Robert Normandeau


  • Robert Normandeau
  • Year of composition: 2001
  • Duration: 20:08
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Commission: Sonorities Festival with support from the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland
  • ISWC: T0715272835

To Anne-Marie Cadieux

At the center of this work is the voice. The voice, but without words — only onomatopoeias, as recited by the actors in Electra by Sophocles (in a production by Brigitte Haentjens that was presented at Espace GO in Montréal in April 2000) for which I composed the music. In Greek mythology, the Erinyes were guardians of human life whose duty it was to pursue and punish wrongdoers. They were known as “the keepers of the shadows.”

The principal sound treatment was designed to bring out the primitive nature of the voice — the interior resonance that is so deeply rooted in the human unconscious. This treatment is called “freeze.” At first glance this may seem absurd, given that music is something that exists in time, but the computer allows the composer to stop time. Voices can be ‘frozen’ and thoroughly explored from within. Erinyes is the fourth piece in the Onomatopœia cycle (the three preceding pieces being Éclats de voix, Spleen, and Le renard et la rose).

Erinyes was realized at the composer’s studio in 2001 and premiered on May 5, 2001 at the Sonorities Festival in Belfast (Northern Ireland, UK). The piece was commissioned by the Sonorities Festival with support from the National Lottery of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The recorded voices are those of actors Marc Béland, Anne-Marie Cadieux, Anne Dorval, Denis Gravereaux, Andrée Lachapelle, and Christiane Pasquier and director Brigitte Haentjens. Thanks to Michael Alcorn.



  • May 5, 2001, Sonorities 2001: Profile of the work of Robert Normandeau, Harty Room — Music Building — Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast (Northern Ireland, UK)