Works Sémaphore-Nord Christian Calon


  • Christian Calon
  • Year of composition: 1998
  • Duration: 15:40
  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • Commission: Réseaux des arts médiatiques, with support from the CCA
To Riel

(“Nous parlons,
stables, dans la langue,
nous parlons,
victorieux du bruit,
ou ce bruit, victorieux, nous réduit à un sémaphore muet, au bord métabolique où l’invention se lance, au hasard,
dans l’insensé.”)
“We speak, stable, in language.
We speak,
victorious over noise.
Or this noise, victorious, reduces us to a dumb semaphore, on the metabolic edge where invention springs, at chance,
into the unsound.”
Michel Serres.

Sémaphore-Nord is an essay on voice. Voice as signal of a presence, of the existence of beings. Also on the difficulty to emit this signal and as such, to exist.

Not so much an essay on voice as the carrier of sense and meaning but on the simple noise of the living, before the conditionning of language.

The starting points for the piece come from isolated fragments of crowds recordings, some Inuit voices, some other vocal expressions from world recordings and some vocal experiments related to concrete poetry.

The piece is divided in five movements going from the abstract to the more “figurative”:
1. ouverture 1:17
2. movement 1 3:42
3. movement 2 4:15
4. movement 3 1:07
5. movement 4 4:59

Sémaphore-Nord is an acousmatic concert piece meant to be performed on an orchestra of loudspeakers.

The development of materials for Sémaphore-Nord was done on the MARS and SYTER computer sound processing workstations at Ina-GRM (Paris).

The piece was composed between October 1997 and February 1998 in my studio in Berlin. It was a commissioned by the Rien à voir festival in Montreal with financial help from the Canada Council [for the Arts] (CCA).


  • February 19, 1998, Rien à voir (3): carte blanche, La Chapelle — scènes contemporaines, Montréal (Québec)

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