- Robert Normandeau
- Year of composition: 2002
- Duration: 14:00
- Instrumentation: 16-channel fixed medium
- Commission: Réseaux des arts médiatiques, with support from the CCA
Chorus. Latin word for choir. To sing in chorus, to voice one’s agreement. To chorus.
The music is inspired by the subject of the theatre play Nathan der Weise (“Nathan the Wise”) (1779) by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (Kamnez, Germany, 1729 — Braunschweig, Germany, 1781), which demonstrates the tolerance ideal of the Age of the Enlightenment. The play — staged by Denis Marleau in Palais des Papes (Avignon, France) in 1997 — is based on the Three Rings parabola, which describes a man who is about to die and has to make a difficult choice: who among his three sons will get the ring inherited from a long family tradition. In order not to have to make this choice, the father decides to have three rings made out of the first, a proof of his love for his sons. “If it is not given to mankind to theoretically know which religion is the true one, everyone has the practical possibility, by his selfless actions toward others, to prove the value of his faith and his aptitude to contribute to the happiness of humanity.”
The sound material used in the work represents the typical sonorities of the three monotheist religions: the shofar of Judaism, the church bells of Christianity and the call for prayer of Islam. To these sounds, I have added the treated voices of two actors, Gregory Hlady and Évelyne Rompré, used in the music of the play Antigone by Sophocles (staged by Brigitte Haentjens at the Théâtre du Trident, Québec City, in 2002).
Chorus was realized in 2002 at the composer’s studio and premiered on July 13, 2002 during the Festival de musiques sacrées (Fribourg, Switzerland). Chorus was commissioned by Réseaux des arts médiatiques with support from the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA). Chorus was awarded the First Prize at the 2002 Fribourg International Sacred Music Competition (Switzerland). Chorus was also selected by the 2nd Métamorphoses Biennial Acousmatic Composition Competition (Brussels, Belgium) in 2002 and was recorded in 2003 on the CD Métamorphoses 2002, M&R (MR 2002).
- July 13, 2002, Festival de musiques sacrées, Église du Collège Saint-Michel, Fribourg (Switzerland)