Robert Normandeau


  • Robert Normandeau
  • Year of composition: 1998
  • Duration: 19:22
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Commission: Codes d’accès, with support from the CCA , Musiques & Recherches
  • ISWC: T0703094772

To Catherine Béchard

The title refers to the 1960’s musical group The Ventures (theirs was the first stereo album in my small but growing record collection) but also to all of the progressive rock music of that decade and the one that followed. It is exclusively made up of fragments of that music. These are used not as quotations but rather as the sonic archetypes that an entire generation of composers, my generation, was listening to as it was growing up. It was while I was working on Venture that I understood something about the origins of my compositions during that period. To this music I have added quotations from the sixteen movements of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, which became a cult classic when Emerson, Lake & Palmer released a reworking of it in the mid-70’s. This was the work that enabled me to move from rock to classical music.

Venture is made up of six movements that refer to different states of existence: Innocence, Stabilité [Stability], Tension, Délire [Frenzy], Violence, Sérénité [Serenity], and preceded by an Introduction. These are punctuated by variations on an ever-present movement, Tunnel (a metaphor for the transition between these states) which runs through the work.

[English translation: Tom Carter]

Venture was realized between 1996 and ’98 at the composer’s studio and at the Faculté Polytechnique de Mons (Belgium). It was mixed at the studio of Queen’s University in Belfast (Northern Ireland, UK). Thanks to Todor Todoroff and Michael Alcorn. The piece was commissioned by Codes d’accès (Montréal) and Musiques & Recherches (Ohain, Belgium) and was made possible by the support of the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA). The first version was performed on February 28, 1996 at Agora de la danse (Montréal) as part of the festival Échange Québec-Belgique.


  • February 28, 1996, Musiques-échange Québec-Belgique: L’orchestre de haut-parleurs 2, Agora de la danse, Montréal (Québec)