- Michel-Georges Brégent
- Year of composition: 1985
- Duration: 29:12
- Instrumentation: voice, various ensembles, electroacoustic sounds and environmental sounds
- Commission: Société Radio-Canada (SRC)
Who would have believed that about 12,500 years ago, at the centre of the ocean, lived an advanced civilization called the Atlantians, a civilization probably ruled by beings lacking in judgement, blinded by power?
How many doubts persist concerning the very existence of this extraordinary civilization, as if we wished to cover up a menacing part of our nature and hide what was probably the greatest error in judgement ever made by leaders in their quest for power, and which led to the collapse of the continent of Atlantis beneath the sea?
What was the sad lot of this magical world which lived in apparent material comfort, with resources extending over two of our continents of today? Did the Atlantians maintain this comfort to the detriment of other tribes, or did they oversee the well-being of all of the communities as a whole? For my part, I believe that egoism is innate to human nature and that we are heading once again towards self-destruction, the horror of which only Atlantis can convey, and against which it might warn us.
Atlantis wishes to enlighten us, just like the magnificent lighthouse of Alexandria which warned the ancient Greek navigators, upon their arrival in port, of the dangers to come. It was predicted in 194‚ by Edgar Cayce that a temple of Atlantis would rise out of the waters along the coast of Bemini in 1969, and this is indeed what occurred with the discovery of the walls and the temple. The Atlantians possessed a very sophisticated technology. They knew of nuclear fission and drew their supporting energies from crystal formations which some believe to be still active, as could be evidenced by the ‘white-outs’ that overwhelm aviators over the Bermuda Triangle area.
Politically, our world today is divided in two: on the one hand are the ‘singularists,’ those who only think and act with themselves in mind (the ego); on the other hand are the ‘pluralists,’ those who only think and act with others in mind. Therefore, on one side the individualistic system, on the other the pseudocommunal system. These have both given rise to offensive and defensive mechanisms that could annihilate not only an entire continent, but all of life on the planet, and perhaps the planet itself.
Egoism and power are drugs which we must rid ourselves of at all costs. The work Atlantis, which constitutes a kind of antidote — a radiophonic alarm — attempts as best as possible, with sound and loudspeakers, to draw people out of their daily lethargy.
Atlantis presents three daily aspects of radio: information (by commenting on the possible evolution of a society), entertainment (since, through its different musical segments, it attempts to stimulate different aspects of our being) and culture (by the use of texts in ancient languages which, like music, present the heritage of humanity).
The work proceeds by alternating between two planes: the use of a musical writing and recording technique which permits one to go beyond the traditional possibilities of instrumental and vocal execution; and the use of sounds from the city and from nature, thus allowing the listener to be placed in a familiar environment.
The recording of Atlantis was produced by Richard Lavallée for the Société Radio-Canada (SRC) from July 8 to 12, 1985 at the Cité du Havre studio of the Société Radio-Canada in Montréal. The final mix was realized at Studio 13 of the Société Radio-Canada in Montréal. The radiophonic premiere took place on September 8, 1985 on the FM network of Radio-Canada. Atlantis received a First Mention and the Special Jury Prize at the Italia Prize, an international competition for radiophonic works (Cagliari, Italy, 1985). Atlantis is dedicated to Jacques Boucher, then head of radio music broadcasts for the Société Radio-Canada (SRC), and to Charles Berlitz, author of books on Atlantis. This work was commissioned by the Société Radio-Canada (SRC).
- September 8, 1985, Concert, Réseau FM de Radio-Canada, Canada