Ombres, espaces, silences…

Gilles Gobeil

  • Year of composition: 2005
  • Duration: 23:00
  • Instrumentation: 5.1-channel fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Yul média
  • Commission: ZKM
  • ISWC: T0727311467 / T0733780114 / T9243921928


ISRC CAD500890810

  • 48 kHz, 24 bits

With Ombres, espaces, silences… (Shadows, Spaces, Rests…), I wished to revisit early polyphonic music (Ars Antiqua, Ars Nova). I wanted to bring together this universe of intervals and chords, and the much wider universe of noises, the latter providing the setting in which to present — or evoke — modified fragments from the beginnings of Western music.

The universe of noises rests upon one of the History of Christianity’s fascinating phenomenon: the hermits, or “Desert Fathers” from the first centuries of the Christian era. These men had knowingly chosen to seek isolation, to cut their ties with society, for they believed the answer to the issue of human destiny could be found only outside society.

I have attempted to describe, through a number of tableaux, the surprising life of these men, their religious fervour (the same fervour that gave birth to the first polyphonic music), by evoking the physical locations, the aridity and threat of the desert, but mostly by evoking their fabulous spiritual imagination.

[English translation: François Couture, xi-07]

Ombres, espaces, silences… was realized in January and February of 2005 at the studios of the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe (ZKM) in Germany. It premiered on February 12, 2005 during the trans_canada festival at the ZKM’s ZKM_Kubus. It was commissioned by the ZKM. Thanks to the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) and the ZKM for their support. Ombres, espaces, silences… was awarded an Honorable Mention at the Prix Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria, 2005) and was finalist at the 32nd Bourges International Electroacoustic Music and Sound Art Competition (France, 2005).


  • February 12, 2005, trans_canada: Topographies • Topographien • Topographies, ZKM_Kubus, Karlsruhe (Baden-Württemberg, Germany)