Mémoires vives

Robert Normandeau

Mémoires vives

  • Robert Normandeau
  • Year of composition: 1989
  • Duration: 15:50
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Commission: Événements du neuf, with support from the CCA
  • ISWC: T0715178009

Mémoires… (memories) — The fascination with requiems. Not so much for the text — to which I do not subscribe — but for a certain spirit, a kind of depth. The subject itself is demanding and composers have often offered the best of themselves for it. I have taken a path from the Gregorian Mass of the Dead, Ockeghem, de Lassus, Cererols, Mozart and Berlioz to arrive at Fauré, Ligeti and Chion. You will recognize their traces throughout the piece, as a form of homage to these individuals whom I don’t know but who talk to me through their music.

vives (Vivid) — These works are all part of me; it is me, in a way, who composed them, in a different time and place. I had certainly forgotten this, but the images progressively return. I then proceed to use my electroacoustic instruments to reinvent the ritual. I also integrate here and there, moments for which I pretend to be the author. But memories are so vivid in me that sometimes I doubt myself. These sounds slip through my fingers to form a coherent suite without — it seems — my participation. I give it a name, imagining that this will be sufficient to claim it as mine…

In French, the title also refers to computer random access memory (“mémoire vive”) which is a volatile memory where information is only kept temporarily. The piece was mostly realized with computerized instruments and exclusively from sound material extracted from requiem.


The current version of Mémoires vives [Vivid Memories] was entirely reworked during the summer of 1989 at the studio of the Faculty of Music of the Université de Montréal. It premiered on March 9, 1989 at the Salle Claude-Champagne of the Université de Montréal (Québec), as part of the Événements du neuf C’était concerts series. Mémoires vives was commissioned by the Événements du neuf and realized with support from the Canada Council [for the Arts] (CCA). Mémoires vives was awarded the 2nd prize at the 12th Luigi Russolo International Competition (Varese, Italy, 1990), and was selected at the 3rd International Rostrum of Electroacoustic Music (IREM) in Oslo (Norway, 1990).




  • March 9, 1989, C’était… trois jours de musiques sur le thème de la mort (1), Salle Claude-Champagne — Université de Montréal, Montréal (Québec)