een neus voor fijn Belgisch talent dat elders niet aan de bak komt.

Annette Vande Gorne is de stichtster en de bezielster van het centrum voor elektroakoestische muziek Musiques & Recherches en de studio Métamorphoses d’Orphée in Ohain, de Waalse tegenhanger van het Gentse Logos. Ze is uitgeefster van het gespecialiseerde tijdschrift Lien en doceert elektroakoestische compositie aan het Brusselse en Bergense muziekconservatorium. Vande Gorne kent vooral bijval in Frankrijk en Canada en bracht zopas een cd uit bij empreintes DIGITALes. De cd bundelt drie lange composities (Le gingko, Architecture nuit en Noces noires) die ze schreef tussen ’86 en ’94 op basis van teksten van de Waalse auteur Werner Lambersy.


Peter Wullen, Gonzo Circus, December 1, 1998

Nog een Belg op de verzamel-cd Miniatures concrètes van hetzelfde label is Stephan Dunkelman, een jonge Brusselaar die bij Vande Gorne studeerde en werkte in de studios van Musiques & Recherches en ARTeM. Dunkelman doet onderzoek naar het aspect tijd en ruimte in de muziek. Hij verkeert in goed gezelschap. Miniatures concrètes staat vol bizarre elektroakoestische kunststukjes van componisten van Zweden tot Argentinië.


Tom Schulte, Outsight, October 1, 1998

DIFFUSION i MéDIA’s empreintes DIGITALes continues a tradition of excellently produced artistically packaged issues of avant-garde compositions from unique electronic composers. Annette Vande Gorne is a figure in the experimental electroacoustic composition and acousmatic music since the tape manipulation days of the early 80’s. On Impalpables she sets an eerie and delicate sonic backdrop of synth murmurs and sampled strings to the poems of Werner Lambersy. The readings are in the French poet’s native tongue, but English translations are provided in the 48-page booklet. Whether understood literally by the listener, his crisply delivered themes of existential fantasy and nighttime are enhanced by Vande Gorne’s otherworldly support. (Vande Gorne: 3/5)


Dan Warburton, Art Zéro, no. 13, August 17, 1998

La réédition [Impalpables] du Le ginkgo de Annette Vande Gorne, avec les poèmes de Werner Lambersy, rentre un peu plus dans le domaine du hörspiel, la musique semblant prendre trop facilement le rôle d’accompagnement / illustration des textes. Peut-être empreintes DIGITALes pourront-ils nous offrir bientôt un disque de Vande Gorne avec uniquement sa musique?

Des expériences plaisantes, pourquoi pas?

François Tousignant, Le Devoir, August 8, 1998

Avant de vous quitter pour trois petites semaines, non que je vous fasse des infidélités, seulement question de reposer ces doigts qui ont tant martelé ce clavier, et de permettre à ces oreilles d’aller respirer l’air du large, avant de VOUS quitter donc, une petite expérience hors du commun.

Il s’agit d’une production de notre essentielle étiquette de découvertes empreintes DIGITALes menée par ce Don Quichotte de l’électroacoustique qu’est Jean-François Denis. Vous l’avez sûrement vu en magasin, si vous êtes férus de lèche-rayon; reste à vous dire ce qu’il y a à entendre.

Tout d’abord, un avertissement: cet enregistrement de la Belge Annette Vande Gorne ne tombe pas dans l’électroacoustique pure et dure, celle des structures autosuffisantes et des architectures abstraites aux sonorités déroutantes.

Non, Annette Vande Gorne joue dans ces trois œuvres d’un art de la mise en scène sonore qu’on pourrait dire héritier du mélodrame du XVIIIe siècle, rejoignant en partie la définition d’origine: un texte parlé sur un fond musical expressif. L’experience est digne de ce que veut parfois tenter la Chaîne culturelle, sans que ses artisans, trop peu artistes, sachent y arriver.

Alors, un soir, détendu, mettez ce disque dans votre lecteur et — sans lire la pochette, je n’insisterai jamais assez là-dessus! — asseyez-vous dans la pénombre pour vous griser d’abord des paroles si bien écrites de Werner Lambersy, de la voix du narrateur — presque aussi enivrante que celle de Gérard Philipe — et du «fond» sonore de Vande Gorne.

Curieux de devoir admettre que dans ce que d’habitude on veut entendre comme événement musical, ici c’est la participation verbale qui prédomine. La compositrice fait office d’intermédiaire, de faire-valoir d’une humilité aussi expressive que sincère. Cela est d’autant plus efficace que l’oreille — comme le sentiment, cela vous semble-t-il bizarre? — navigue perpétuellement entre deux niveaux premiers d’écoute: la concentration sur la narration, l’attention au contexte acoustique.

Alors, quand on se laisse pénétrer de cet univers, on pressent un autre rythme, raffiné (j’oserais «féminin» uniquement si on accepte cette définition comme représentant une sensibilité autre que la traditionnelle, qui propose une vision sensoriellement différente des us coutumiers des bonzes acousmaticiens). On arrive même à le ressentir.

En cela, Noces noires est une expérience remarquable, symphonie verbale d’images chocs, sonorités de ponctuation des vertiges des impressions provoquées, telle une matrice qui se transmute elle-même aux transformations de son fruit généré. Le titre du disque, Impalpables trouve toute sa justification.

Les amoureux de science-fiction préféreront la porte d’entrée du Le ginkgo. Tous s’accorderont peut-être pour trouver Architecture nuit plus «ésotérique».

C’est un des autres charmes de cette musique, celui de ne pas s’enfermer dans un seul compartiment et d’explorer un genre des facettes qui tentent de s’imbriquer dans un portrait qu’on rêve parfait.

… une expérience remarquable, symphonie verbale d’images chocs…

At a Glance Reviews

George Zahora, Splendid E-Zine, July 13, 1998

Three poems, or short stories, or excerpts thereof, by Werner Lambersy, are accompanied by otherworldly electroacoustic scores by Vande Gorne. The fact that the whole thing’s in French may prove a stumbling block to those dedicated to casual listening, but the CD booklet provides English translations and a host of interesting background material.

… otherworldly electroacoustic scores…


Ear Magazine, May 1, 1998
I love this woman’s compositions, sound and textures… Brilliant. The Best — Highly Recommended + Third Ear Mention: Most Impressive!