Lettre de Sarajevo

Francis Dhomont

Lettre de Sarajevo

  • Francis Dhomont
  • Year of composition: 1995-96
  • Duration: 14:38
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Commission: French State (Music Office)
  • ISWC: T0031035172

To victims everywhere: the dispossessed, the sacrificed, the forgotten

What can be said about Sarajevo that has not already been said? Faced with a deluge of triumphant cynicism, I was unable to content myself with the formal, esthetic games that are so dear to the composer. Perhaps this musical narcissism, this elegant disengagement, and this haughty ignorance (deceitful, surely, but this shouldn’t surprise) now appear quite derisory compared to the anguish we witness daily; ridiculous and, finally, untenable. And so, naively, I wanted to speak about the horror and the shame.

The title came to me, sudden and obvious: “Letter,” which can tell of the magnitude of the disaster and which at that same time can send a cry in the desert of nations; “Sarajevo,” because this city, like all too many others, symbolizes the tragic incoherency of the return to barbarity in our age.

Even though they may be common, how can one remain deaf to such provocations? It is a pessimistic report that, six years later, recent events give no sign of refuting.

[English translation: Tom Carter]

Lettre de Sarajevo [Letter from Sarajevo] was realized in 1995-96 at the Syter studio of the Ina-GRM (Paris, France) and at the composer’s studio and premiered on 22 February 1996 as part of the Festival Présences of Radio France in the Salle Olivier Messiaen of the Maison de Radio France (Paris, France). A first version, presented in August 1995 at the Festival d’art acousmatique Futura (Crest, France) under the title “Esquisse pour Sarajevo,” received the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA). Lettre de Sarajevo was commissioned by the French State (Music Office) for the Festival d’art acousmatique Futura (Crest, France). Lettre de Sarajevo was recorded on the 1996 disc Sonic Circuits IV (Innova 113).


  • August 30, 1995, Futura 95: Concert portrait, Éden, Crest (Drôme, France)
  • February 22, 1996, Premiere of the final version: Son-Mu 96, Festival Présences 96: Concert, Salle Olivier Messiaen — Maison de Radio France, Paris (France)