Un fil rouge
- Pierre Alexandre Tremblay
- Year of composition: 2018
- Duration: 17:00
- Instrumentation: string quartet, percussion and processing
- Commission: United Instruments of Lucilin, Philharmonie Luxembourg, HCMF
This piece is an existential meditation on fiction as an exercise in simplifying our lives, spent navigating chaos: the beauty and ugliness of encounters, of plans and accidents, improbable yet inescapable. In particular, the piece looks into the meaning that we try to give to all this, in our individual and shared memories, through the many large and small (hi)stories that art proposes us as so many keys.
This reflection is — for me, as for many — at the base of a certain spirituality that is reinforced by observing, with increasing serenity, the polyphony of canons and propositions, through the various biases described by cognitive sciences, and on which artists, philosophers and statisticians have meditated since the dawn of time.
Contrary to a requiem, which often dramatize individual disappearance with pomp, this piece is more of an ode to life as it is: a mass of joys and sorrows; multiple and shared paths; enmeshed, temporary convergences; unique combinations, entangled or parallel, complicated and negotiated. It is also an homage to voluntary simplicity, in which the ones resting are not the dead we do not want forgotten, but a rest proposed by a modest life, light, neglectable: a story amongst many, and the possible reading, emerging, that we give it.
Having been invited to compose from a piece of the electroacoustic repertoire, the main challenge was to choose only one. Indeed, I am the proud descendant of a range of practices often considered antithetical… and with time and encounters, the horizon of what inspires me has broadened even further: in this era of immediate access to so much music, so many interesting proposals abound and feed me!
Therefore, I looked for the piece of the electroacoustic canon that was personally important and inspiring. From a list of forty influential artists in my past, the work that left the strongest mark is Michel Chion’s Requiem (1973), which still moves me and probably always will. However, a major problem quickly emerged: this masterpiece also represents everything from which I try to free myself!
Everything? Let’s be more nuanced. Harold Bloom, in The Anxiety of Influence (also from 1973), is inspiring in the way he describes the complex and ambiguous relationships between a creator and the giants of the past. My piece was a space where I had to negotiate a dialogue between this requiem and the incredible richness of its polymorphic lineage: far from sampling, or homage, or even a companion piece, I immersed myself in this masterpiece to present a kind of anti-reading… an anti-requiem, a contemplation of a rich life as an improbable emergence.
I would like to thank: Jim Hart, for the inspiring take on his instrument; Jorge Boehringer, for the test session; Florence Martin and Lydia Rilling, for the blind trust and unconditional support; the European Research Council (ERC), as part of the composition process was supported by the FluCoMa project (European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, grant #725899).
- May 4, 2018, Miroirs, Salle de musique de chambre — Philharmonie Luxembourg, Luxembourg (Luxembourg)