Humeur de facteur
- Yves Beaupré
- Year of composition: 1998-99
- Duration: 54:14
- Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
“It was vertigo. A heady, insuperable longing to fall.” — Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Humeur de facteur, with its six movements, was conceived as an “ordre” in the style of François Couperin. In spite of the unique nature of each section, each one makes up an integral part of the whole.
An enigmatic project, an intimidating one, latent state, formidable demanding, agonizing. Humeur de facteur was in my head for a very long time. Day after day as I worked — physical, tangible labour — in my harpsichord-building shop, I would hear sound-noises superimposed on the smell of the wood that was constantly in the air around me. This created a remarkably musical and expressive atmosphere. The instrument being constructed, the harpsichord taking shape before me, was already speaking to me, voluble before its useful life had begun. The living case and the sound-board would constantly bounce back even the slightest touch of a tool, a marking gauge, a loose string, or a brass tack with a resonance that was deep and musical. The tones that came from it were unique. The large instrument under construction was giving me smaller, sonorous instruments. Let’s go! Let’s record all of this: tape recorder, microphones, table saw, sabre saw, and… Action! — six hours of tape.
The builder finds himself, as ever, with a mountain of raw material ready to be worked, ground, cut, re-cut along every plane, clear-cut, cross-cut. A sense of déjà vu. The material is so expressive, already mature, so satisfying; but the builder does not let himself become distracted by this as the work has barely begun. All of these little instruments must be channelled, remodelled, and choreographed into a frenzied score. The equalizer will cut no finger and the pitch shift will leave no splinter, the reverb no graze — the process is one that threatens no injury. The understanding of these computerized tools, acquired over many years, comes together with a much more recent knowledge of the sea — together they have lead me to ideas about sound that are very far removed from those that I had initially. And why not? The keyboard in the cockpit, the halyards clattering against the mast, the sails in fifths, the quills running up the octave.
Yves Beaupré [xi-01]
Humeur de facteur was composed in 1998-99 in the composer’s own studio.
empreintes DIGITALes / IMED 0160, IMED 0160_NUM / 2001