Robert Normandeau


  • Robert Normandeau
  • Year of composition: 1991
  • Duration: 13:49
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Commission: Société Radio-Canada (SRC)
  • ISWC: T0704937438

To Claire Bourque

One way to trope is to add words or musical elements to an existing piece. The troped work in this case is that of Mozart, more particularly, his chamber music. As such, all the sounds of this piece come from his music for strings, winds, piano and voice. The sonorities of the original instruments are metamorphosed in such a way to render them ‘unreal’, notably by means of temporal transformations. The sounds of the voices are extended past the human lung capacity, and the general virtuosity of the work exceeds that of today’s best soloists. In this way, any and all comparisons to the original are irrelevant.

I tried to discern the contemporary principles in Mozart’s work, those which led, in this day and age, to developments undreamed of in his time. In addition to his chamber music, I used a passage from Concerto for Clarinet. My first musical memory, I recall being fascinated by the record jacket which showed a clarinet deconstructed into five sections. I can’t help but think that it was a premonition of my future vocation as a composer, as a foretelling of the creation of this piece. To take apart and put together, to destroy and create — paired actions in any artistic endeavor.

Tropes was realized at the composer’s studio in 1991 and revised in 1993. It was presented during the concert, Mozart l’intimiste, broadcast on radio on December 3, 1991 in Ottawa (Canada) as a part of the festivities to mark the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s death. The piece was commissioned by the Service des émissions musicales du Réseau FM de Radio-Canada.


  • December 3, 1991, Mozart l’intimiste, Réseau FM de Radio-Canada — Ottawa, Canada