Robert Normandeau

  • Year of composition: 2013-17, 19
  • Duration: 16:25
  • Instrumentation: multichannel fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • ISWC: T3073843575


ISRC CAD502110028

  • 48 kHz, 24 bits

To Trudy Crane

The title L’engloutissement [The Engulfment] came to me from reading Francisco Goldman’s book Say Her Name, read in Mexico where the action largely unfolds. The story, about the death of his young wife on the seashore, sent me back to a personal event in the summer of 2012 where, although an excellent swimmer, I almost drowned. The engulfment relates to how I felt in the water, much like a prisoner of the water where, on three occasions, I managed to rise to the surface, only to then sink to the bottom, stuck in a structure that was too heavy. It’s an experience I never had and which, curiously, was free from the fear that one can imagine in such circumstances. I finally managed to get out of it safe and sound, with an intense migraine.

The only sound treatment used here was the extreme slow motion. It is a tribute to the American artist Bill Viola, whose retrospective viewed at the Grand Palais in Paris in 2014 deeply touched me.

L’engloutissement is an immersive work intended to be presented in a dome of loudspeakers.


L’engloutissement [The Engulfment] was realized in 2013 at the Centro Mexicano para la Música y Artes Sonoras (CMMAS) in Morelia (Mexico) and the Laboratorio Arcis Informatica Musical (LAIM) in Santiago (Chile) in 2013 and was finalized in 2017 at the composer’s studio in Montréal (Québec). The work was premiered on November 11, 2017 during the L’Espace du son festival at Théâtre Marni in Brussels (Belgium). It was completely reworked in the summer of 2019. Thanks to James Darling, cello; Rodrigo Sigal; and Federico Schumacher Ratti.




  • November 11, 2017, L’Espace du son 2017: Solo de Robert Normandeau, Théâtre Marni, Brussels (Belgium)
  • October 17, 2019, Premiere of the 2019 version: VCCA Residency Concert, The Cube — Moss Arts Center — Virginia Tech, Blacksburg (Virginia, USA)