Jeu de langues

Robert Normandeau

Jeu de langues

  • Robert Normandeau
  • Year of composition: 2009
  • Duration: 11:52
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Commission: Miso Music Portugal
  • ISWC: T9113325227

To Terri

The title is a play on words in French. Jeu is a word that can be translated into English by both the words “game” and “play.” Langues means “tongue” but also “language” at the same time. The first meaning belongs to the nature of the instrument used in the work, while the second is related to the context of the production: three players coming from different countries and a premiere that would take place in a festival where five different languages were used.

This piece uses recordings of flutes, baritone saxophone and recorders. All the pitch material was removed from the recordings so as to keep only the sounds of whispers and breaths as well as the mechanical noises of the instruments. I cleaned these very soft sounds and amplified them such that they became audible, while normally they are not. In addition, I kept the natural rhythm of the performers’ breathing intact and the musical events appear according to it. Finally, there are sounds of glasses superimposed on the wind instruments’ sounds.

The idea for the piece sprang to my mind during a conversation I had in Lisbon (Portugal) in 2008 with the Música Viva festival organizers about the fact that music, unlike other contemporary art forms — literature, painting, cinema — has hardly dealt with eroticism as a genre. This is my contribution to the genre.


Jeu de langues was realized in 2009 at the composer’s studio and premiered on September 19, 2009 during the Música Viva 2009 festival in the Sala Eduardo Prado Coelho of the Centro Cultural de Belém in Lisbon (Portugal). The piece was commissioned by Miso Music Portugal (Lisbon, Portugal). Thanks to: Claire Marchand, flutes; Ida Toninato, barytone saxophone; Terri Hron, recorders. Thanks to Miguel Azguime and Paula Azguime. Jeu de langues was awarded the Production Prize at the Giga-Hertz-Preis 2010 (Karlsruhe, Germany).


  • September 19, 2009, Música Viva 2009: Orquestra de Altifalantes, Sala Eduardo Prado Coelho — Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon (Portugal)